How TikTok Stories Work & How to Use Them

Short-form video is where it’s at these days. It doesn’t matter if you’re on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or even YouTube, short videos of around a minute or less seem to be the thing that grabs the most attention and is the most engaging type of social media content.

In addition to traditional TikTok (videos up to three minutes long), you can also leverage TikTok Stories—video segments that can last up to 15 seconds. These brief snippets of video will be featured as an in-feed post with a story tag in the top left corner.

According to TikTok, “This new tool is designed to support deeper engagement between you and your audience through a real and authentic look into your daily life. Stories will provide a home for existing relationships to flourish on TikTok, offering your friends and followers a more familiar lens into your world.”

In other words, the Stories you share will be viewable by the people who follow you, not the broader TikTok audience. Conversely, you’ll be able to view Stories published by the people you follow.

For a business, this could help you segment your message with those who have opted into your stream and follow what you have to say and more generic messages to people who may be in your target demographic, but haven’t started following you yet.

How do TikTok Stories work?

Your TikTok stories live on your standard feed. If you’ve published a Story, it will include a blue icon in the upper left corner to tell your viewers it is a story. Your profile image will also include a blue ring that when clicked will take the view directly to your story. Otherwise, the Stories in TikTok work the same way as anything you would post on your regular feed.

Can you see who viewed your TikTok Story?

Although a creator can see how many people have viewed their TikTok Story, they currently cannot see who specifically has viewed their video. In other words, just like the regular TikTok feed, you won’t be able to identify the individuals who watch these short videos.

Similarly, you will be able to see the profiles of anyone who likes or comments on your Stories post the same way you can access that information on your standard FYP feed. You will also have access to anyone who has viewed your profile. Although you won’t see the individuals who view your post, you will be able to see how many times your post was shared or bookmarked.

Upgrading to a pro-account will give you a little more detailed view of your account, but this will still not allow you to see exactly who has viewed your videos.

How long do TikTok stories last?

TikTok Stories remain on the FYP stream for 24 hours. Unlike other platforms, there isn’t a special “Stories View” because they appear within the regular feed.

If you’re interested in a specific person and their feed, you can tell they’ve posted a Story because there will be a blue, clickable, ring around their profile picture to inform you there is an active Stories post. Click on the ring and it will take you directly to their Stories post. The same will be true of any Story you post.

If, for some reason, you want to delete your TikTok Story before the 24 hours is up and it naturally disappears, you can. Simply tap the three dots on the bottom right of the screen and tape the Delete button.

Do TikTok Stories disappear?

After they are live on your profile for 24 hours, a Stories post will disappear and no longer be visible on your public-facing profile.

Even though they are no longer publicly visible, as the creator, you’ll still have access to the old video in your archive and will also be able to continue to view any statistics associated with your Stories post.

How to use TikTok Stories

Sprout Social’s Katie Woods writes, “[S]ocial media is about building an audience. TikTok Stories offers a new way to increase engagement and build community among your fanbase. Since the Story panel will only display stories from accounts users are following, the feature provides a way to enhance connections with users already interested in your content.”

She goes on to suggest a few ideas that will help encourage interaction with your Stories:

  • Publish exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else

  • Offer promo codes

  • Conduct a Q&A

  • Give followers a behind-the-scenes look at your daily activities

  • Make announcements

  • Offer tricks, hacks, and tips

I like these suggestions and, I expect over time, we will see more new features for TikTok Stories. Social media is a powerful tool for reaching an audience and TikTok is particularly good at reaching them with short-form video content targeted to an audience that may be interested in what you have to say.


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