Brand storytelling on social media – how and when to use it

18th June 2020

Everyone loves a good story. How many times did you read a book growing up? 

The thing is, storytelling is everywhere. Stories are the indisputable universal data format for humans and we’re designed to tell them and listen to them. And it’s not just the latest novel or trending TV show that delivers an impactful story. Brands are using storytelling to engage with their audience and promote awareness of their products or services. 

Social media needs no introduction – with 1 billion active users on Instagram, over 2.3 billion active users on Facebook, and 330 million actively using Twitter each month, brands need to create something special to ensure their content resonates with their audience. 

Brand storytelling helps to share the story of your business, the vision behind the brand, and personal stories of those associated with it. Did you know that content that tells a story is 22 times more memorable than factual content?

How does this translate to your followers on social media? Well, it allows you to create a more emotional, meaningful connection with your audience. Triggering an emotional response makes your audience feel involved, and it makes your brand stand out from the crowd. After all, it helps your followers to remember your business. 

So, how can you use storytelling on social media? Let’s delve deeper into how you can grow your following and enhance brand awareness. 

How to implement brand storytelling on your social media accounts

Let’s get real here. Social media is a challenge for many businesses, especially when it comes to developing a unique story that people will resonate with. 

The good news is that once you’ve achieved a consistent brand story, you’ll increase likes, follows, and leads. 

Understand your audience 

By knowing your audience, you’ll be able to speak to them on social media. For instance, if your audience is mainly teenagers, you may want to use teen slang. 

A good way to understand your audience is to use your customer profiles and analytics. A customer profile indicates the demographics, characteristics, and buying patterns of your customers. You can use your customer profile to note their age, gender, hobbies, personal attributes, and more. This information helps you to connect with your ideal buyer as you know who you’re targeting your products or services to.

How can you use a customer profile when storytelling on social media? Take a look at this example from Airbnb. They use inspiring images and descriptive captions to entice travellers to use their service. 

These captions help to spark the audience’s imagination. Followers can visualize visiting each Airbnb as their Instagram feed gives them a glimpse of what it would be like to stay there – far more attractive than a simple, generic description. 

Start a conversation 

If you want to boost your leads or conversions from social media, you need to be talking to your audience. Engaging with your followers makes them feel like part of your brand, as well as increasing your engagement rate and brand awareness. 

Creating a conversation on social media incorporates more than simply asking your audience a question at the end of every post (although that can help). When it comes to storytelling, you need to get a little more creative. 

Some ideas for starting a conversation with your audience include question and answer sessions. Classpass have used this strategy to answer frequently asked questions from their audience:

An alternative way to converse with your audience is to interact with them during a live video session, such as Jo Malone London, who used Facebook Live for a masterclass and answered fan’s questions:

Community content 

Storytelling doesn’t just have to come from you. Using community content makes people feel like part of your brand. Many brands incorporate user generated content onto their social media account. 

Take Colorpop Cosmetics for example. Colorpop often use images created by fans of their brand to promote their products:

Notice how Colorpop use branded hashtags to enhance brand awareness, and encourage their followers to use them.

Be human 

Brand storytelling when giving back to good causes or showing support for them can have a huge impact. TOMS shoes give back $1 for every $3 they make, showcasing their charity partners on social media:

You don’t need to make huge declarations to engage your audience. However, focusing on good causes is likely to grab your followers attention.

Showcasing local community 

Businesses with a strong presence in their local community can share these stories via their social media. This can provide an overview of what your brand stands for. You can use live video, video content, grid posts, and more. 

Target have regularly used social media to highlight their involvement with local communities. Their ‘Give with Target’ campaign helped to raise $5million for local schools across the US:

While Target had a dedicated Facebook app for their campaign, you don’t need to create a huge campaign to share your local community work on social media. 

Storytelling in the form of employee stories can also create an emotional connection with your audience. UK energy company British Gas used this concept for one of their social media campaigns:

In this video, British Gas engineer, Colin, shared his story of saving someone’s life while at work. This type of storytelling enhances trust and authority as the audience are able to view company employees as the hero in the story. 

Go visual 

Visual storytelling, especially when it comes to showcasing new products, helps to build up excitement and anticipation. Even if you’re not planning on promoting a new product, using social media to capture your existing product/s or service can increase brand awareness. 

Take Fiji Water as an example. Their product is simply bottled water, but using visuals of their products on Instagram creates a more luxury lifestyle feel, complementing their branding.

Many brands use bespoke visuals to stand out from the crowd, and enhance their brand identity. Coca-Cola use branded visuals which are colorful and creating, making like and sharing fun:

You don’t need to be a big corporation to think outside the box. Being creative with your visuals can encourage your followers to share your content. 

Brand storytelling encourages a response from your audience

Whether it’s liking, sharing, or interacting with your content, using storytelling can provoke a reaction. 

Both small and large businesses can use a variety of strategies to create trust with an audience, promote products, and improve brand awareness. 

Give varying types of storytelling a try to see which works best for your brand. 

When you want to post your brand stories, take a look at Metigy’s marketing tools that will help you improve conversion rates by 2-3x. 

Have you tried brand storytelling on your social media? What’s your story? Let us know int he comments below. 

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