How Does TikTok Work?

There’s no doubt that TikTok is the most popular social media app around right now, especially among a certain age demographic. If you’ve never used TikTok before, then you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. After all, to the uninitiated, TikTok can seem arcane at best and completely baffling at worst. Don’t worry – we’re here to decode it. Here’s our guide on how TikTok works, what different aspects there are to the app, and how you can get started with it if you want to make content.

TikTok logo on Samsung smartphone screen on yellow background

What is TikTok?

In a nutshell, TikTok is a social media video sharing platform. You can create short videos of up to a minute in length, then edit them with a suite of built-in tools and overlays. For most people on TikTok, the goal is to gain followers and likes by creating great videos that prospective followers will enjoy. Ultimately, you’re aiming to get your video seen on a user’s For You feed (more on which later). That’s pretty much all there is to it; make videos, watch other users’ videos, and enjoy yourself!

Why should you use TikTok?

To put it simply, if you’re an influencer or a brand looking to expand your audience, you need to be on TikTok. The app enjoys a huge amount of engagement, having broken a billion monthly active users. It should be obvious why you want to leverage that kind of audience for yourself, especially if you have something that you want people to buy. Social media influencers will benefit from TikTok as well, as they’ll be able to bring their content to a whole new audience. Now, we also have the option to buy tik tok likes for faster results.

How do you sign up on TikTok?

You can sign up to TikTok using your phone number or your email address. If you don’t want to or can’t use that information, you can also sign up using accounts with other social platforms like Instagram. Signing up is simple; you pick a username, upload a profile picture (or use the one the app assigns for you), and you’re good to go. Be sure to pick a catchy, compelling username, as this will be a big part of your brand while you’re using TikTok!

How do you create TikTok content?

Making a TikTok video really couldn’t be easier. When you fire up the app on either Android or iOS and create an account, you will be shown videos as part of your For You feed. From that screen, you’ll see a button marked with a Plus symbol. As you might imagine, this button is how you make a new TikTok video. Simply tap that button, record yourself doing something, and go through the suite of editing tools to see if you want to add any. After that, just add hashtags and hit upload, and voila – you’re done!

What are the main stats to track on TikTok?

If you have a business or creator account on TikTok, you can track your analytics when you upload content. This means you can see who’s watching your videos and perhaps try to tailor the videos you’re making more to that audience. Generally speaking, you should be looking at how many followers you have, as well as how many likes each video is getting. The age, location, and viewing habits of your followers are all also very important for maximising your TikTok presence!

What is the For You feed?

The beating heart of TikTok is its “For You” feed. This is the main window of TikTok, and it’s probably where you’ll see most of the content you watch on the app. Ideally, you want to be featured on this feed if you’re making videos. That’s because you’ll get a lot of eyes on your content, meaning your presence will grow. Over time, For You will show users more of the kind of content they like to see; it takes into account things like whether you like videos and how long you spend watching them to tailor the content it shows you.

What is the TikTok algorithm?

The algorithm is the way in which the For You page knows what to recommend. It takes into account stats like creators you’re following, videos you’ve commented on, and the content you create yourself, and amalgamates all of this information into a method of sorting videos based on your preferences. If you’ve ever been scrolling through TikTok and thought that a particular video recommendation was creepily accurate, then you have the TikTok algorithm to thank for that.

What is the history of TikTok?

TikTok began its life as two different apps. The first, Douyin, is a Chinese social media platform owned by Chinese startup ByteDance. The second is, a lip-syncing app created for users to showcase their musical prowess. Douyin was subsequently launched as TikTok overseas in 2017, and ByteDance purchased later that year. The two apps were merged into a single entity, which is where the modern app we know as TikTok comes from.

Has TikTok ever gotten in trouble?

Like any social media platform, TikTok isn’t without its controversies. Some have expressed concerns regarding security, with accusations flying around that ByteDance is feeding user data back to Beijing. ByteDance, of course, categorically denies these accusations. There have also been concerns revolving around teens’ use of the app, with controversies around how moderators select content and whether certain TikTok trends are harmful.

Is TikTok safe?

In short, if you use TikTok in the way it was intended and make sure you practice the usual methods for keeping yourself safe online, there’s no reason TikTok shouldn’t be safe to use. You absolutely shouldn’t use it if you’re below the minimum age for signing up, of course, but if you’re a teen or an adult wanting to see great content, then TikTok is an excellent option for doing so. While dangerous challenges may exist, TikTok moderators are good at filtering it out (by and large), so for the most part, TikTok is a safe environment.

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