What Are TikTok Stories and How Do You Use It?

    May 30 2022

    Spill milk on your cat and chances are you’ll want to share the unfortunate (and hilarious) event with your followers but there is a problem. A drenched and very angry kitty will disrupt your Instagram feed aesthetic. The same goes for product inventory updates or Q&A sessions. That’s where stories come in. Not only are stories a way to interact with your audience casually, but it’s also a place to boost engagement on more timely content. These casual updates help you cultivate a relationship with your followers, and interactive stickers give them a chance to answer questions and vote, and they keep your feed clean.

    TikTok Stories are in their infancy, but still operate and function similarly to other platforms. For example, they aren’t permanent; they disappear after 24 hours. However, they don’t necessarily serve the same purpose as other platforms’ Stories. In this blog, we’ll break down everything you need to know about TikTok Stories and how you can start using them as a brand or creator. Let’s get started!

    What Are TikTok Stories & How Do They Differ from Other Platforms

    TikTok Stories are TikTok’s version of Instagram or Snapchat Stories. Instead of displaying on a scrolling bar at the top of your screen like on other platforms, they’re mixed in with the rest of your For You Page (FYP) or Following page. In addition to viewing TikTok Stories on your FYP, users can publicly comment and like them too, which isn’t typical of other platforms since those interactions and responses are private to other users. These public interactions create a new way for brands or creators to engage and respond to their audience. 

    Who Has Access to TikTok Stories 

    The feature is still in its pilot phase, but will soon be available to everyone on the platform. To find out if you can use it, make sure your app is updated and head to your profile. You should see a blue plus sign on your profile picture. That button is your ticket to posting stories on TikTok. If you don’t have the feature yet, be patient. TikTok is expanding the pilot test. 

    How to Use TikTok Stories 

    Aside from viewing TikTok Stories in your FYP, you can also watch them by heading to the account’s profile and clicking their profile picture (like Instagram). To create a TikTok Story, follow these two steps: 

    Step 1: Just like you’d record a TikTok Video on TikTok, you’d do the same for TikTok Stories. Tap the ‘+’ icon, record, and add any effects, sounds, or text.

    Step 2: When you’re ready to post your story, tap the ‘checkmark icon’ and tap ‘Post to Story.’

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    Should You or Your Brand Use TikTok Stories

    Stories aren’t a new concept on social media. This widely adopted content type works well for many brands and creators on Instagram who are looking to gauge interest or drive traffic using question and link stickers. However, since TikTok is more entertainment-focused than anything else, brands and creators will have to experiment with how they use TikTok Stories to see what’s most effective. 

    For example, a fashion creator whose content is primarily product hauls or aesthetically pleasing videos, showing off their tips in their TikTok Stories would most likely need to be differentiated from their TikTok videos. This is solely because you’d want it to be valuable or entertaining for your audience and if it's too similar to your regular content, users might wish it was permanent so they can return to it for tips, product references, or inspiration. 

    How to Use TikTok Stories

    TikTok’s FYP features content selected by TikTok’s algorithm to feed users unique and personalized feeds based on their likes and dislikes. This is why you or your brand need to rethink the goal and purpose of your TikTok Stories. Here are a few questions to get you started. 

    • What’s the goal of this TikTok Story? Do you want to drive awareness or engagement? 
    • Do you want to target your existing followers or attract new followers? 
    • What type of user interactions do you want to have on your stories? 

    After you decide your purpose of sharing stories on TikTok, then you can decide if you want to make this solely for your followers, which would be content geared towards users’ Following page, or for everyone. We’ll touch on a few content ideas to get you started in our next section. 

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    4 TikTok Stories Content Ideas

    #1 Try out the templates

    TikTok introduced a template feature to go along with their Stories release. It’s a fun way to combine a bunch of pictures in an exciting format. Brands can use this feature to show off product pictures, day-in-the-life shots, and basically any photos they want to toss up for 24 hours.

    PLANOLY Pro-Tip: Check out our Content Templates for 30 days worth of content. Each product collection includes 30 customizable templates, captions, and hashtags to plug into your social strategy.

    #2 Sneak peek of your upcoming posts 

    Take a page out of the Instagram Stories playbook and post a screenshot to promote your upcoming or already posted TikTok videos. Use editing tools to cover up the main focus of the shot if you're feeling mysterious. Then, add text directing users to find the video on your profile. Stories use the same editing features as regular TikToks do, so feel free to get creative with the tools you already know how to use.

    #3 Behind the scenes

    Behind the scenes content and Stories are a match made in heaven on any platform, and TikTok is no exception. Post a 15-second video vlogging a section of your workday or post pictures working on your next product launch. The opportunities with this content type are endless. Because you don't need to do any heavy editing, you can post scrappy insider-scoops all day long with minimal effort.

    #4 React to current events

    TikTok is all about taking part in a bigger conversation, but not every trendy event deserves a permanent home on your brand’s profile. Stories allow you to contribute to these conversations and discuss current events with your followers without immortalizing every trending event (like one very hot court case) on your profile. 

    TikTok Stories are still new. It’s impossible to tell where they’re headed, but one thing is for certain— you can’t lose by taking advantage of a new feature meant to help you foster a stronger relationship with your target audience.

    Learn more about Payton Rodewald, on PLANOLY

    Payton Rodewald

    Payton Rodewald is the Social Media Coordinator at PLANOLY. She is the in-house Pinterest and vibey content expert.

    More by Payton Rodewald

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