June 6, 2019

What is TikTok?

What is Tik Tok? It’s time for the lowdown on the app that’s bigger than Twitter and Snapchat!

Haven’t heard of TikTok? If you have a teen in your house, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are fans of the lip-syncing video app. With over 500 million monthly users it has overtaken Twitter (336 million) and Snapchat (186 million) to become the fourth most downloaded app in the world and the social media platform du jour. It regularly trends in the Irish App Store, having already conquered Asia and it’s making big waves in North America. The company behind it, Bytedance, is now worth $75 billion dollars.

The original TikTok, which allowed users to post short, non-music videos of themselves, was moderately popular when it first launched in 2016. However, it went stratospheric when it merged with the now-defunct musical.ly in 2018. The upgrade allows users to record videos of themselves singing or lip-syncing to thousands of popular tracks. It also offers a wide range of editing options, including filters (who doesn’t love a filter), stickers, video speed and audio tools to name just a few.

And if singing isn’t your thing, the fifteen-second clips also showcase comedy sketches, memes, dancing and challenges that all make for fun, entertaining and very addictive content.

As it is fast becoming one of the most important social media platforms in the world it is worth thinking if Tik Tok can fit in with your digital strategy. Some big brands such as Coca Cola, McDonalds and Guess have already jumped on board and are experimenting with different promotions, most of which take advantage of Tik Tok’s challenge hashtag. Check out the #BigMacTikTok challenge below.


For any TikTok novices out there, here’s a quick start guide.

Set up your account

Once you’ve downloaded the app you are ready to start browsing videos but be warned, it’s very easy to get lost in the continuous stream of mostly entertaining, sometimes cringe-worthy videos.

If you fancy yourself a video star and want to post your own content you will need to sign up for an account. It’s worth noting that all Tik Tok profiles are automatically set to Public meaning anyone can see your profile and view the videos you post. To amend these privacy settings and your general account settings, tap the three dots in the top right corner of your profile.

Finding your way around

TikTok is split into two main feeds. Once you open the app you will land on the For You stream which is very similar to Instagram’s Explore page. Swipe left and you’ll be taken to the Following stream which features uploads from people you’ve chosen to follow.

Over on the right, there are a series of buttons. The top one will bring you to the profile of the video you are watching. Next up is a heart, which works just like the heart on Instagram. Following that is comments, then an arrow which allows you to share the video to various different platforms. The spinning record at the bottom will give you all the track info from the song the user is playing in their TikTok.

If you don’t like the video that is currently playing, hard press anywhere in the video to reveal a Not Interested button and hey presto you won’t see it, or anything similar to it again. You might spend quite a while hitting this one initially!

Creating your own TikTok

Even if you’re video skills are not up to scratch it is pretty easy to create clips with TikTok, especially if you keep in mind that your finished offering doesn’t have to be perfectly polished. Scroll through the streams and you’ll notice that the vast majority are rough and ready filterless first-takes, plus there is also a plethora of editing tools to choose from if you want to jazz up your TikTok.

To get started tap the plus sign at the bottom of the screen to open up your camera. Before you start recording you can add a song so that your lip sync or sketch is in time with the music. Just tap the Add a Sound button on the right side of the screen. It’s also possible to add a track later if you are filming off the cuff.

Once you have your footage, open the effects tools on the left-hand side and let the editing commence. You can do fun things like change your hair or eye colour, add stickers or you can even add a floating banana in augmented reality!

Over on the right is the beauty button, which can erase the dark circles under your eyes if you so wish, and along the bottom is the filters menu. And last but most definitely not least is the all-important timer button which allows you to continuously record without having to hold the phone – get your #HitTheWoah on now!

If you want to know more about TikTok or other social media platforms, we can help. Contact us!

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