10 Ways To Use Social Media For Storytelling

 15 Jan, 2024

social-media-for-storytelling

A renowned brand once decided to convey its brand message in such a way that it would leave a lasting impact in the minds and hearts of its audience base. It implemented a unique way of storytelling through a campaign for social media marketing. The brand picked a few random women and asked them to describe their appearance to an FBI-trained forensic artist. The artist was not allowed to see the women but could only hear them. So, as per their description of themselves, they sketched a picture of the respective women. Then, the same women were asked to become acquainted with the other chosen women.

Once they grew friendly to each other, the artist called them individually and again asked each of them to describe the appearance of the other lady they met and made friends with. The artist again did the sketches, but this time,  based on the descriptions given by others. When both the sketches were compared, the women were shocked to find the striking difference between the two sketches. One was drawn as per their description of themselves, and the other was as per the other’s perception, which was way better than the former. Hence, the brand successfully proved its message through its #real beauty sketches campaign in 2013, conveying the fact that “You’re more beautiful than you think.”

Yes, you guessed it right! We are talking about the renowned brand Dove, a globally popular personal care brand owned by Unilever. It strongly advocates the inner beauty of women and ascertains that beauty should be the source of confidence and not anxiety. Even their social media marketing endeavors revolve around this message. The campaign by Dove was a roaring success, amassing a whopping 70 million views on YouTube and leaving several imitators inspired.

See the video here:

This is the power of storytelling for social media marketing, provided you strike the right chords and your story strongly resonates with your audience segment using the most relevant emotion. As per The New York Times, the human brain reacts profoundly to the evocative strength of stories, impacting the sensory and motor cortex. Here, Dove built a powerful emotional connection with its audience, highlighting the importance of self-acceptance to them. Undisputedly, it excelled beyond expectations. Having that said, let’s see how the art of storytelling can be effectively leveraged in the business realm through social media advertising and more. Stay tuned!

Explore Creative Ways to Use Social Media for Storytelling!

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What Is Storytelling For Business, and How Is It Impactful?

Stories have the power to influence people’s minds. Hence, they are mighty business tools leveraged by successful business owners, brand managers, and entrepreneurs, sometimes to engage their teams or stakeholders and primarily to influence their clients. So, regardless of whom you motivate, if you strive to make your business thrive, you must ace the art of storytelling for effective social media marketing.

However, it’s critical to note that storytelling should not be used merely as a clever marketing tactic. It’s an essential skill for entrepreneurs, business mavens, and leaders aiming to stand out in today's bustling and competitive market. Hence, investing a great deal of thought process, strategic planning, the right tone, and, most essentially, the right platform to tell your brand story in the form of campaigns, social media advertising, and more is necessary.

Now, coming to what we mean by the phrase “the right platform.” If you aim to sustain and succeed in this highly volatile digital realm of business, then omnipresence is the key. You have to be present every time and everywhere for your audience, and that too effectively. Only then you’ll be able to make an indelible mark in the audience’s mind, right from brand awareness to brand recall. But how? Well, of course, the answer can be something else other than social media itself. The key to effective brand awareness is successful social media marketing through social media advertising, posts, and, most essentially, social media storytelling. 

So you might be thinking that we started the section with stories and ended on social media. Does that make sense? Yes, it would if we say that business owners and marketers extensively use social media platforms to tell their brand story, just like we have learned above how Dove leveraged YouTube for storytelling. And this is what we will be talking about at length today: how can you effectively use social media for storytelling? What would be a winning social media strategy for storytelling, and what are the 10 best ways to do that? But before that, let’s briefly know what is social media storytelling and why businesses are using social media or striving to make a good social media strategy for storytelling.

What Is Meant By Social Media Storytelling?

Okay, so we didn’t segment it purposely! It’s just that in the past few years, there's been a significant shift in how our audiences engage with content. The storytelling landscape has undergone transformations, altering the traditional way stories were told. The dynamics of how individuals connect with personal and brand stories have evolved considerably. This is why social media storytelling came into the picture for effective social media marketing.

To put it simply, social media storytelling involves the art of sharing stories across various social media platforms, typically created and strategized by a company, organization, or personal brand, with the aim of captivating and engaging a specific segment of the audience. These social media stories aren't confined to the realm of fiction. They can revolve around you, your brands, your team, your customers, or any subject that resonates with and is relatable to your social media target audience

A good social media marketing agency or SMMA executes extensive research to find out which social media platform has the most density of your target audience and curate stories accordingly. As a result, you can always team up with a good social media agency to get your work done effectively. 

Suppose, for instance, an individual posts a status update detailing a personal or family milestone; that's social media storytelling! Similarly, a brand's explainer video illustrating how a product contributed to enhancing a customer's lifestyle or benefiting society at large is also an example of social media storytelling. Again, it is the same thing to say: if executed with a thoughtful social media strategy and maintained consistently in the best-suited social media platforms, such stories have the potential to boost sales swiftly. Let’s know more about it in the following sections.

Storytelling On Social Media Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Stories play a pivotal role in shaping the personality of brands and establishing a seamless connection with customers, particularly in the vast realm of social media. The question then arises: How can we weave compelling stories on social media, the ultimate platform for trend identifiers? Despite the constraints imposed by certain social media platforms, is there room for storytellers to flourish? Rest assured!

Here are some strategies to evolve into an authentic storyteller on the three major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

How To Do Storytelling on Facebook, Aka Meta?

Given that Facebook doesn't impose restrictions on the word count for a post, you have the liberty to craft an extensive and detailed story. Rather than opting for brevity or just highlighting key points, the preference leans toward longer posts on Facebook. You can use this social media strategy in the case of Facebook storytelling for social media marketing.

This approach proves effective when your goal is to engage audiences with captivating stories, as opposed to merely promoting a new product or directing traffic to another website. Facebook can also be leveraged to tell stories through images in the timeline, cover photo section, etc. See this example of how McDonald’s used a subtle Facebook storytelling technique:

How To Do Storytelling on Facebook, Aka Meta?

McDonald's

McDonald's is showcasing a snapshot of a McDonald's store following the sale of over 1 million hamburgers. In their timeline, there's a monochrome depiction of the inaugural McDonald's store from the 1940s, along with noteworthy milestones such as Ray Kroc's inaugural restaurant in the 1950s, where hamburgers were priced at a mere 15 cents each! Pretty fascinating, isn't it? A great social media strategy indeed for compelling storytelling. 

Pro tip:

  •  Design an appealing cover image that encapsulates the essence of your brand.
  • Share unique stories about your brand, such as its founding story, pivotal product launches, acquisitions, or notable achievements.
  • Showcase intriguing visuals that complement your milestones.

How To Tell Stories On Instagram

As per the Meta stat, there are over 200 million businesses on this platform and 90% of users follow a business. The platform of Instagram is mainly used for visual storytelling, a compelling form of social media advertising. You can use Instagram storytelling by blending captivating visuals with compelling stories. Craft a visually stunning and cohesive feed that echoes your brand's identity. Share the human side of your journey, whether it's behind-the-scenes glimpses, milestones, or personal anecdotes. Leverage features like Stories and Reels for dynamic storytelling. Keep it authentic, and engage with your audience through polls, questions, and interactive elements. Embrace the power of hashtags and concise captions to enhance discoverability and resonance. Get help from a promising SMMA to explore more opportunities.

Draw inspiration from the Instagram post below by Harvard Business Review. It tells an engaging story by offering a burn-out checklist that users can take a screenshot of and mark off. It then provides tips on what to do if they check any of the boxes. In case users are willing to learn in detail, they also included a swipe-up to a long-form article on their website.

How To Tell Stories On Instagram

Pro Tip:

  •  Use a simple and relatable tone to connect with a younger audience on Instagram.
  •   Boost engagement with polls and checklists, encouraging deeper thought and exploration.
  • Apply a similar approach, like using polls for education, in any industry for effective and engaging content.

Storytelling On Twitter

Twitter is another enticing storytelling platform that brands can leverage. Crafting an out-of-the-box hashtag for your brand would indeed be a smart move. This enables you to share your brand story and gather community stories along with that making your social media strategy for marketing successfully work. The hashtag doesn't need to be constantly trending as long as your followers grasp its purpose and incorporate it into their tweets. Utilize hashtags strategically in your social media marketing by planning effectively.

Let’s decode the style Netflix implemented for storytelling on Twitter. Netflix's Twitter strategy incorporated a multi-account approach. With dialogues between accounts like "Netflix Is A Joke" and dedicated ones for original content, they amplify storytelling effects. Netflix strategically shares tidbits, sparking curiosity and discussions to drive subscriptions. Embracing Twitter's engagement stats, they utilize photo montages, offering a visual storytelling social media strategy that stands out. Unveil your own unique story with multiple images, mirroring Netflix's storytelling prowess. Check out this example below:

Storytelling On Twitter

Pro Tip:

  • Tweetstorm it! Share a series of mini-essays in numbered tweets for a compelling story.
  • Curate UGC. Turn customers into storytellers by encouraging them to share reviews and thoughts.
  •   Create story collections with strategic hashtags for later use in blogs or videos.
  •  Create Twitter Moments. Stitch tweets into slideshows for an engaging, interactive way to share your brand story.

10 Ways Of Social Media Storytelling

Hence, by now it must be clear to you how brands and businesses leverage social media platforms for storytelling. Now, here’s the goldmine for you. We have jotted down 10 best ways that you can implement to get the best results through social media storytelling in the most engaging ways. Let’s dive in:

1. Create Indelible Stories Through Social Media Story Arcs

While using social media for storytelling, we can enjoy endless possibilities that surpass traditional boundaries. However, we do have some constraints, like the character count, but that is compensated by the arsenal of tools available online that empower our storytelling creativity. Each post we create tells our brand story, which is why you must always consider the bigger picture before creating the social media strategy for storytelling.  Think about your business goals for the upcoming 5 years, your target audiences, and other crucial factors. 

You can leverage the concept of a ‘story arc,’ which pretty much depicts a journey with a start, middle, and conclusion through a post. This is more powerful than isolated pieces. This approach remarkably engages in the short term as well as harnesses long-lasting connections. This ultimately helps align with long-term goals and your one-of-a-kind value proposition. You can always team up and discuss with a good social media marketing agency to create the best story arcs.

Example- The #Detox YourFeed campaign by Dove implemented this technique to make people aware of the harm of toxic beauty advice. This post helped to carry forward the message as audiences kept sharing with the hashtag.

Create Indelible Stories Through Social Media Story Arcs

2. Start Your Storytelling Right From The Caption

Contrary to the belief that social media centers solely on visuals, captions play a pivotal role. They offer context, infuse personality, and spur followers into action. Crafting captivating long-form captions goes beyond aesthetics; it's a chance for your audience to delve into your story, brand, and mission. When paired with imagery, it weaves a comprehensive narrative. Even a good SMMA would emphasize on creating descriptive captivating captions.

A prime example is Airbnb, which skillfully combines stunning visuals with lively captions detailing hosts and the allure of each location. This harmonious blend demonstrates the potent impact of narrative-rich captions in enhancing your social media presence.

Create Indelible Stories Through Social Media Story Arcs

3. Leverage User-Generated Content

Highlighting user-generated content amplifies the authentic voice of your community, fostering trust and connection. By showcasing content created by your users, whether it's reviews, testimonials, or creative submissions, you leverage the power of real experiences. This not only adds credibility to your brand but also encourages others to contribute, building a dynamic and engaged community. Social media platforms, with several features such as reposting and sharing, provide excellent opportunities to spotlight user-generated content. Embrace this social media marketing strategy to transform your audience into active contributors and advocates, creating a vibrant and inclusive digital space with engaging content for your brand. Team up with a promising Social Media Marketing Agency or SMMA to get the best out of User Generated Content.

Again, see this classic example of a recent Airbnb post where it used user-generated Content to raise awareness to help the Turkey earthquake victims.

 Leverage User-Generated Content

4. Go for visual storytelling for greater impact

If you look at the advertising landscape, particularly online, then it’s more about showing your story than just telling it. One of the approaches is to make appealing videos, photos, and infographics accompanied by short but catchy phrases that immediately tell what you are about. In today’s digital landscape of social media that involves a short attention span, you have few seconds to engage your audience. Hence, a social media strategy adopting eye-catching content will, therefore, enable you to make your presentation of what you need to convey to the masses more captivating, exciting, and memorable. A good social media advertising agency can help you get the desired results. 

See this classic example by Nike to understand more about visual storytelling.

5. The Subtle Use Of Influencers For Storytelling

Incorporating the best-suited influencers for storytelling introduces a subtle yet influential dimension to your brand story. Through their established trust with followers, influencers weave your brand into real-life experiences, fostering a sense of connection. These social media tastemakers seamlessly integrate your products or services into their authentic content, lending credibility and relatability. This strategic storytelling substantially expands your reach and gives a human voice to your brand, leveraging the influencer's personal touch to convey your story effectively and resonantly. A great idea would be to find a social media marketing agency that has tie-ups with famous influencers.

SmarTrike, a children's brand, taps into mom influencers for marketing. Partnering with three influencers, including Giuliana Rancic, they showcased a SmarTrike baby stroller in a promotional post.

The Subtle Use Of Influencers For Storytelling

6. Tell Your Own Brand Story

Share your story authentically and honestly. Let it out through any medium: blogs, videos, and even podcasts. You can do it yourself or team up with a good SMMA to create the best content. Let out anything that makes your brand different. People love the story that brought you here from the very beginning to what you are at present. Once you are authentic and honest, it will drive results. People can smell what’s fake. Let your humanity shine, share your mistakes, and give hints to what goes on backstage. Openness fosters customer love.

In this timeless example, Disney showcases a compilation of its characters in the cover image. In the timeline, they've posted about the debut of Disney movies, the multiplane camera, and a grayscale photo of founders Walt and Roy Disney from 1923. Take a look!

 Tell Your Own Brand Story

 Tell Your Own Brand Story

7. Share Memorable Moments As Posts With Your Audience

You have no idea about the power of unforgettable moments. Research highlights that emotionally linked memories are more enduring, so capitalize on this insight. Pair up with a promising socia media agency to come up with a perfect social media strategy. Uncover those unique brand experiences that linger in memory and narrate them through your social media channels. Let your audience delve into the distinct stories that define your brand's journey.

See the post by Chobani:

Share Memorable Moments As Posts With Your Audience

 

8. Championing Voices: Elevate Customers and Team Members

Shine the spotlights on your customers and personnel. They are an indispensable part of your story and, therefore, provide you with a stage on which to advertise your brand. Share customer stories, emphasize employee contributions, and repost people’s comments and staff posts on your social sites. A good social media agency can help you on how to do it the right way, in the right platform and in the right time for optimum impact.

9. Create A Meaningful Post With A Meaningful Storyline

Give your story real meaning. It's not just about being interesting enough for a "like." What really gets people involved and taking action is a story that matters to them.

When your story means something to your audience, it stirs their emotions and builds a strong connection with your brand. So, before you create your story, figure out what really matters to the people you're talking to. 

As an example, you can refer to the Dove campaign that has been given at the start of this blog. The #real beauty sketches campaign is the perfect example of a meaningful story that engages with the audience.

10. Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs While Crafting Your Story For Maximum Engagement

Last but never the least element of any social media strategy is implementing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in crafting social media stories involves understanding and addressing fundamental human needs at different levels. This concept takes your social media story to the next level, thus forming a winning social media marketing strategy. Let’s understand this in detail in the next section.

Does Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs and Social Media storytelling go hand in hand

 Maslow’s Hierarchy

The psychological theory of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs classifies human needs into a pyramid shape. It starts with what is known as physiological needs, including food and a safe living environment. After that comes the middle layers that encompass social needs such as belongingness and self-esteem, while the tip involves self-actualization. This model says people seek to satisfy lower-level wants before proceeding to higher-level ones.

Understanding Maslow’s hierarchy helps marketers craft appealing social media stories for social media marketing, to which the target audiences can feel a sense of connection.  Brands can craft stories as per the needs of their target audiences. For example, Brands offering high-end products like Mercedes Benz can craft stories based on the self-esteem needs section of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid, i.e., It brings up a more effective and significant storytelling experience that directly responds to those needs.

See this commercial by Nike that has crafted its story as per human’s self-esteem needs in Maslow’s pyramid. This story complements Nike’s user persona, who are young, ambitious, and over-achievers:

FAQs

1. How often should I post stories on social media?

The frequency of posting depends on your audience and the nature of your content. Consistency is important, but quality should never be compromised. Find a balance that works for your brand and keeps your audience engaged.

2. Can small businesses benefit from social media storytelling?

Absolutely. Social media storytelling allows small businesses to connect with their audience on a personal level, humanizing their brand. It's a powerful tool for building relationships and establishing brand identity.

3. Should I focus on a specific social media platform for storytelling?

It's advisable to tailor your storytelling approach to each platform's unique features. However, having a consistent narrative across multiple platforms can reinforce your brand identity and reach a broader audience. You can always team up with a promising social media agency like JanBask to get desired results. 

4. How do I measure the success of my social media storytelling efforts?

Use analytics tools to track metrics such as engagement, reach, and conversions. These insights will help you understand the effectiveness of your storytelling strategy and guide adjustments for improvement. A promising social media agency like JanBask can be your great analytics partner.

5. Is there such a thing as oversharing in social media storytelling?

Yes, oversharing can lead to audience fatigue. Focus on quality over quantity, ensuring that each story adds value and maintains authenticity. Pay attention to audience feedback to strike the right balance.

Conclusion

So this is all about storytelling, rather should be said as social media storytelling for social media marketing. We have endeavored to explain most of the aspects of social media storytelling. We even delved into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and how you would create a story that’s highly relevant to your target audience. Once you are done reading this blog, start getting your hands dirty and create your masterpiece on the best-suited social media platforms that would gain you optimum engagement and visibility of your brand. Get started. Need more advice? Or need an experienced social media marketing agency by your side? Get in touch with us by dropping us a query or simply giving us a call. The Janbask team will reach out to you in no time. We will always have your back and help you with results driven social media marketing strategies.

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