TikTok is the latest social media app taking the world by storm, but how did we get here? And how on earth do you get popular on the platform?
TikTok is always moving and shifting, with new trends appearing daily, but there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to achieve TikTok stardom.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social video sharing app, where users create and edit short videos and then share them with the online world.
Similar to Instagram, you can scroll endlessly watching video after video, like, comment or follow other users, and go live with your friends or followers.
For some people, TikTok is the new Vine (the Twitter-owned video-based social media app whose life was sadly cut short). For others, TikTok is the new everything, it’s how they interact with friends, it’s how they get famous, it’s how they make money, it’s how they keep up to date on the latest news.
What makes TikTok so popular?
Younger mobile users (specifically Gen Z and Millenials) crave short, bite-sized pieces of content. This is one of the main appeals of TikTok, as its videos are short in length and draw inspiration from the latest pop-culture.
TikTok is also perfect for meme style content, with users able to re-purpose audio and video footage by putting their own twist on things.
Although we’ve highlighted the basics, the easiest way to understand what TikTok is really about is to try it for yourself and download the app (you don't need an account to start watching content once it's been downloaded).
Pair your newfound TikTok obsession with a mobile phone plan that includes loads of data
What's TikTok used for?
Almost everything at this point.
TikTok was once known as Musical.ly, an app that let you lip-sync and dance to all kinds of music. But with the rebranding to “TikTok,” the app exploded with popularity and became more than just a music app.
You can still lip-sync and dance to music or sound bites on TikTok, and this remains one of the most popular forms of content on the app, but it doesn’t end there.
How to make a TikTok video
First, decide what kind of video you want to make. Do you want to create an amusing lip sync performance? Do you want to try your hand at one of the latest TikTok dances? Do you want to try a popular TikTok prank? Will you record yourself doing something funny and original, like the TikTok comedians who are making huge waves right now?
- To make a video, open the app on your phone and make an account.
- You can select any music you want to use in your video from TikTok’s library of sounds. You can also select the speed you want your video to play at (half-speed, double speed, etc.)
- There are hundreds of video and sound effects to play with, so go nuts (this may take some time to figure out what you're vibing with)
- To record, hold down the record icon in the bottom of the screen. Or select the timer icon to countdown and record yourself, handsfree. This is essential for video's that uses your full body
How to go live on TikTok
Live streaming on any platform is a great way to stand out and interact with your followers and gain some new ones too.
If you’ve got a good idea of something to do on a live stream - perhaps playing an instrument or performing something unique, then it’s a great opportunity you shouldn’t overlook.
To go live on TikTok, open the app, tap the plus icon in the bottom centre of your screen, and select the “live” option. Then you just have to title your live stream and select “go live”.
How to make money on TikTok
If you’re wondering how to make money on TikTok with live streams, it’s not too complicated. During a live stream, TikTok users can collect donations from people watching their stream. The donations come in the form of in-app currency known as ‘coins’.
These coins are often donated during live streams when someone is enjoying your content and wants to say thanks. You can then turn your hard-earned coins into in-app ‘diamonds’, which can be turned into real-life money via PayPal.
How to get more views on TikTok
Once you know why you want to use the platform (to make money or just to have a bit of fun), you’ll need to invest some time to make sure you’re getting the views you want. Take a look at some of the latest TikTok trends for inspiration, or better yet, try to come up with a completely original video.
The most important tool at your disposal is the use of hashtags. Instagram was the most recent social media platform that people have used using to gain fame, and the way they did that was with the correct use of hashtags. TikTok is very much the same in this aspect.
TikTok sounds can also bring you new views and followers because users might want to see who's using their favourite song. This happens a lot when a new TikTok dance becomes popular and people want to see all the different versions going around.
Another method you can copy from Instagram is engaging with other users. ! Collaborate if you can or ‘Duet’ with someone else’s content (a Duet is when someone posts their own video, and you post yours alongside it, split-screen style).