[intro]In this Guide, you’ll learn all about how to open a TikTok account, customise your profile and get started on the platform.[/intro]
- Opening a TikTok account
- Customising your Profile
- Learning to use TikTok
- Discovering what is trending
- Using Hashtags
- Creating your own Video
- Using Templates
With a billion users worldwide, TikTok is a social media platform that differs from the rest in terms of content. As opposed to the polished, aspirational videos and images you may have become accustomed to on Instagram, TikTok - formerly Music.ly - is a platform where users can upload videos that are usually shot on the fly. For those who remember, it’s very reminiscent of Vine, where videos ranging between 15 seconds up to 3 minutes are used to show off comedy skits, lip syncs, transitions, dance routines and a whole lot more.
Why should I open a TikTok account?
Because above all else, TikTok is addictive. With over 17 million users in the UK, this platform is certainly not limited to being ‘just for kids’. After spending some time on this platform, you’ll quickly learn that nearly 70% of users are over the age of 20, and there’s a strong ‘silver surfer’ demographic on there too.
The use of hashtags allows users to quickly find what they are looking for, including #smallbusinessuk, #storytime, #shoppinghaul, #comedy, #craftchallenge, #crafting, #beautyhacks and so on. Whilst on the surface, it may appear that TikTok is only suitable for brands retailing popular products such as clothing and footwear, but many small businesses have created amazing content by simply telling the story of their brand over a series of videos.
User @thep00lguy boasts 2.9 million followers - you can read about him more here - as he takes viewers through a series of before and after style videos where he shows you how he cleans private swimming pools. TikTok has a wide variety of users from industries such as the building trade, plumbers, painters and decorators, and of course, there’s a huge segment of crafters, potters, jewellery makers and blacksmiths.
The key to doing well on the platform is to provide regular updates of behind the scenes content, and create this to work alongside trending topics, audio and hashtags on a regular basis. The term ‘think like a marketer - act like a creator’ is commonly mentioned in regard to TikTok, where it’s the raw, ‘no make-up’, unpolished yet authentic, guerilla-style content that works the best.
We highly recommend creating a TikTok account and spending a good amount of time swiping through the content on there to understand how your own products and brand could be promoted on the platform, as well as for getting a feel of the kind of videos and trending topics which do remarkably well.
[tips]For ecommerce tips and hints, and to get to know the team behind the platform, follow EKM on TikTok.[/tips]
Opening a TikTok account
1. Click this link and click Sign Up in the bottom middle of the page:
2. Select the most applicable method of signing up for you:
3. You’ll then need to add in your birthdate and click the Next button:
4. On this next page, you can select a username. Add in the name of your EKM online shop and click the Sign Up button:
5. You’ll then be signed into TikTok on your desktop. Your next step is to download the app to your phone. Click here for Android or here for iPhone. When you have downloaded the app, click the Login button in the bottom middle:
6. Select the same mode of logging in that you selected on desktop:
7. You’ll then see this page. If you want to discover how many contacts on your mobile phone are on TikTok, click Sync, if not, just press Skip:
Customising your Profile
8. This will launch you straight into the first video on your feed. Your first step is to click Me in the bottom right-hand corner:
9. You then need to click the Edit Profile button:
10. On this page, you can add in the logo of your EKM online shop by tapping Change Photo and selecting from the gallery on your phone:
[tips]Make sure that you upload a version of your logo which is square in shape and ideally contains a glyph version of your main logo. This will be used on any videos you create on the TikTok platform, and will be displayed in a circle, so be sure that there is enough of a space around the glyph to allow for this cropping and that any text is minimal, clear and easy to read. In this example, the size of the image uploaded for the logo was 800 pixels square.[/tips]
11. When you have added your logo, your next step is to scroll down this page and populate your TikTok profile with a short bio and if you have them set up, links to your Instagram and YouTube channels. Your Bio needs to be no longer than 80 characters and you can add the URL of your EKM online shop in there too. When you have finished editing your bio, you need to click the arrow in the top left-hand corner:
12. This will allow you to view your completed profile. Now you have set up your profile, your next step is to get to know the platform and how it works, so click the Home symbol in the bottom left-hand corner:
Learning to use TikTok
When you first log into the app or click the home symbol using TikTok on your mobile phone, you’ll automatically be shown a video from another user:
1 - To follow the creator of that specific profile, tap the plus symbol on their profile picture on the right-hand side.
2 - To like the video, tap the heart symbol on the right-hand side.
3 - To comment on the video, tap the speech bubble to write in your comment.
4 - To forward the video to another user on your friends list, download the video or share it on WhatsApp or email, tap the arrow on the right-hand side (bear in mind that this arrow will sometimes be a logo for a different platform, such as Snapchat or Whatsapp).
5 - At the bottom of the screen, tapping Me will display your Profile.
6 - Inbox lists any direct messages sent to you.
7 - The plus symbol launches the camera for you to make a video of your own.
8 - Discover will take you to what’s trending on TikTok and allow you to search for different users and hashtags.
9 - The Home symbol will return you to a feed of visitors which are a combination of users that you follow and videos TikTok thinks you may be interested in.
To see the next video, swipe up.
Discovering what is trending
1. If you click the magnifying glass symbol, this will take you to the Discover page:
2. On this page, you can see what sounds are trending:
3. And if you scroll down, what hashtags are trending too:
4. If you click any of the videos beneath a trending hashtag or sound, you can swipe down the feed to see all videos with that particular hashtag or audio. Whilst you’re swiping through the videos, look for content that you could emulate and apply to your own particular brand.
Like Twitter, TikTok relies on hashtags in video Descriptions. The most popular hashtags on TikTok are:
You have 100 characters (including spaces) to use within a video Description, so any hashtags you want to use can be added there. Rather than use some of the most popular ones listed above though, you may find it more beneficial to use niche hashtags that suit your brand and your products, as well as #smallbusinessuk and #smallbusinesstiktok. This will help potential customers find videos about your products and brand.
[tips]It’s worth having a look for your competitors on TikTok and having a look at how they are creating content to suit their products. Have a look through their content and work out how you could do this better whilst applying the content to your own brand. [/tips]
5. If you find a video with audio you’d like to use on a video of your own, you need to tap the name of the audio on the video:
6. This will redirect you to a page that lists the audio, as well as a list of other videos that are using the same clip. Tap to add to your Favourites:
Creating your own Video
1. To create your own video, tap the plus symbol in the bottom middle of the screen:
2. This will launch the video editor. Tap Add Sound:
3. On this page, you can select what audio you would like to use in your video. You can either tap See All on the Discover tab to see audio that TikTok thinks you’ll like, or alternatively, tap the Favourites tab to see any previous audio you’ve saved. To use a piece of audio, simply tab the bookmark symbol to the right-hand side of the song title and click Back to return to the camera page:
[tips]Remember to check the length of a piece of audio before you use it - for longer videos, you might want audio that is around a minute or more long. [/tips]
4. Returning to the video screen:
1 - This is where you’ll see the name of the audio you want to use in your video.
2 - Tapping flip will change the camera from front-facing or forward-facing.
3 - This allows you to change the speed of your video if you have recorded footage directly into the app by clicking the large red button in the bottom centre of the screen.
4 - Tap this if you wish to use a filter on your video.
5 - Tap this to use any of the beauty filters, where you can adjust things such as the whiteness of your teeth or the smoothness of your skin.
6 - You can use the Timer to count down to record if you want to record something hands-free.
7 - You will only see this symbol if you are using the front-facing camera, and this will improve the lighting of your shot.
8 - Here you can adjust the speed that the video records. This is ideal if you are planning to lip-sync to any existing audio, as it will slow the audio down too and help you get word-for-word perfect.
9 - Here you can tap to select the maximum length that your video will be - either 15s, 60s or three minutes.
10 - If you click Upload, you can upload a photo or a video from the gallery on your mobile phone.
11 - This big red button is what you use to record your video.
12 - Click this to use a ready-made template.
5. For now, you need to tap the Effects button, which will take you to this page.
1 - This is the name of the Effect that is currently on.
2 - Tapping here will allow you to flip between front-facing and forward-facing cameras.
3 - To save this Effect to your Favourites, tap this bookmark symbol.
4 - This particular Effect allows you to use content from the gallery on your mobile phone, which is why you can see a summary of images.
5 - Tap between Favourites, Trending and New to see what new Effects have been released. You can save these to your Favourites for use at a later date.
6 - To remove a filter, just tap this symbol.
Tap the Back symbol to return to camera:
[tips]You can learn more about the many features of TikTok by visiting their support centre. [/tips]
1. If you’re completely new to TikTok, and want to create content without showing your face and appearing on camera to begin with, Templates are the way to go. Make sure you have some good quality images of your products being used or worn in the gallery on your phone before you begin. Then you need to tap Templates:
2. Scroll through the different templates from left to right; each one will show you a preview of what it does in terms of graphics and animation. When you have found a Template that you would like to use, tap the red button and select some photos from the gallery on your mobile phone:
3. You’ll then see a preview of your own images mixed into the Template. On this screen, you can use Filters and add a Voiceover by using the buttons on the top right-hand side, and change Sounds or add Effects, Text and Stickers on the bottom left-hand side. When you have finished editing your video, tap Next:
[tips]If you’re considering using a Voiceover, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re recording it in a quiet place. You can always adjust the levels of any music/audio and the Voiceover after it has been recorded.
In terms of Filters, Stickers and Effects, remember less is more! Too many distractions can detract from your high-quality images and the products you’re trying to show off in the video. [/tips]
4. On this page, tap Select Cover to select a thumbnail of your video:
5. Now you can add a Description for your video. The Description for a video has a limit of 100 characters, so hashtags can be included in there. When you have finished adding your Description, click the red button at the bottom right-hand side to post your video:
[tips]Whilst it is easy to create videos entirely of Templates and Product Images, this isn’t recommended as a long term content strategy. TikTok as a platform encourages content that is real, featuring real people and real life. By starring in your own videos, you’re encouraging viewers to get to know you, your brand and your products. By adding the real, human element, you’re encouraging interaction and in turn, likes and comments. [/tips]
[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question to ask the EKM Team, join us in EKM Community. [/contact]