At the heart of all successful social media marketing is one thing – great storytelling.
Social media marketers are essentially storytellers that help create narratives for brands. Stories aren’t just for movies, books, or podcasts – they are interwoven in everything we come across on a daily basis. And that includes short form storytelling on social media.
“Good and powerful storytelling whether it’s for a book, article, a website or on social, must begin with a moment of unexpected change. I learned that from the brilliant Will Storr in his book, The Science of Storytelling. He cites beautiful examples, like E.B White’s Charlottes Web, which begins, ‘Where is papa going with that ax.’ When our brains detect change, they become alert, engaged and interested.
We are left wanting more. In any situation where you’re given the privilege of telling or sharing your story, bring people in. As quickly as you can,” said Carolyn Rush Crouse, Strategy Director of Red Antler, a performance marketing agency.
Storytelling is what captivates an audience, it’s what gives brands a voice. Let’s look at how to tell a great brand story, and the impact your social media presence can have.
Stories Engage Audiences
Simply telling potential customers what your brand is about through an engaging story builds interest and trust, it’s not intended to convert sales but rather build intrigue and captivate people.
To write a great brand story, there are many questions you need to answer.
What is your company’s mission?
How did the brand idea come to be?
When was the business started and why?
What is the company’s core objective?
Who owns the business?
Within the answers to these questions you have to identify the points of interest that create intrigue – and then craft your story around that. Transparency is key. People respond to honesty and ingenuity – that means, at times, sharing the good and the not-so-good.
“Build a loyal audience by speaking from your truth. If you run a business, get in touch with your ‘personal why’ and share that vulnerably and authentically. By being specific and focused on your ‘why’ you are more likely to attract those that resonate with your message the most, and that will 100% build loyalty and translate to more sales. People want a reason to support and root for you, give that to them,” says Aishwarya Balaji, CEO and Co-Founder of A Fresh Sip, an alcohol-free beverage platform.
Balaji shared that prior to their launch, they spent eight months building a community for the “sober-curious”. “When my cofounder and I set out with a mission to redefine drinking culture and increase the accessibility of tasty and sophisticated alcohol-free options we knew that there were so many people who did not drink alcohol who felt unseen and unheard,” she adds. So they leaned into the power of social media.
“We started our sober-curious journeys and eventually that led us to listening to what our community wanted – which was an online alcohol free platform to help them find the best alcohol-free products – and it has been incredible to see the outpouring of support and sales we’ve gotten from our community since we launched.”
Stickiness makes your brand story memorable. Experiences that are shocking, heartwarming, relatable, or unusual help people not only remember your story, but also prompts them to share it with other people.
Think about anything interesting or catchy that you can include, such as how you got your very first customer. We all remember the story of AirBnb selling “Obama O’s” and “Cap’N McCains” novelty cereal during the 2008 presidential election to help fund their startup. A company that is now worth billions started off by selling cereal. It’s things like that, that make a good story – that have stickiness.
“The question for retailers is, how do we create that stickiness? How do we create community? How do we remain relevant in the lives of consumers? It’s about promise. It’s the promise of, ‘Here’s what my brand is all about.’ It’s about being able to connect with the consumer in a different way, and it’s about being able to deliver on that brand promise,” said Rod Sides, Deloitte’s vice chairman and U.S. leader for retail, wholesale and distribution practice, when speaking to NRF.
Dove has repeatedly done a great job of telling relatable stories that revolve around real people, and not models. For example, their “Real Beauty” campaign embraced real women having self-confidence in all different body types. These real, and not-photoshopped, images resonated with people and struck a cord. And these stories influence people’s perceptions and buying behavior every day.
Content Production Done Right
In 2022, social networking sites are estimated to reach 3.96 billion users, it goes without saying that the potential on social is abundant.
But with the high number of users, the space is also very crowded – making it even more important to create content that resonates with people. Content that is emotional, relatable, and memorable – and includes strong visual elements.
Today’s digital world requires an extensive amount of content production, but it’s important to always remember quality over quantity. If resources and time are limited, spend time crafting less content but create unforgettable stories.
Marketers who utilize the art of story structure can remarkably strengthen their social media branding. Well thought out, creative social media marketing that tells a compelling story will garner more user interaction and authentic conversations.