How Mastering the Art of Storytelling Can Help Boost Social Media

If you were asked about the “Impossible is nothing” ad campaign, there are two things that you probably know about it – one, that it’s Adidas’ campaign and two, Lionel Messi’s compelling story. More than a decade has passed and those who have seen that ad still remember the star athlete’s growth hormone problems when he was younger.

That’s how effective that storytelling was. To this day, people still recall how the “Impossible is nothing” statement resonated loudly and that positive spirit is what we associate with Adidas.

Adidas Impossible is Nothing – Lionel Messi

Anyone who wants to nail their social media strategy should learn and master the art of storytelling. If you want your brand to be remembered, you must have a good story to tell and tell your story in a really good way.

Make Storytelling in Marketing Work for You

Why should you use storytelling as a marketing strategy to increase your engagement? There are several reasons why storytelling is an effective marketing strategy, but the most important one is that a compelling story can help humanize your brand. It is what will make whatever it is you’re offering more than just a product or a service.

A good story provokes emotions which helps people remember things better. That’s why it’s a lot easier to retell a story in full detail than to recite statistics and informative facts. If you want your brand to stand out and also improve conversion rate significantly, you better learn how to use tell a good story on social media.

How to Use Storytelling in Social Media

1. Show your brand’s human side

Remember that people cannot relate to brands, products, or companies. Your target audience can only connect with you if you tell a story that will show them the human side of your brand. Behind-the-scene narratives are good because they pique the interest of the audience.

However, you should be careful not to overshare. Be tasteful with what you talk about on social media. Stick to stories that are inspiring and heartwarming.

2. Develop a story arc

Every story is composed of a series of events. You may choose to tell the whole story at once or do something in episodes or chapters. Before you create your social content, make sure that you consider what your goals are.

It would be good to consider what you think your business will be like in three to five years. Why? It’s because your audience would love to be a part of the journey. What you should do is develop a long-term story arc first, then create mini-stories that are parts of that bigger narrative. Every part of the story is important in keeping your audience “hooked” so make sure that every installment of your story is exciting.

3. Share the story behind your brand

You might be racking your brains in search of ideas for a story. Well, don’t go too far from your brand. The best story you can tell others is one about your brand. Talk about the beginnings of your business and what your brand stands for. Reinforce your message and share what’s relevant to your brand. You probably already do this through your blogs so you just need to extend your storytelling on social media.

4. Show don’t tell

Your audience is on social media so you should show instead of telling. Consumers today prefer visual storytelling, so your story should be told through an engaging video or aided with a stunning photo to catch people’s attention. Rarely do people go through big blocks of text on social media. They only pause when they’re intrigued by a catchy title that’s accompanied by a compelling visual. Make sure you have both elements when you do your social media storytelling.

5. Turn your status updates into mini blog posts

If you have a talent with words, why not use it to your advantage? You can turn your Facebook updates into short blog posts. Twitter, despite its strict character limit, can be effective in provoking interest. Even Instagram photos can be made even more memorable with a good caption.

Bestselling author Anne Lamott, for example, regularly tells short but sweet stories on her Facebook page. These updates always draw thousands of likes and comments.

Anne Lamott - Facebook Post
Anne Lamott – Facebook Post – Image source: Anne Lamott

6. Write like a writer

You don’t have to be an actual published writer to get your social media storytelling on point. You have to do your homework, though. What kind of narratives gets a positive response from people? What type of content gets shared a lot of times?

Take hints from your favorite novel or story. What elements of the storyline got you hooked? Inject boldness and creativity into your narrative while keeping your storytelling straight to the point and you’ll get your audience engaged, too.

7. Tell a broader story through consecutive posts

Have you ever considered doing a series of tweets to tell your story? You should because it offers an effective way to build interest and anticipation. Tweets require just a few seconds but they have a way of making an impact. Once you have your storyline in mind, all you need to do is be creative with your 140-character Tweets! Twitter offers the perfect opportunity for play-by-play storytelling.

Check out how @danjenkinsgd’s consecutive Tweets effectively played out.

Dan Jenkins - Twitter Profile
Dan Jenkins – Twitter Profile – Image Source: @danjenkinsgd

8. Go with what matters to people

Assuming that you have done thorough research on your target audience, you must now know what matters to them and what can make your brand meaningful. For instance, Dawn recognizes the shift of consumers towards animal-friendly products. Consumers today prefer products that do not harm animals and the environment, especially with a lot of animal species becoming extinct.

The dish soap brand’s social media storytelling is so powerful because it does not just highlight the effectiveness of their products in cleaning dishes but also in cleaning wildlife affected by an oil spill, and with the adorable photo they used, their audience was captivated.

Dawn - Helps Save Wildlife - That's because Dawn is tough on grease, yet gentle on feathers.
Dawn – Helps Save Wildlife – That’s because Dawn is tough on grease, yet gentle on feathers. Image Source: Dawn

9. Incorporate interesting elements of the story into your posts

Every story is made up of elements that make it engaging. Focusing on these elements can help you build a strong narrative a lot easier.

For one, everybody loves relatable characters. These are regular people who share the same interests and maybe even have the same personalities as your audience. They are the ones everyone falls in love with, can empathize with, and root for. No story would be complete without at least one relatable character.

The plot is equally important. How strong is the beginning of your story? How about the middle and the end? You know well that everyone loves a good drama, so make sure that there’s a conflict that would draw your audience in and a resolution that will satisfy them.

Dove DermaSeries have these elements – relatable characters who share real stories of their struggles with certain skin conditions and how Dove DermaSeries helps them with their battle. Their narratives are beautifully done that they tug at people’s heartstrings and doesn’t come across as a selling strategy.

Dove DermaSeries
Image Source: Dove DermaSeries

10. Use tools that help you get up close and personal

As mentioned above, there are some social tools that you can use to tell your story and improve conversion rate. These tools allow you to express emotion and show authenticity instantly. The top social media tools you can use right now are Snapchat Stories, Facebook Stories, Facebook Live, and Instagram Stories. They all allow you to post real-time videos that only last for a short period.

This approach in storytelling is especially effective with a younger demographic. Young consumers crave for real-life snippets. The more “realistic” the stories are, the better. Of course, your stories should still be able to draw a strong emotion from your audience. The good thing about using these tools is that you don’t need to have a big production or an elaborate storyline. In this case, raw and unscripted work.

3 Things Essential for Successful Social Media Storytelling

Now that you know how you can use storytelling in social media, you just have to remember these three essentials:

Know and Understand Your Audience

No matter how sad, funny, or exciting your stories are, if your potential customers can’t relate to them, they won’t deliver the results you want. Therefore, you must begin by studying and understanding who your customers are. Know what they like and don’t like, what frustrates them, what makes them happy. Only when you know your customers on a deep level will you be able to create a story that will resonate with them.

Listen to Your Audience’s Tone of Voice and Use It

You want your potential customers to read or watch your content and feel like the words you used came right out of their mouths. You can’t be too technical and use jargon that consumers wouldn’t normally use. Speak their lingo.

One way to learn your audience’s tone of voice is by conducting interviews. Ask how they feel about your products or certain features of it. Take note of the exact terms they use and if possible, incorporate them in the stories you create.

Make Your Customer Your Story’s Hero

Instead of going on and on about your brand and how amazing it is, focus on your customers. They should be the hero of your story. Their struggles and successes should be the heart of your storytelling. Tell the story from a customer’s point of view and it will be more effective and successful.

The Takeaway

Even an integrated mobile-driven business needs an effective social media marketing strategy to help increase engagement and boost sales. Social media storytelling may be the thing that will help you reach your marketing goals.

If you want your storytelling to be effective, set your facts and figures aside and focus on emotion because that’s what your audience is looking for. They don’t read stories or watch videos to learn about statistics. Focus not on your products but your customers. You want them to relate to your characters.

Your customers want to feel motivated, sentimental and inspired. Stir those emotions and cap your story with a good call-to-action to guide your audience where you want them to be after seeing your content.

Featured image source: Freepik

Published by Gabby Roxas

Gabby Roxas is a writer, editor and content manager at  Oberlo. Her mission is to help start-up businesses to community companies to generate more leads.

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