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How to Use the Art of Storytelling on Social Media

One of the most compelling social media marketing strategies for any business has been around since the dawn of time: storytelling. Predating the modern digital era storytelling was practised by ancestral leaders to organize action, transform nations, and pass down historic knowledge. Storytelling is an incredible art form that can be employed to market your business and connect in a more authentically personal manner with your ideal customer.

People are naturally drawn to stories from a young age. There’s a reason why morals and values are taught to children through this same method. Stories engage the listener’s attention from start to finish. And this is one of the main reasons why storytelling is an essential part of any social media marketing strategy. It holds the audience’s attention.

What Is Storytelling?

Before we continue and start looking at ways you can use storytelling as a marketing tool, let’s first take a look at the reasons why it’s so effective. Put simply, storytelling is powerful because humans are wired to react to stories. Before the written word came to be, oral storytelling was the way people obtained and passed on information and learning, so much so that throughout history, individuals used storytelling to survive.

It makes sense that storytelling continues to endure given its long history of use. Part of the strength that storytelling offers is the fact that it helps people connect with an idea or notion on an emotional level. It’s important because no matter how logical we claim to be, anything that remits an emotional response is more prone to produce a reaction or to move us in some way. Furthermore, stories improve recall meaning that an idea that’s portrayed via storytelling will be more memorable. A great example that illustrates this concept can be noted throughout the history of advertising- the most memorable type of adverts are the ones that show a story about what a founder, business, or company can signify to us.

Does It Truly Work?

The Internet is constantly rewarding us with instant gratification, making the human element increasingly more infrequent and coveted. In the social media environment, businesses can no longer afford to be faceless entities. In order to survive, businesses have to connect authentically with their audiences and engage with them on a much more heartfelt level than observed before. That’s where strategic brand storytelling comes into play.

Fun Fact: In 2017 Neil Patel stated that “62% of B2B marketers rated storytelling as an effective content marketing tactic in 2017”.

Strategic brand storytelling is the coordinated narrative that knits together the emotions, values, and facts that your brand elicits. In addition to supplying the target audience with reasons as to why they should invest in a service or product, brands need to begin sharing their story and maximizing social media with a clear narrative that is consistent across all platforms.

A study conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute showcased that the use of effective brand storytelling throughout a content marketing strategy could enhance the value of a service or product by more than 20%.

Nowadays consumers have no interest in outdated and heartless branded adverts. The new era of consumers invests in a brand’s story.

How Can It Benefit Small Businesses/Brands?

Brand storytelling is no longer a nonessential added bonus. It is a must-have, that will sequentially amplify your company’s influence, engagement, and profit. If you treat it as a springboard or starting point for your social media marketing strategy, the results will be a business that is captivating and financially successful.

  1. Form an Emotional Connection: Storytelling that concentrates on authentic and honest experiences often activates emotional connections that make your viewers want to engage with your content more often.
  2. Boost Brand Recognition: Storytelling holds your audience’s attention for longer periods of time in comparison to other types of content. Whenever storytelling is executed properly, it can strike a chord with your viewers and consequently help them with future recall of your brand.
  3. Convert Visitors to Loyal Customers: Storytelling not only increases your visitor’s brand recognition but can further convert them into brand loyalists over a prolonged period of time. When your narrative resonates with your viewers and they can personally connect with it, you can rest assured that they will not only become faithful and returning customers, but they will further sing your brand’s praises – helping with social proof.
  4. Captivating Stories Go Viral – Storytelling that’s correctly applied in marketing assets such as video can drive your content to go viral. Especially on social media. In an era where everyone walks around with a smartphone in their pockets and social media is widespread, these platforms become great tools to leverage for content distribution, engagement, and recognition.

How to Craft Your Brand Story to Sell Your “Why” Online

View storytelling as a way to attach purpose and meaning to the information you want to present to your audience. All the characteristics and benefits of your product are relevant, so you want potential shoppers to comprehend them without having to read descriptive information sections, for example, a product description.

Here are a few key points that will help you create a powerful social media marketing story:

  1. Make It Relevant. It’s impossible and practically pointless to try to think of a story that would resonate with every single person on this planet. Rather, focus solely on your target audience. What difficulties does your user persona face? How can you turn your ideal customer into a personality in your story? How can you best present the solution in a compelling manner? All these questions are essential to the development process of a storytelling strategy.
  2. Use a Strategic Approach for Storytelling. An effective way to incorporate storytelling into your social media marketing strategy is to share different experiences. One of the best ways to do this is to create content with stories from real users (past customers). We can see examples of this method applied strongly in Nike’s advertising campaign, “Find Your Greatness”. Nevertheless, once your target audience is emotionally invested in the personalities, you’ll be able to develop that story further. Another point to add is that creating this “social-proof” personal experience storyline for social media could also be achieved with user-generated content or influencer campaigns.
  3. Use Your Audience’s Belief System As the Base for Your Story. When your goal is to convince your target customers that the products or services you’re offering fit into their lifestyle, you need to take into account their belief system. If, for example, you’re selling a protein powder, you can connect the story with sports, health, fitness, and other activities that would belong in the lifestyle of this group of consumers.
  4. Bonus! Share YOUR Story: Now, more than ever before you have a multitude of platforms you can use to tell your story. Social media tools like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram make it effortless to connect with your prospective customers in real-time and share a winning, authentic and captivating story. Social media is also a fantastic tool to leverage when researching and finding elements that might help you craft a great story for your content marketing efforts. You can learn a lot from analyzing your social analytics and data points!

One Final Note

Technology has served as a window, a behavioral study if you like, and allowed us to better comprehend our customers, their buying patterns, and even the human emotions that can successfully trigger the need to purchase. But, when it comes down to it, business is personal; we buy from businesses we like and trust. Storytelling continues to demonstrate its power in supporting companies build and nurture customer connections – increasing business relationships and reputation with consumers.

Tabitha Naylor

About the author: Tabitha Naylor
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