Storytelling always has, and always will be the #1 tool in your arsenal to capture an audience. When Mark Zuckerburg announced Facebook would change its news feed algorithm to prioritise content from “friends, family and groups” he bought all the power back to quality content in social media.
Question: As social media algorithms focus on sponsored advertising to make an impact, how do we leverage social media for our brands?
Answer: We take it back to our roots, using the power of storytelling.
While sponsored posts give immediate results, storytelling takes time with a journey that needs to begin, build and extend beyond the screen. And where advertising is paid for, organic results come from a genuine and more emotionally invested connection.
Stories are all around us, in the conversations we have online and in person, the blogs and articles we read, the movies and newsfeeds we watch and the brands we follow. No doubt, stories appeal to the primeval beings within, taking us back to our roots of those ancient days huddling around the fire to sow the seeds for the evolution of human culture.
Humans live stories every day, and dream stories at night. It is through stories we forge connections as we seek, ultimately, what it means to be human. It is in our nature. We are all storytellers and all story soundboards.
Use the power of a good story in your posts.
As responsive creatures, stories capture our imaginations, connecting the information with our emotions. We are driven by our emotions, retaining stories far easier than we do statistics, facts and data. Stories are powerful. Just as eye-catching design makes for impressive messaging, a well told story stirs the emotions.
Get Back To Our Roots
The tables have been turned to bring us back to our roots for genuine connections with our audience, by
1) taking social media back from a news network to a social network
2) encouraging “meaningful interactions between people” and
3) returning content back to its throne as king.
As social media focuses on paid advertising, this means we need to find alternatives cutting through the digital noise. It’s like a beautiful circle of digital marketing life, bringing us right back to where we started.
Should you choose to accept it, your focus should always be on what, how, why and for whom – as a declaration of your purpose. In every aspect of your business, and especially in marketing, specifically address these questions:
Who are we?
What business are we in?
Who are our customers?
What customer problems do we solve?
These questions and answers drive where you want to be and how you move towards the future. The answers form the foundations of your marketing strategy to build on your online relationships and extend beyond the digital world into the real one.
When you know who you are, you set tone and personality across your posts so you talk with your audience, not at them, so they can relate to you.
In knowing your business, you can promote how your business and products benefit your customers’ lifestyles.
When you know who your customer is, you can create stories that relate to their experiences so they connect with you.
When you know how you are a solution for your customers, your posts can provoke their emotions and change their lives for the better.
What Makes Stories Great
Whether the story is of your brand, or warriors on a quest to kill the dragon, all good tales have common elements:
A clear beginning, middle and end
Relatable characters, personalities and people, and
Conflict, drama, resolutions and happy endings.
It’s a formula that has worked for eons so weave these into your posts.
Launch a promotional campaign and use the themes of the campaign across your posts.
Share posts on office staff, their official job title with a creative and quirky position description, how they take their coffee, their office quirks and how they bring value to the company.
Post about the drama or conflict you face in your everyday to draw your readers in – everyone relates to office drama.
As Dr Zeuss once wrote “There is no one alive who is Youer than You”.
Showcase what makes you unique and special to develop your culture, appeal to your audience and attract clients.
Share what you’re doing or learning, with a look behind the scenes.
Images and video are incredibly important in social media success, instantly engaging your audience and adding layers to your narrative. But resize your images specific to your social media platform, because one size does not fit all.
Share an image that has captured your interest and create a narrative around why it inspired you and reflects where your mind is.
Going on a conference or a company lunch? Create an album and share the photos – and the experience. To really improve your reach, tag your location (unless it’s top secret of course).
Create a video showing all the steps how a product reaches your customer.
Read Through Their Eyes
Give your audience a reason to be invested in your posts. Add emotion and intrigue, and allow your audience to be the hero at the centre of your posts. Keep the story open-ended so your audience creates the finish to the journey. Your audience has stories of their own to tell so incorporate user-generated content into your story to make the story more far reaching.
No post is an island: establish themes and create mini-stories and mini-series across a series of posts.
Ask your audience how your brand or products adds to their life, then repost these stories – seek their permission, and tag them to increase your reach.
The best stories relate to everyone, so be authentic with a broad vision. While you need to preserve your own original flavour, you also need to stay within reach of your audience. People work with people and are more likely to connect with others rather than a faceless product or brand. Let your brand tell the story. Rely on stories to define your brand. Reinforce your brand’s message and the things you stand for.
Share a handy tip or life hack to add value to your audience’s lifestyle.
Tell the story behind your business name.
Divulge the background into what inspired a particular product and how it came about.
Let Your Words Shine
Storytelling is driven by words. Our copy needs to dictate the brand and become a part of our audience’s storyline.
Share a deep and meaningful thought that’s been on your mind lately and turn a status update into a mini blog or consecutive updates.
If your mini blog is restricted by Twitter’s character limits, post across a series of tweets.
Why Brand Storytelling Is So Important
Storytelling should be the foundation to your growth strategy – your audience never feels like they want to be sold to or preached at. When a follower declares their love for a brand, they want that business to represent their values and epitomise their goals. This is where storytelling is crucial. Whether it’s a testimonial, interview, social media nod, case study or experience, the credibility that comes from another person relating to your experience – and sharing it – is beyond all measure.
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