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How to go live on TikTok (and how it can earn you real money)

Are you a TikTok creator looking to build your online community? Going live might do the trick. Here's how to get started.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Woman recording herself vertically with phone
Phiromya Intawongpan/Getty Images

Have you ever been scrolling through your TikTok feed when suddenly a live video comes up? Out of nowhere, it feels like you're on a one-way video call with a content creator, a stark contrast from the perfectly curated, seconds-long video you typically see on the platform. 

Also: Follow ZDNET on TikTok

This feature is called TikTok Live, and it allows content creators to have more genuine interactions with their followers through live vertical video. 

In addition to connecting with fans, TikTok Live video has some other major perks for creators. 

Livestreams also enable fans to send qualifying creators virtual gifts, like virtual roses, silly filters, and virtual stuffed animals. In addition to getting a cute token of their viewers' appreciation, creators are able to redeem these gifts for TikTok diamonds, which they can then convert to real money.   

Also: How to set better screen-time boundaries on your iPhone

If you are ready to go live, are 16 years old or older, and have a minimum of 1,000 followers, here is how you can get started. 

1. Create or log in to your TikTok account

Before you go live, you'll need to create or log in to an existing TikTok account. TikTok makes it easy to create an account, with Google, Facebook, and Apple login options.

Also: Best webcams for streaming (and is 4K worth it?)

screenshot of TikTok's login page
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

2. Optional: Look to see if you are eligible for Live gifts

This step is entirely optional, but if you're curious about whether you qualify for Live gifts, there is an easy way to check. Once you're logged in, all you need to do is click the profile icon in the bottom right corner, then click the three lines on the top right corner. Select the "Creator tools" option before clicking the "LIVE Gifts" icon. After you select the icon, you'll see whether or not you qualify. You'll also be given the option to go Live straight from there. 

Also, just note that business accounts and accounts with less than 1000 followers don't qualify for the Live Gifts feature.

Live Gifts TikTok Screenshot
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

3. Click on the create (+) icon on the bottom bar

Now for how to quickly start your livestream. Luckily, TikTok makes it pretty intuitive. All you have to do is click on the center of the bottom bar like you would to add any regular post.

Screenshot of TikTok homepage with an arrow pointing to the plus button
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

4. Scroll to the Live button and go live!

After hitting the create icon, all you have to do is swipe to the Live option and you're ready to go. Before you go live you can personalize your experience by choosing from different effects, filters, and other customizable options. You can play around with them to see what your Live would look like before beginning your broadcast. 

Once you feel ready, hit that red button that reads "Go LIVE" and start your livestream! 

Screenshot of TikTok live page with the Live button circled
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET


What is TikTok Live?

TikTok Live is TikTok's livestream option, which allows creators to connect with their fans while also further monetizing their content. With TikTok Live, fans can leave comments for creators and even give them virtual gifts to show their appreciation. These gifts can be converted to actual money for creators. 

Is there a follower requirement to go live on TikTok?

Yes, to start a live video on TikTok, you have to have a minimum of 1,000 followers. 

Can I start a Live video on TikTok?

As long as you are signed in to your TikTok account and have a minimum of 1,000 followers and are 16 years of age or older, you can access TikTok Live. 

Why should I go live on TikTok?

Going live on TikTok using TikTok Live gives creators an added ability to grow a connection with their followers through live, genuine interactions. An added plus is that creators can make money from the streams by receiving virtual gifts that they can convert into TikTok diamonds and redeem for cash. 

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