August 27, 2018

Social Storytelling: How to Tell Your Brand Stories on Social Media

businesswoman laughing about brand storytelling on her computer

 

When storytelling is done right, it has the power to bring a brand to life, give it a personality people can relate to, and evoke the right emotional response. Storytelling is how marketers are forging personal connections with customers and building lasting relationships.

Today’s modern consumers spend the majority of their time online on social media, so of course brand storytelling has found a home on these platforms. But just how do you leverage these social channels to tell your story given the limited characters, time, and space?

Is there a way to build your story and hold your audience’s attention so that they stick with you until the end? How do we create a connection with the short amount of time we’re given to tell our stories?

Here’s how.

How to Tell your Story on Facebook

Facebook has over 2.13 billion monthly active users. It remains the biggest social media network.

Heinz saw tremendous success with their storytelling campaign that encouraged their fans to buy a personalized can of “Get Well Soon” soup via the Heinz Soup Facebook page. The story tapped into the emotions of people on more than one level – it warmed people’s heart at the thought of a personalized gift for a loved one while also bringing a sense of pride because each purchase raised vital funds for a charity benefiting poor children.

The beauty of Facebook is that it offers multiple methods for you to share your stories. Here are the top 3 ways you can leverage Facebook to tell your stories:

Status

Facebook’s status length has a 63,206 character limit. That’s a lot of space! According to Mashable, that’s enough space to fit the first 20 chapters of Genesis or 451 full tweets or the last three episodes of Friends. You could tell your full story right there on your Facebook status. Or you could use that space to add a link to your blog or a video. (Just don’t post a link to YouTube because the platforms are competitors. Facebook will push down its importance in your feed. Upload the video natively to Facebook and ask for comments, which carry heavier “weight” in its algorithm.)

Photo Albums

You can use Facebook photo albums to share a visual story about your brand’s history or stories of how your customers are using your products or services. Facebook photo albums can tell clever, funny, and heartwarming stories in a succession of photos that show off your brand personality. They can even be used to give your brand a face by introducing your employees. According to Buzzsumo, Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.

Video

Facebook users spend 3X more time watching live videos than traditional videos. And according to Cisco, 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2020.

More good news: Facebook videos can be up to 45 minutes long, which is plenty of time to tell your full story. You could also do a series that invites your audience to tune in. This is a great way to nurture relationships by having viewers become invested in the outcome of your stories and look forward to the next installment.

What would you do with an extra 24 hours? Leap Day happens every four years, and Chevrolet did Facebook video marketing right with their #DayItForward campaign. It gave its audience the warm fuzzies, resonating strongly by not just being engaging but informative. The campaign inspired people to use the “bonus day” to do something impactful by engaging in acts of kindness towards others.

Your video stories don’t have to be lengthy, though. According to WordStream, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. If you want to really engage your audience who want to know more about you and what you represent, tell a short micro-story through video storytelling.

Instagram

As a visual inspiration platform, Instagram prides itself on inspiring its users through the power of visual storytelling. With beautifully captured images and thoughtfully created captions, you can connect with your audience on a more emotional and engaging level.

Share your brand’s fascinating history, involve your followers by creating a hashtag to encourage user-generated content, and share behind-the-scenes shots. An excellent way to tell your brand story on Instagram is with photos of people using your products and services. How are they using it in the real world and how do they feel about their experiences?

While Instagram does have video capability up to 60 seconds long, it’s not really the platform for it. Videos tend to not get as many likes or shares. That’s changing with Stories, but hasn’t hit the tipping point yet.

When it comes to brands who are telling the most memorable and engaging visual stories on Instagram, we have to mention National Geographic who seem to have mastered the art of social storytelling. Their images are incredibly powerful and complemented with equally impactful captions.

YouTube

YouTube is now the 2nd most visited website in the world. It has 1.3 billion users with almost 5 billion videos watched on YouTube every single day. In fact, YouTube has already surpassed mainstream TV in how consumers prefer to view video content.

Host your videos on YouTube by creating a YouTube channel or playlist and share your amazing brand stories. Extend your video’s reach by promoting your YouTube links through email. (You’ll want to upload the videos natively to Facebook and Instagram, while optimizing for those platforms in terms of length and aspect ratio.) Videos have proven to be a powerful tool for brands to communicate with their audience more effectively and resonate more deeply.

GoPro’s video campaign is one of the best storytelling examples that didn’t show, mention or talk about their products once. Their campaign is powered by a “show, don’t tell” concept. The audience is taken on a journey of someone capturing awe-inspiring moments.

GoPro now has 5.4 million subscribers and have accumulated over 1 trillion views and counting. YouTube had this to say about GoPro’s success, “By involving its fans in content curation, GoPro has built a loyal and engaged audience. The authenticity of the channel’s content helps viewers feel connected to the brand.”

And that’s the moral of all these brand stories, authenticity matters. Whichever social media channel you decide to leverage, the universal truth of good storytelling as a marketing tool is to resonate with your audience with well-constructed narratives that have the power to evoke emotions, change attitudes, and strengthen brand connections.

Want help building a narrative like that? Email us.

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