As a marketer, you always have to stay ahead of the competition to stand out. That means constantly innovating with new and creative marketing tactics. It also means utilizing the latest tools and platforms before your competitors have the chance to catch up. Now with TikTok rolling out Stories, this too should be on your radar so you can gain a competitive edge.
So, what are TikTok Stories exactly and why are they important for your business? We have the answers to those questions right here. Let’s find out.
What Are TikTok Stories?:
What Are TikTok Stories?
Stories are a new feature on TikTok that allows you to share videos that automatically disappear from your profile after 24 hours. These videos can be up to 15 seconds long, just like Stories on other social networks such as Snapchat and Instagram.
On that note, the TikTok Stories feature is pretty similar to the Stories features on other platforms. For instance, you’ll be able to see a list of users who’ve viewed or interacted with a Story you’ve posted. Plus, there’ll be a blue ring around your profile picture to indicate to followers that you have a Story to view. People can tap on your profile picture to view the Story.
Additionally, when people come across your TikTok video on their For You page, a “Stories” tag will appear in the video to let them know that you have a Story to watch. This is one area where TikTok Stories are a bit different from other platforms.
Why Are TikTok Stories Important?
Now the question is–why do you even need TikTok Stories? TikTok videos are already short enough, why go through the hassle of posting 15-second videos that will disappear in 24 hours? Here are a few reasons why you should consider using TikTok Stories:
- It’s a time for short-form videos. People are developing an increased preference for shorter videos. Sprout Social even found that short-form videos are 2.5x more engaging to consumers than long-form videos.
Not surprisingly, short-form videos won as the most engaging type of in-feed content on social media. With the brief nature of TikTok Stories, they could be an effective way to engage your audience.
- The content in your Stories tend to be less planned and, therefore, offer an authentic way to engage your audience. In fact, the TikTok team developed Stories so that users can give their audience a real and authentic look into their lives, which will then enable a deeper engagement.
- TikTok has earned its place as one of the leading social networks. The Sprout Social study from earlier also found that it’s among the top four platforms that consumers plan to use most over the next 12 months. With TikTok usage increasing, marketers have to adapt by focusing their efforts and resources on the platform. This means leveraging the platform’s latest features to gain competitive advantage.
How to Use TikTok Stories
Now that that’s settled, let’s get to the topic of using the feature. How do you start using TikTok Stories? Follow the steps below to start publishing your very first Story on TikTok.
Click on the “+” icon on your TikTok home screen to open the creator window.
Swipe across the bottom bar to select the “Stories” option. If you don’t see it, make sure you’re using the latest version of the TikTok app. Alternatively, you might be unable to see this option if TikTok Stories are still unavailable in your region.
Tap on the Timer icon from the right-hand panel. This will let you set a time limit for your video. You can choose from the default 3-second or 10-second recording option. Or you can also manually drag the bar below to set a custom time limit of anywhere between 1 second and 15 seconds.
TikTok lets you record Stories natively, so you don’t need to create videos ahead of time. Tap on the Quick camera button to begin recording a new video. If you want, you can still upload a pre-recorded video as an Instagram Story. To do this, tap on the “Upload” button on the right and select a video from your camera roll.
Once you have the video ready, you can post it right away as a Story. Or you can have some fun with filters, stickers, effects, voiceovers, and transitions just like you would with a regular in-feed post.
To post the Story, tap on the “Post to Story” button to instantly publish it. Or if you want to customize it further, tap on the “Next” button.
Here, you can add hashtags and links, write captions, tag people and locations, mention other accounts, or customize your privacy settings. You can even choose a cover photo for the Story. Once everything’s ready, hit the “Post” button to publish your very first TikTok Story.
After your TikTok Stories are published, they’ll be automatically removed after 24 hours. However, you also have the option to remove the Story before the 24-hour window is over. Just select the Story and tap on the “…” button from your sidebar. Swipe and select the “Delete” icon to remove the Story.
How Marketers Can Leverage TikTok Stories
Want to give TikTok Stories a try but not sure how to get started? Here are a few ideas on how you can experiment with TikTok Stories for your brand.
1. Share time-sensitive offers
Capitalize on the temporary nature of TikTok Stories by sharing time-sensitive offers. This is a great way to apply the principle of urgency, which could trigger a fear of missing out and get your followers to take action quickly.
As such, the TikTok Stories format works especially well for time-sensitive offers such as flash sales, limited-time deals, and one-day promotions. For example, use TikTok Stories to let them know when tickets are selling out fast or give them a little nudge before the last day to register for an upcoming event.
These are just a few examples, but you get the gist. TikTok Stories give you the perfect opportunity to express the urgent nature of a certain offer. The goal is to help your audience understand the urgency of a specific offer so they can take immediate action. This is a great way to drive conversions for your campaign as you get people to take action before it’s too late.
2. Create exclusive opportunities
In line with the above idea, TikTok Stories are also perfect for creating a sense of exclusivity. People love to feel special, which is why offering them exclusive opportunities can help you engage them better. Using your TikTok Stories, you can share offers and experiences that are not available anywhere else.
For example, you can post products that are exclusive to TikTok Stories. That means customers won’t be able to find those products anywhere else–not even on your website. You could also host Story-exclusive sales that are only available while the Story lasts. This will combine the concept of urgency with exclusivity for an even greater impact.
Similarly, you can keep looking for other opportunities to create an exclusive experience through your TikTok Stories. That way, you get to attract a band of loyal followers who constantly engage with your Stories because they don’t want to miss the chance to enjoy those exclusive experiences.
3. Make announcements
Have exciting news to share with your audience? Why not share it through TikTok Stories? While official announcements are great, some types of announcements are better made through Stories as they help to authentically share your excitement with your followers.
For example, you could share your excitement over hitting 100k followers or 1 million views through TikTok Stories. Small businesses could also use TikTok Stories to make announcements about hitting a sales milestone.
TikTok Stories are also an ideal format for announcing giveaway winners. To add more authenticity, you could record the entire process of selecting a winner. Show that winners are selected at random by the tool that you’re using, which would help minimize the risk of people contesting the results.
4. Take your followers behind the scenes
TikTok Stories can also be a great way to give your audience a behind-the-scenes view into your business. Want to show people how your products are made? Or perhaps you want to show them how you create your TikTok videos. You could even use them to share how you’re preparing for an upcoming event.
This allows you to let your audience “in on the secret” and make them feel like a part of your brand. They’re no longer just observers, outsiders, or customers. Now they have an inside look into your brand and are now a part of your community.
With TikTok Stories being typically filmed natively with minimal edits, they also add authenticity to the interaction and help to reveal the human face behind your brand. It shows your followers that you’re not just staging it for the views and the likes and that you’re willing to be open and transparent with them.
5. Answer frequently asked questions
If you want people to engage with your Stories, you have to offer something valuable. This could be in the form of valuable information. Host the occasional Q&A session through Stories so your followers can get answers to their biggest questions. Take the opportunity to open up and provide them with honest answers to pressing questions.
This is a great way to create more opportunities for interaction and drive audience engagement. Plus, you get to provide your audience with something valuable i.e., an answer to their question.
Before the session, you could make an announcement (also via Stories) and ask them to submit their questions. You could then put together a list of popular and relevant questions and then answer them through a series of videos.
For best results, make these sessions a regular thing. You could host weekly or even monthly Q&A sessions to help your audience navigate their problems more effectively.
6. Get candid with your audience
The candid nature of TikTok Stories also gives you the freedom to get candid with your audience. Use the opportunity to engage them by sharing random pieces of info as you go about your day. You could also share “day in the life of” Stories where you show what them what you do on a typical day through a series of short videos.
You could even make this into an entire series, where team members alternatively take over your TikTok and take your audience on a journey as they fulfill the demands of their job. For example, a designer at a clothing brand could share the typical responsibilities and tasks involved in their job. This gives your audience an inside look while building authentic and human connections with your brand.
Should You Use TikTok Stories?
TikTok Stories are relatively new, which means you’re likely still skeptical about using this feature. Will it be a major hit like Instagram Stories? Or will it die out just like Twitter Fleets? While the future of TikTok Stories is still unknown, marketers should be on the forefront of adopting the latest tools and features at their disposal so they can gain a competitive edge.
You lose nothing (but a little bit of time and resources) by adopting TikTok Stories early. Meanwhile, you stand to gain a lot if this new feature ends up becoming a massive hit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do TikTok Stories show who viewed?
Yes, you can see a list of people who have viewed your TikTok Stories.
Where can I find TikTok Stories?
You can find TikTok Stories by tapping on profile pictures highlighted by a light blue circle, which indicates that the user has a Story to view.
Do Stories on TikTok disappear?
Yes, Stories on TikTok automatically disappear after 24 hours.
How do you make a TikTok Story?
You can make a TikTok Story by opening the creator window and selecting the “Stories” option from the bottom menu.
Why do I not have TikTok Stories?
TikTok Stories are currently only available in select countries. So, users in some regions may be unable to access it. Otherwise, you could try updating the app to the latest version to access TikTok Stories.