Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media networks have forever changed the way we share information. However, the roots of social media behavior can be traced back to an activity most learn at a very young age: show and tell.
To effectively harness the power of these mediums, social media managers need to go beyond just sharing content. They must narrate a brand story. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn shouldn’t be considered channels of distribution for advertising, but rather a forum of conversation to express feelings, experiences and values with followers.
If your business is strictly pushing sales messaging through these mediums, your fans and followers will likely remain disaffected. What they truly care about are the promises your brand can make, how your messaging makes them feel, and how consuming or aligning themselves with your brand will position them in society.
Here are few storytelling tips to ensure your social media marketing strategies are a success:
1.) Accept the decline of text and rise of visual content. It’s no longer enough to just use words to tell a story. To capture the attention of an audience, brands must master the art of blending visuals with messaging. When Facebook acquired Instagram for one billion dollars, social media’s shift to visuals (and away from copy-heavy status updates) became clear. Pinterest and Snapchat are also more visually focused and have both gained major traction in the last couple of years.
2.) Incorporate a human element. Storytelling fails when businesses are positioned as the protagonist. A business cannot be a protagonist, because customers don’t care about businesses—they care about people. Without a face, it’s difficult to engage in a story. Every great “business story” told through social media is anchored by a human element: a mascot/spokesperson, loyal customer, proud employee, dedicated volunteer, etc.
3.) Make a collage. Telling a full story through a single image can be tough. Many times, a collage can more effectively communicate a beginning, middle and end. And with apps like PicMonkey and Twitter’s update now allowing four images to be uploaded alongside a tweet, it’s easy to incorporate images into collages!
4.) Highlight your culture and values. With the right marketing channel, it can sometimes be more effective to showcase your brand’s beliefs than to directly push its products and services. Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketch” campaign is a great example of this.
Dove gathered a diverse group of woman and invited an FBI forensic artist to create two sketches of each of the women. The first sketch was created based on self-perception, and the second was based on a description from a stranger. In the end, the audience is shown two sketches that are very different. The women were much more critical and negative about themselves than they were about other women.
By focusing on the company’s commitment to “changing the conversation about female beauty” (instead of a bar of soap), Dove’s marketing campaign became one of the most talked-about marketing success stories of all time. The “Real Beauty Sketch” video has garnered more than 114 million total views through YouTube.
5.) Keep a local focus. Create content focused around local stories and events. For example, if your bake shop is donating cupcakes to a fundraiser in your community, use social media to tell the story. What happened at the event? Who is benefiting from it? Why is it meaningful to your business? People take pride in their community, and seeing your business’ support for it may convert them into customers and/or create some valuable word-of-mouth marketing.
Howard Gossage, a famous ad man and copywriter from the 1960s, once said, “People don’t read advertising, they read what they like.” People like reading and watching stories, and this is even truer in the world of social media! If you’d like help leveraging the power of storytelling in your social media marketing, please contact Baer Performance Marketing today!