The Secret Ingredient Your Social Media Marketing is Missing (Hint: It’s Storytelling)

By on May 8, 2017
Flatlay girl using phone with books and coffee free image

Stories are part of being human. They are a fundamental element of how we communicate, how we learn, and how we grow. As technology has matured, so too has our ability to tell better and more engaging stories, but at no point have we abandoned our need to tell them.

Far too many brands are relying on clever ads and copy to sell their products, but they aren’t finding the success they need. The reason? They’ve taken all the stories, the humanity, out of their brand. When it comes to social media, the “social” should be emphasized through storytelling. Join us as we look at all the ways you can implement this element, and some great examples of storytelling in action.

How to Get Started with Storytelling (And Why It’s Important)

The first thing to remember, is that stories are more important than you know. Research done by Green & Brock, found that stories have a huge influence over us. We are susceptible to getting pulled in because it allows us to empathize with the characters and place ourselves into the tale.

Stories transport us into the narrative, and for brands, that’s huge. Think about how captivating it is when you see someone speak, or when a video manages to grab your attention by posing a unique premise for you to consider.

Of course, not all stories are created equal. Here are some ways to improve the quality of your stories:

  1. Suspense Works

 While we all have our own opinions of the dreaded “cliffhanger” there’s no doubt that it works, and works well. We can’t let suspense go unnoticed or unresolved. Research here has shown that 90% of people are inclined to finish something they’ve already started, even if we’re interrupted.

A great story, even if you have to put it down, is something most people will come back to, if only to see how it ends. Use this to your advantage by creating compelling tales on your blog and promoting them on social media with a great hook that keeps readers interested.

  1. Structure Your Stories Correctly

Beyond the simple “beginning, middle, and end” stories need to have another structure to them. Known as dramatic structure, or Freytag’s Pyramid, this diagram shows how a story should properly flow. You start with exposition, transition into rising action, reach a climax, and then fall into a resolution.

Make sure your stories on social media, no matter how simple, follow this theme. This will keep your readers interested and give them a satisfying conclusion to the story.

  1. Utilize Imagery and Literary Techniques

 Every story needs techniques like imagery, metaphors, and other literary techniques to truly thrive. It’s what makes a good story great, and what helps you remember it long after you’re finished.

When you’re presenting stories of your own on social media, look for ways to spice them up with some of these techniques. For example, using strong imagery can help the reader envision the setting you want them to see, and really pull them into the story.

  1. Make Your Customers the Focus

 At the heart of every story you tell, should be your customers. They should be able to place themselves into the story and empathize with the characters. Ultimately, your stories should showcase how your product or service can benefit their daily lives.

If you make the story about yourself or your brand, your customers won’t connect with it in the same way. Remember, they are the most important part of the story.

3 Epic Examples of Storytelling in Action

Now that we’ve seen the tenants of great storytelling on social media, the next step is to see it in action. Let’s take a look at three different examples of storytelling in action, and how it’s helping these brands better connect with their customers.

  1. Dove and the Men Thing

 For years, Dove Soap has done a great job connecting with women by telling stories that feature real, normal people. They took it one step further with their ads that were targeted toward men.

A perfect example was the commercial they made where a father was reunited with his child after coming back from the military. That alone is a touching story, but Dove manages to tie their product into it because soap is something you use every day, and the smell of a baby as you kiss its forehead always smells vaguely like the soap you used. That emotion is tied to the scent, thus making it a powerful story that all men can relate to in some way. Check out the commercial here.

  1. Airbnb

 Airbnb deals in stories, and it’s a brand that has exploded onto the scene in recent years. As one of their marketing campaigns, they produced a simple, but powerful animation called “Wall and Chain.” The story it tells is heartfelt and taps directly into their brand’s message.

The animation, while simple in nature, deals with themes like family, connections, and being a global citizen. You can watch it anywhere, on any device, and experience a powerful story that will stay with you.

  1. HTC: Happy Telephone Company

 Robert Downey Jr is always a charismatic character, but he truly shines in this HTC “Here’s to Change” skit. His acting skill, combined with rich visuals, and a great sense of suspense, makes this one of the best examples of social media storytelling out there.

It’s a charming and confident look at how to make your brand stand out from the competition. Not only that, it’s a fun story in and of itself.

Final Thoughts

Storytelling is the secret to social media success that truly elevates a brand to new heights. How do you incorporate it into your social media marketing? Let us know in the comments!

About Matt Banner

Matt Banner is a seasoned blogger and entrepreneur with a decade of experience in the online world of blogging, SEO, and marketing. You can find him online @BlastYourBlog
  • Billy Arcement

    A “right on” observation of what works. Stories are powerful in virtually any situation. Think about fire-side boy scout stories. Our forefathers passed on life skills through stories. Why wouldn’t it work with products? As a professional speaker, my success is strongly dependent on stories. Audiences want to hear them and, if you choose to ignore that want, you will soon be looking for other work. Combine humor with stories and you’ve just hit a home run!

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