Brand Storytelling: Using Instagram images to tell your story

10th March 2021

Who doesn’t love a good story? The stories that we read and hear as children often stick with us long into adulthood – from Cinderella and Red Riding Hood to the tales of Bahloo the moon. Similarly, in marketing, brand storytelling is what makes brands memorable. It’s the essence of a brand’s identity and the factor that differentiates it from other companies. 

In our previous post, we talked about the impact of brand storytelling on social media and how visuals can help. When you’re marketing on platforms like Instagram (which focuses on visual content), visuals are especially important to tell your brand story. 

That’s why Instagram has introduced impressive features like Stories and Reels for users to tell their stories, visually. With that said, not everyone may be comfortable using these features yet, especially if you’re new to marketing on the platform.

But worry not, because you can still tell great stories about your brand through images in the Feed. Here are a few ways to pull this off:

1: Post photos to Instagram that evoke emotion about your brand storytelling

Emotion has a strong influence on how we pay attention and even motivates our action and behaviour. So if we see a post on social media that triggers an emotion, we’re likely to take a pause and pay closer attention to it. And we might even decide to take an action such as liking the post, sharing it, or commenting on it.

In line with this, if you want to tell a compelling story through your Instagram images, you need photos that can evoke a certain emotion. Create images that will make people miss a certain feeling, realise how frustrating a certain pain point is, anticipate the relief of solving a certain problem, and so on.

The idea is to evoke emotions that will make people pay closer attention to your photos and buy into the story that you’re telling.

Charity Water, for example, regularly posts photos featuring smiling people to evoke emotions of happiness and fulfilment. This helps tell the story of how the organization and its donors have had a positive impact on the lives of people in developing countries.

Charity Water uses positive emotions in its brand storytelling on Instagram.

2: Use relatable and funny images in your brand storytelling

One of the main goals of telling your brand story is to get people to relate to you. And the best way to do that is by acknowledging and embracing imperfections and struggles because no one is perfect. If you try to portray “perfection” through your Instagram Feed, you might have a hard time relating to your target audience.

That’s why funny and relatable images can be a critical part of your Instagram visual storytelling. Use images to give a hilarious take on a relatable problem that you and your followers often have to deal with. That way, you’re being relatable but not necessarily negative with your storytelling.

Funny images like this one from Barkbox can be a key part of your brand storytelling.

Memes are a great way to pull this off. Take for instance, how Bark Box regularly shares pet-related memes with hilarious situations that are relatable to pet parents.

3: Dig up images from your brand’s history

Part of your brand’s story is its history. And images on Instagram are a great way to tell that story and give people a better sense of how your brand came to be. Share throwback photos of your founders, your first offices, how your packaging transformed over the years, then and now transformations, and so on.

This also helps people relate better to your brand as it gives them a glimpse into your initial struggles and allows them to follow you on your journey.

Comparing your history can be a fun way of visual storytelling on Instagram.

One excellent example is the post from The Leather Guy’s Instagram Feed showcasing a “then and now” transformation of the company’s warehouse. The brand made use of the trending challenge #howitstartedvshowitsgoing to show followers how they started out vs. where they currently are. And they used the opportunity to thank their customers through the caption.

4: Showcase your employees in spotlight photos

What better way to tell your brand’s story than through people who work on the inside? Employees can be your biggest advocates since they have an inside look of how your brand works. And people love to see the real people who bring your brand to life and give it that “human” factor. Sprout Social even found that 39% of consumers want to see features on company employees.

So make the most of your Instagram to tell stories about the people who make up your brand. Share employee spotlight photos with accompanying stories, regularly. Have them talk about why they love working for you, what makes your brand special, how your company has changed their life, and so on.

Here’s a great example from The Pancake Parlour, where they spotlight one of their employees. Besides talking about the employee’s role, the post also shares a bit of information about her hobbies and her favourite dish at the eatery.

Showcase your employees on Instagram to give people an insight into your brand.

5: Use customer stories sourced from user generated content (UGC)

Customers are another excellent source for your brand’s stories because they’re the ones who actually use your products. Use Instagram images to tell customer stories about how your products have changed their lives, what benefits they’ve enjoyed, which pain points it’s solved, and more. 

And to make it more authentic, consider sharing user-generated content rather than branded images. This adds more authenticity to the story, minus all the editing and the polishing, and increases trust in the product.

Poppy’s Little Treasures is a maker of toys and rattan furniture. The company’s Instagram Feed mostly comprises of photos from customers, showcasing how they’ve used their products to style their homes. 

Poppy's Little Treasures uses images from its customers on Instagram.

Since these images show how the product really looks like inside a house, it boosts buyer confidence. Plus, it gives them some inspiration for how they could use the product, which could increase buying anticipation.

Ready to tell your brand’s story?

These are some of the best ways you can tell your brand’s story through images on Instagram. Don’t forget that you don’t have to restrict your storytelling to a single image. You can make the most of carousels to tell a single story in a coherent sequence. Plus, you can even use the caption space to add more context to the stories you want to tell.

Start posting content and measuring its success with a free trial of Metigy’s social media scheduling calendar and management tool – click here to try it for free.

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