What is storytelling?
In concrete terms, storytelling is the art of building creative scenarios that aim to stimulate customers’ emotions around a company’s values. Whether based on real facts or completely imaginary stories, this communication technique consists of telling a story, rather than using a descriptive tone, to promote the merits of a brand or product.
In reality, this notion is not new. Brands have been using storytelling for years to involve their customers and provide exclusive content. Today, due to a constant stream of content via social media platforms, consumers want to live these stories fully and instantly. They also need transparency to have confidence and consume, which is why we can say that ‘story living’ is one of the essential steps in ‘storytelling’.
Why use storytelling for your company?
Stirring up positive emotions through a wealth of high-quality and engaging content can have a great influence on a brand’s consumer loyalty. Helping to humanise your company, communicating your brand story helps you connect with your consumers on a deeper level, surprise them and, in turn, improve your reputation and authority in your industry.
What’s more, when a customer is touched by a brand’s values/message, they will inevitably become interested in the products it sells or the services it offers.
How to use storytelling on social media efficiently:
1. Understand your audience:
To positively impact your followers, you first need to understand them and know how to talk to them. To make them want to buy your products or work with you, your brand story must align with their needs at the right time. This will help you develop the right kind of content to engage them.
A good understanding of your audience will also help establish your voice. You must adapt your tone, discourse and content according to the social media platform you’re posting on. For example, on LinkedIn, you will be targeting working professionals, while on Snapchat you’ll be speaking with a much younger audience – these two audiences do not expect the same kind of content and do not consume stories in the same way.
What’s more, one of the main advantages of posting on social media is that you receive immediate feedback and reactions, allowing you to understand your audience even more, and then adjust your content/strategy accordingly.
Once you have identified how to attract and meet your audience’s needs, your message must remain consistent with your brand personality, your values and what you have to offer. Otherwise, you risk creating confusion and losing credibility with your targeted audience.
2. Use visuals:
How can your brand story turn into content for a social audience? Visuals offer a great solution. If you manufacture your own products, for example, consider showing how they are made through photographs and shorts videos, alongside text.
You may not have noticed it, but you are more likely to click on an illustrated post than on those that contain only text. Why? An image catches your attention immediately; it has a strong evocative power and alerts several senses. And, if a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Video can bring it all to life and really give you a feel of the brand personality. By 2020, video will account for more than 80% of Internet traffic, meaning there is a huge opportunity to own this space now.
Visual social media is a field that offers many possibilities – be sure to use imagery and video content that helps tell your brand story and communicate your core values. When done well, you can expect to see your engagement rates increase significantly. Also, remember that quality is key – all visual content needs to attract your consumers immediately. When creating video content, focus on the first 5 seconds to create emotion and stimulate their curiosity.
3. Adapt your content and story delivery for each social network:
You have some content ready, but don’t give in to the temptation to publish it as it is. Often, it is better to adapt it according to the social networks you chose to use. For example, on Instagram, use multiple-image posts to demonstrate progression. You can also use Instagram Stories to share ‘real moments’, which people often really resonate with.
On Twitter, with 280 characters, you need to get straight to the point, adding useful discovery hashtags to amplify your messages to a wider audience, or even use a branded hashtag, which aligns with your brand mission. On this social network, you can find everything that is happening in the world and what everyone is talking about. Indeed, Twitter has been the platform of live reactions since its inception. So, consider using live videos to communicate your brand story authentically. Present your company in a fun way, broadcast an event, and get immediate reactions; it’ll make your audience feel more engaged with your brand.
4. Stay sincere and spontaneous:
Spontaneity and transparency are great allies when it comes to establishing a connection and creating loyalty with your followers. It allows them to get to know the most human side of your brand.
People are predisposed to believe in good stories. Unlike statistics or abstract concepts, stories can cause real and tangible physical and emotional changes in our bodies: we get excited, we laugh, we cry. When a story touches you, you want to speak about it, to share it; all of which is particularly relevant on social media.
To show sincerity and the human side of your brand, remember to focus on not just the products, but the people behind and those using the products. With case studies, for example, consider bringing testimonials to the forefront; present how your services are beneficial for people and how they are satisfied with them. Or, consider creating recurring characters in a series of short stories that your customers can follow, relate to and appreciate.
How important is your brand story to your social media strategy? It could be a good way to differentiate yourself from the competition and create an original personality around your brand. Don’t know where to start? Speak to one of our social media experts to ask questions or seek advice by contacting us on 01603 252555 or fill in a contact form.