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The Welsh TikTok stars with hundreds of thousands of fans from across the world

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When Wales first went into lockdown, many people picked up new hobbies. From crocheting to jogging, people found new ways to pass the time.

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Some, however, took to TikTok, a video-sharing app – and found internet fame.

TikTok allows users to make short videos that are between 15 seconds and one minute long. Since its launch in 2016, the app has increased in popularity – as well as creating some niche online communities. This includes ‘Welsh TikTok’ – an area featuring Welsh creators that is growing in popularity. So much so, that some Welsh TikTokers are gaining millions of views and hundred of thousands of followers from across the globe.

One of them is Laura Orgill. She is a 27-year-old postwoman, who lives in the Rhondda with her partner Georgia. On TikTok, however, she has over 700,000 followers and has gained fame as the ‘TikTok postie.’

“I first got involved in TikTok during the first lockdown, I started off by just doing some of the trends in my house with my family as something to do. However, my TikTok journey really began when I went to work and started to show people the life of us key workers during a tough time,” she said.

See also  TikTok trend asks users to reveal 'the most messed up' thing they did as a kid

“The first video to ever go viral was when a young person on my round asked me to do a socially distanced TikTok dance trend – which I adapted to my role as a postie, as I do with all of my TikToks. This then received 350k views within the first 12 hours. People loved to see what a postie gets up to day to day and also I think they liked to see what was actually going on outside in the world, as everyone was stuck at home.

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“Seeing people’s reactions to my videos made me want to continue bringing people laughs and joy throughout such a tough time and it’s all spiralled out from there.”

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Before TikTok, Laura said she didn’t have much of a social media following, and said she never really had much interest in it.

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“However, now I know how much of a positive impact I can make on people’s lives through social media, I’m very grateful that my following of just friends and family has now amounted to all of this,” she added.

Her videos have allowed Laura to show the public behind the scenes in her job.

Laura Orgill, who works for the Royal Mail, now has over 700,000 followers on TikTok.

“I absolutely love my job. I love working as a postie and without it I wouldn’t be the TikTok Postie,” she said.

Laura said the Royal Mail was “100% supportive” of her TikTok videos and even presented her with flowers, bought bacon baps for the whole office and donated £1,000 to Cancer Research UK when she was raising money for the charity through TikTok. Laura’s TikToks have led to her signing with a talent agency after she was approached at the end of last year. As well as being featured in Cosmopolitan, she has partnered with brands such as Snickers, Universal Music and Gymshark.

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Her YouTube channel, ‘Laura and Georgia’, has also been verified, with Laura showing people inside her life with her partner.

“There is more to me than the TikTok postie believe it or not, so I can’t wait to share with everyone a crazy journey together outside of work. So who knows what the future holds.”

But Laura said the most exciting thing was meeting her followers when she was out and about.

“Now the restrictions are easing I am able to meet my following everywhere I go, where they stop me to have chats and photos. And this is what makes it all worthwhile seeing people so happy and positive from watching my silly videos. It’s like I suddenly have 700k new friends who know everything about me. They stop and chat to me in the street as if we’ve known each other forever, it’s crazy,” Laura continued.

“I’ll forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to positively impact other lives through my videos in such uncertain times. It has benefited not just myself but a lot of people who have struggled to get through this past year. I’ll always be grateful for the love and support that I have received.”

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So what does she think of Welsh TikTok?

“I think Welsh TikTok is definitely on the rise, the Welsh do have such a particular sense of humour and I think Tiktok has given us a platform where we can use our humour to give people an insight into what us Welsh are actually all about.”

Another popular Welsh TikToker is Dean Morris, 26, from Llanelli. Under the TikTok name ‘Dheanasaur,’ he creates skits and comedy videos on the platform, gaining 80,000 followers in the last month alone. He now has over 285,000 followers on the platform.

Dean has been involved with filming – whether on screen or behind the camera – since 2007, but said he’d never had much success with it himself. His work was mostly based around helping creators from around the UK. He became involved with TikTok after it was recommended to him by a friend.

“He said, ‘Dean you’re really funny, you should jump on this new app. So I was like, ‘Ok, I’ll jump on and put a few funny skits on it just to pass the time.’ And then all of a sudden I started gaining followers on there,” he said.

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Dean Morris, from Llanelli, started out making sketches with his nan on TikTok.

Dean had tried YouTube in the past, but had to use software and DSLR cameras to create content for the platform. With TikTok, he says it’s a lot easier to make videos.

“The ease of access with TikTok – you could film it all on your phone if you wanted and post it straight from there and the settings and features it has are a lot more user friendly,” he said.

Dean started to gain followers ‘heavily,’ but said that he had to credit one of his most popular videos to his Nana.

“One time there was a trend of people chucking glitter onto their phones, and then they were chucking orbeez onto their phones, and people started taking the mick and chucking different things onto their phones. My Nana saw that trend when we were watching TikTok videos and she was like ‘You should throw me onto the camera.’ Overnight, it got a steady 300,000 views.”

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Before the pandemic, Dean worked in film doing work for BBC Sesh as well as freelance work, but now also earns some money through his TikTok videos.

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“TikTok doesn’t supply enough money but it’s a nice form of pocket money until they change their income to be more like YouTube. I personally don’t think people are getting paid enough for their incredible creations on TikTok, but you get some advertising campaigns which supply you with a bit more sustenance and money.”

Dean said the platform had allowed him to meet lots of new and funny people – soon, he will be moving to Cardiff with another Welsh TikToker he met on the platform.

“You try and not get into the idea of getting views, because that’s not what it should be about, but when you start getting millions of views on a video and then all of a sudden not that amount of views, it takes a toll on your mental health.”

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Dean thinks Welsh TikTok is “incredible,” particularly because of the popularity of Wales as a filming location for TV and film.

“I think Wales is bleeding into the mainstream because of TikTok. I get loads of people commenting on my videos like ‘Oh I’m back in Welsh TikTok – yay, when they find me on their discovery page. It’s shown the audience that we’re a country of very creative people.”

Ellis Lloyd-Jones, 23, has also found fame on the platform – so much so that he gets recognised and approached in the street.

“I went to Ikea with my mam and my sister and this person came up to me saying ‘Oh my god, are you that boy from TikTok?’,” he said.

With over 180,000 followers and over 8 million likes across his videos, Ellis, from Treorchy, said his popularity rocketed overnight after posting a spoof video about ‘Welsh’ celebrities – taking big-name celebrities and changing their names to make them sound Welsh. It took him from 5,000 to 10,000 followers in just two weeks.

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Another video of Ellis pretending to man a tollbooth welcoming viewers to Welsh TikTok – a virtual version of the old Severn Bridge tollbooth – won viewers from across the globe.

“I did it as a Welsh thing for Welsh people, thinking only they would see it but I got people from Australia and America and other countries. It was crazy,” he said.

Ellis started making TikToks in October, 2019, after seeing videos on his Instagram feed of people showing their Halloween transformations.

“I thought ‘You know what, that’s what I want to do.’ At the time, I had three costumes – Anne Boleyn from Six the Musical, Pugsley Addams and Harley Quinn, so I went with Harley Quinn.” Ellis has introduced more drag characters into his videos including the gates of hell receptionist, and, for the Welsh Government, Aunty Bac, who encouraged social media users to follow hygiene rules to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

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Ellis Lloyd Jones has introduced a number of different drag characters on TikTok.

“I guess TikTok is like a full-time thing. I wouldn’t say it’s like a full-time job because I don’t earn a lot of money from it, but it is something that I’m on 24/7 thinking of ideas that I could do and interacting with my followers,” he said.

He has just finished his final year studying Welsh Language at Cardiff University, but has ambitions beyond TikTok for the future.

“I’m not going to give up on TikTok, because without TikTok I wouldn’t be where I am. But the idea is to move on a bit and get into the media world – but how to get there, I’m not sure.”

Ellis said his TikTok presence had given him confidence that he was doing something right.

“I’ve always been told that I’m either not good enough or this or that, so when I came to TikTok and saw that there were people that liked me I thought this is nice – people like what I like to do.”

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Ellis’s videos have even led to him appearing on TV in the new BBC Three series, Young, Welsh and Bossin’ It.

“It’s nice to see a bit of Welsh representation on that app, because I see people being like ‘I didn’t know there were Welsh creators on here.’ It’s nice that we have our own little community on there with everyone that can relate with us and the stuff that we’re posting.”

As a first-language Welsh speaker, Ellis also encourages his followers to speak the language to him.

“It’s something that I love to see – people having conversations in Welsh in the comments. That’s something that I like to bring to TikTok, so I’ve started doing more videos in Welsh.”

Jessica Thomas, a full time travel agent from Ystrad Mynach, is also growing on the platform as a Welsh creator, with over 67,000 followers and over 1 million likes on the app.

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She too downloaded TikTok as something to do during the first lockdown.

“I never intended on posting a video but here I am now,” she said.

Despite earning some money from the TikTok Creator Fund – an initiative that pays eligible TikTokers for their videos – as well as extra money from promotional videos, Jessica said she had no intention of giving up her job anytime soon.

“I will never be a full time social media influencer as I love my job too much to give it up.”

According to TikTok, the amount of money creators receive from the Creator Fund is determined “by a combination of factors.” These include the number of views on a video, the level of engagement, as well as making sure content is in line with their Community Guidelines and Terms of Service.

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For Jessica, the best thing about her TikTok presence is being able to entertain people.

Jess Thomas says she’d never give up her job as a travel agent.

“I am a people-pleaser so I love to make people laugh with my content. The worst thing is the online trolls, some people have been really mean and have hurt my feelings with their comments but I have learned to reply to them by calling them out,” she said.

“Welsh TikTok is the best side of TikTok. When I started there were only a handful of us ‘Welsh TikTokers’ but now there are loads of us! It is important to me to educate as much as I can,” she continued.

And it’s not just people in their 20s who have found TikTok fame. Julie Griffiths, a 36-year-old Carmarthenshire mum, now has over 100,000 followers on her TikTok account where she posts comedy sketches about family life.

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“It all started with the first lockdown – I’d heard about TikTok so I had a look. I didn’t think I was going to create anything, I was just looking at other people’s at first,” she said.

To overcome lockdown boredom, Julie started making videos with her family. When they got bored of making videos with her, she carried it on as a hobby – and has now amassed over 105,000 followers and millions of views. When not making TikToks, Julie works with children. Like her fellow Welsh creators, she has been able to make some money from her videos through the Creator Fund which allows her to get paid for her views.

“I only started it because I just wanted to make people laugh. It was a dark time for a lot of people and I enjoyed making people laugh, so I’ll just see how it goes really,” Julie said.

She said she had been able to make friends on the platform.

“The best [part about TikTok] is the community on there and the people I’ve connected with. I’ve got some good friends on there. The worst would be the trolls, but you’ve just got to be thick-skinned. They don’t bother me. [My family and friends] think I’m crazy. They never thought it would get so big – well, I didn’t. My husband is supportive and has come around to the idea of me TikToking now.”

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From the growing number of TikTok creators and their popularity on the platform, it seems Wales isn’t short of creativity and humour.

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TIKTOK

TikTok Expands Creator Tipping and Video Gifts, Providing More Monetization and Marketing Options

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TikTok continues to expand its creator monetization tools with the addition of video tipping and virtual gifts for regular uploads, in addition to live-streams in the app.

To be clear, live tipping and digital gifts have been available for selected live-stream creators via its Creator Next program since last year. This new expansion brings the same functionality to regular TikTok videos, which will add another way for users to generate direct income from their TikTok videos.

TikTok Creator Next

As you can see in these screenshots, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra (via Dan Schenker), to be eligible for the new Creator Next program, users will need to have at least 1,000 followers, and will need to have generated more than 1,000 video views in the previous 30 days.

Though TikTok does note that these requirements vary by region – TechCrunch has reported that creators need to have at least 100k followers to qualify in some cases.

As explained by TikTok:

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The new Tips feature allows people to directly show gratitude to creators for their content, much like recognizing exceptional service or giving a standing ovation. As is standard for tipping in person, with Tips creators will receive 100% of the tip value.”

Tip payments will be processed by Stripe, with creators required to sign up to manage their earnings in the app.

“With Video Gifts, also available today, creators can now collect Diamonds not only by going LIVE but also by posting videos. This also gives people an all-new way to interact and engage with content they love.”

TikTok live gifts

That will provide expanded capacity to generate real money from posting, without having to go live, which will open new doors to many TikTok creators.

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In addition to this, TikTok’s also lowering the threshold for those who can list their profiles in its Creator Marketplace brand collaboration platform, which enables businesses to find TikTok influencers to partner with on in-app campaigns.

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TikTok Creator marketplace

Up till now, creators have required 100k followers to qualify for these listings, but now, TikTok is reducing that number to 10k, which will further expand available opportunities for both users and brands.

That could make it much easier to find relevant creators to partner with, in a lot more niches, which will add more considerations into your TikTok posting and engagement process.

As noted, these are the latest in TikTok’s broader efforts to provide comparable monetization opportunities, in order to keep its top stars posting to the platform, as opposed to drifting off to YouTube or Instagram instead, which have more established monetization systems.

The advantage that other apps have in this respect is that longer videos can include pre-roll and mid-roll ads, facilitating direct monetization, which TikTok can’t utilize given the shorter nature of its clips. As such, it needs to look to alternate funding methods, which will also include eCommerce listings, with direct product displays now the primary source of income for the Chinese version of the app.

The platform’s continued growth facilitates even more opportunities in this respect, with more brands looking to tap into the various opportunities of the platform, and partner with creators to maximize their presence.

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How popular, and valuable, direct tipping and gifting can be is more variable, as some dedicated fan bases will pay, while others will see no reason to donate for what they can already access for free.

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But even so, it adds more opportunity, and the lower thresholds for monetization will see many more opportunities across the board in the app.

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Shorter Videos Are In Demand. Here’s How Different Social Media Platforms Are Reacting.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With TikTok and Instagram Reels slowly conquering social media marketing, there’s no mistake: Short videos are in demand.

The average length for most, if not all, business videos is only six minutes long. And that number is set to decrease as consumers look for shorter videos.

With that in mind, why are short videos in demand? What platforms are implementing short-form videos the best? And most importantly, how can they benefit your business?

TikTok – Changing consumerism, one video at a time

Where shorter videos are concerned, TikTok has always led the industry. What started as a merger with Musical.ly quickly became one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. And what made it so famous? The same concept that made Vine viral short videos.

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TikTok has over 1 billion active users, twice as many as Snapchat and Pinterest. For reference, Twitter only has 397 million users. With such a massive user-base, the only thing keeping the platform alive are the 15-second-long videos.

But why are short videos so popular? Simple – people don’t have time on their hands. When they open apps like TikTok and Instagram, they’re more likely to spend time watching shorter videos.  And businesses are already catching up.

The impact of Instagram Reels

With the invention of Stories by Snapchat, other platforms like Instagram caught up on short videos. Instagram Reels presents adults and young users with a more straightforward way to tell others about their day. It employs quick photos and videos that are only available for 24 hours instead of being permanently posted. Now engagement is encouraged, especially after Instagram included the “Swipe” option. This has allowed e-commerce sites to both advertise their products and make instant messaging easier.

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Youtube has joined the bandwagon

While YouTube is more or less a platform for long-form videos, its recent update offers shorter vertical videos. Known as YouTube Shorts, the feature allows creators to engage with their audience in under 60 seconds.

But YouTube has another trick up its sleeve, and this one is mainly towards advertisers. It is “YouTube TrueView” and is the primary advertising technology for YouTube. Through this, advertisers can promote long or short videos, with some being skippable after five seconds.

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However, since most people are unlikely to click on longer ads, YouTube now offers 6-second non-skippable ads. The clickthrough rate for shorter 15 and 30-second ads is around 70%, a whopping number for any business.

It’s time to say goodbye to IGTV

With Instagram’s IGTV coming off as less captivating than its Reels and video posts, it has decided to remove IGTV. Instead, it has a separate section for videos. These videos will appear on a person’s profile and can be viewed from the Instagram app.

The change they made here is that videos posted to the Instagram feed can be up to 60 minutes long. The exact reason for doing this is not confirmed. But it seems like Instagram wants a seamless platform where short and long videos co-exist.

This makes long videos more accessible to users using the Instagram app. And it helps promote video tutorials that people typically do not consume on social media apps.

Another significant change is that Instagram videos that are longer can be monetized, a feature not available on Reels. This significantly shifts the focus towards creators who don’t sell a service and want to gain cash through Instagram.

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Does this mean long-form videos are out of the picture?

With short-form videos becoming more popular among consumers, will long-form videos die out? While it’s highly recommended for any business to create videos as short as possible, the answer isn’t that black and white.

See also  Siouxland doctor weighs in on viral TikTok vaccine trend

While short-form videos will drive traffic from new users, long-form videos are better for brand loyalty. Shorter videos will get more engagement and show up on new users’ feeds. But longer videos will be the backbone of your business.

Of course, that depends on what service you’re offering. Ecommerce companies will want to direct their attention towards short-form videos and ads. However, long-form videos are better suited for when you want to go in-depth about product details. That is, of course, only after you’ve grabbed the user’s attention with a short-form video.

Companies that offer webinars will benefit from longer videos. And so will companies that post interviews. However, promos and how-to videos should remain under a minute or two, depending on how long the tutorial needs to be.

Essentially, ask yourself two questions:

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  • First, can the video content be summarized in a short-form video?
  • Do you want to merely catch the attention of the consumer or develop brand loyalty?

The correct formula is neither short nor long, but a mix of both.

What this all means for an entrepreneur

Short-form videos hold substantial market value, especially for new businesses. Take the example of the Dollar Shave Club. What started as a viral video on YouTube grew to become a behemoth of a brand.

And that’s not where the examples end. There are countless success stories like this one that prove the value of short videos.

Short videos have a higher clickthrough rate, and for entrepreneurs, that’s all you need. Short videos are of particular interest to people with ecommerce businesses. For example, 84% of people say they are more compelled to buy a product by watching a video. And the statistics keep on showing a friendlier short-video market.

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There is no doubt that short-form videos are gradually creeping up the graph. And while long-form videos are great for information and brand loyalty, shorter videos are better for PR.

This begs one last question: Are videos beneficial for you? The answer is – yes!

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TIKTOK

How to Make a TikTok Video: Beginners Start Here

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Let’s face it, TikTok is the moment.

And with 1 billion monthly active users, it’s time to join the action and get your brand out there to a wider audience!

Want to learn how to make a TikTok Video but don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! We broke down all the steps and tools you’ll need to make a viral-worthy first video and make sure your debut is anything but cringe.

Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.

How to create a TikTok account

First things first, you’ll need to create a TikTok account.

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There are different ways to sign up for one: you can use your phone number, email address or social media account. Here’s how to do it using your phone number.

1. Download TikTok from Google Play or the App Store.

2. Open the TikTok App on your iPhone or Android.

3. Click the “Me” or “Profile” icon at the bottom-right of your screen.

profile icon on TikTok

4. Choose a method to sign up (we’re choosing “use phone or email”)

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sign up for TikTok using phone or email

5. Enter your birth date and phone number (make sure this is accurate because it’s how you’ll retrieve passwords and confirm your account).

enter birthday when signing up on TikTok

6. Enter the 6-digit code sent to that phone number (see, told ya!)

7. You did it! Celebrate by scrolling TikTok for too many hours.

How to make a TikTok video

Here’s how to get started on your very first TikTok video. Luckily for you, it’s way easier than learning this TikTok Shuffle dance.

1. Hit the + sign at the bottom of your screen.

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2. You can upload photos and videos from your phone’s library or make a video directly using the TikTok camera.

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3. If recording directly, hit the Record button at the bottom of the screen. Hit it again when you’re done recording. The default video mode is “Quick” which is for 15 second videos but you can switch it to “Camera” for more editing options and longer videos (15s, 60s and 3 mins), or “Templates” to create a specific style of video.

record button on the bottom of TikTok screen

4. Tap the check mark when you’re done shooting all your footage.

tap checkmark after shooting footage

5. Make any edits or changes on the post page. All your edits are on the right sidebar of the screen. Also, add music or sounds by hitting “Add sound” at the top of the screen.

add sound on TikTok

6. Post that video and share it everywhere! Make sure to include a description with some hashtags so it finds its way to your audience.

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post video on TikTok with description

How to make a TikTok with multiple videos

Instead of taking one long video, why not capture shorter videos and edit them together to make your TikTok video? Here’s how to do that (and you don’t need a film degree).

1. Hit that “+” sign to start your video

2. You can either shoot multiple videos directly by hitting that record button after each clip, building up your video with different shots. Or, you can hit the “Upload” button next to the record button and add multiple videos and photos you have stored on your phone.

3. Select all your media and tap Next.

4. You can now sync sound across your videos and make adjustments (or try “Auto sync” which will do the syncing up for you.)

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sync sound on TikTok

automatically sync clips

5. Hit Next when done. You’ll be brought to a preview screen where you can further add sounds, more effects, text, and stickers.

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hit next and add suggested sounds

6. Tap Next when you’re done editing your video and proceed to the Post screen.

7. Remember to throw in a description and some hashtags and bingo-bango-bongo you’re the Steven Spielberg of TikTok!

5 things to know before creating your first TikTok

TikTok style is less polished than other types of video

Don’t worry about being too precious with your videos. On TikTok, videos are meant to be candid, and natural—and they should show off your personality. Things like perfect edits, smooth transitions or flawless lighting shouldn’t get in the way of your idea and your own charisma.

Sure, there are lots of editing options, effects and filters to choose from (what the heck is the difference between B3 and G4 filters anyways?) but the real star is you —or, at least all 6 of these friends belting out Lady Gaga for the #caughtinabadromance challenge at this bachelorette. If that’s not candid, I don’t know what is.

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@ariellehartford

That finger stole the show! 😂😂😂 #bachelorettetrip #gatlinburg #caughtinabadromamce

♬ original sound – Arielle Hartford

You don’t have to dance

Good news! You don’t have to spend 2 hours trying to perfect the LaLisa dance tutorial to make sure your video stands out (unless you want to, then no judgment over here!).

There are so many different ways to engage your followers that don’t involve you popping and locking in your living room in front of a ring light (but again, no judgement if you do, except maybe from your pet and their adorable judging eyes).

You also don’t have to attempt whatever this is.

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@sdavidrodriguez

♬ Grab Da Wall & Rock Da Boat – 504 Boyz & Weebie

Hashtags can help more people see your post

It’s no secret a good hashtag can go a long way on TikTok. Strategic use of hashtags will help people find your videos who don’t already follow you, and maybe even see it on their For You Page (FYP).

Find the best hashtags to grow your views and help get your content recognized by the algorithm. You worked so hard on it, might as well show it off to as many people as possible.

The right song can go a long way

Attaching a trending song to your video or audio from a popular TikTok video can help it get seen by more people. This app has a big music following (lots of new songs are intentionally promoted through the app to help them climb the music charts) so lassoing your video to one of these shooting stars is only going to help you get on more FYP and in front of new audiences.

@suzyjonesmusic

♬ original sound – Suzy Jones

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Your greatest asset is you

Don’t overthink it, just come up with a simple idea and let your personality shine through. The sense of intimacy and community that TikTok brings is why people love this app—it feels personal.

Even if you’re doing a TikTok challenge or trend that’s popular, the thing that will make you stand out is your unique take on it. It’s not about gimmicks but about putting your best self out there. Nothing should feel too staged or self-aware (that’s cringe territory). Pretend your audience are your good friends and approach it with that energy!

@janikon_No, I can’t re-record this, I’m laughing too hard #fyp♬ original sound – Stu (he/him)

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