“You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it.” – Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale.

We may not realize it, but stories are all around us. Too often, we assume stories are confined to books or movies. But if you look around, they’re everywhere. Take a moment to think about the last time you were captivated by a tale. Were you on the phone with a friend? Perhaps you were reading a blog post like this one?

The story grabbed your attention, but more than that, it captured your emotions and your mind. It had full attention despite everything else going on around you. 

Your marketing and business are filled with stories that have this power. Social media is the platform to tell them.
My ability to tell a better story than my competitors became the reason we had a successful company.”  -Gray Vaynerchuk
Digital marketing, every day sets a new target. Every goal needs full attention and best performance to score success. Back to Social Media Marketing World 2018’s opening keynote, by Michael Stelzner
“Storytelling is the future of marketing, not comfortable on camera? Work with influencer”
Storytelling & marketing go hand in hand. This is the time that demands your story to be the best, to be genuine and to be compelling for a successful hit.

Remember “Just do it” and “Equality.”

Remember “Just do it” and “Equality” two successful and impressive campaigns by NIKE?

Those campaigns weren’t just about enticing sneakers. Or the sexy model revealing his ultra worked quadriceps, or running in the ground and won. No! But the strong and admirable statement for being the mark of positive social change. The offered something more to today’s athletes than a pair of sneakers.
Adidas’ “Impossible is Nothing” series is another example here. It was one of the most lucrative storytelling of social media campaigns. The campaign didn’t get the popularity because of the charming personalities or appealing athletes as their models. It was the story and the content, that was quality enough to appeal to the audience. The brand impregnated in our memory for years.

What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is not about long & anonymous tales about the company. It has now become particular tales about the brand. About the general population working in the company and about the clients.
Storytelling is an
“ART of giving shape and meaning to a piece of information that’s dull and boring.”
It is capable of effecting a massive audience or a bigger crowd in a positive dimension.
Your story needs to stimulate stable emotions and move the imagination. There has to be a strong association between the teller and the audience.
In digital marketing, storytelling enables us to build personality and create a connection with consumers. It is also one of the most powerful tools of persuasion, that is, to combine an idea with emotion, in advertising. As stated by Christian Salmon in his book,
“Storytelling is what allows brands to ‘un-think-themselves,’  so that they can speak and captivate.”
But on social media, the stakes are higher. When done right, it could go viral and make your brand a household name. Storytelling is no longer limited to TV and print spaces. Startups and small businesses can get in the business too.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, give people a reason not to forget you.” – Richard Branson.
Related Article: 3 Storytelling Tips That Can Make You a Better Digital Marketer

Why Do We Need StoryTelling?

  • Memorability
  • Persuasiveness
  • Engagement
Everyone online is looking for SOMETHING. They might not know what it is yet. These three points sum up as reasons for incorporating storytelling into your digital marketing efforts. But a perfect answer to a thousand whys is here.
A long-lasting relationship and quality impression of your brand have more worth than to be engaged with audiences and sale.

Storytelling works great because:

  • Its “cause and effect” narrative structure is as our brain uses to configure thoughts. This formula is present in familiar day-to-day dialogues between lifelong friends and colleagues. For example, telling them what happened at work, about the date you went on, giving an explanation, etc.
  • When stories are well narrated, and characters are authentic, it retains in our mind.
  • The emotional process in which we get involved through storytelling gets rid of the skepticism.
  • The traditional way of  “advertising” isn’t working at its best these days. It’s getting challenging to get someone to stop on the street to look at a graph. We skip commercials on TV, close advertisement windows on a web page. Storytelling, yet, will continue to be reliable because it’s part of the intrinsic nature of human life.
  • “People don’t buy products, but rather the stories that these products represent. Nor do they buy brands, but rather the myths and archetypes that these brands symbolize.” Quote from the book “Storytelling: The story making machine and formatting minds.”

How Does It Effect on People to be “Yours?”

The answer is so simple. When you are genuine with the struggles and own a motive behind the success, it’s easy to make people ‘yours’ then. And create a strong impression to provoke their loyalty.
Your brand story is the image and personality of your business. Your feed is like an editorial look at your brand. It’s important to learn how to SHOW and not just TELL your story. Click To Tweet

Ford’s “The Risk of Real” Campaign

A throwback to Ford’s “The Risk of Real” storytelling campaign. It respects the story. It does not try to ‘push’ Ford to the forefront of the story; the cars appear in the narrative. The family is populated by round characters, not marketing stereotypes. Hence, in a time of building the brand persona to represent the archetypes of our consumers. Ford has developed characters that are resolutely human.’ This provokes an emotional reaction in their audience.
Either there are brands like Ford, Nike, Adidas, Starbucks, eBay, BMW or top social media influencers, storytelling has always been famous for fruitful marketing.

How Can Storytelling Be Effective and Precise?

Triggering at the right time is critical.

According to research, people can process visual information 60,000 times faster. 30% of our brains is taken up by neurons devoted to visual processing. 8% dedicated to touch and only 3% dedicated to hearing.
Using the right emotions at the right time can make your story more effective. For example, the study shows that our brain is always looking for answers. Incorporate “Why” in your story & explain it. 
While someone is listening or watching your story, you have the control to activate different senses of your audience’s mind. Take a step forward & use that power effectively. Emotion is the best seller. Use it wisely so that your audience thinks/does according to your content. Engage your audience with your storyline. Make them curious. Make your readers stay glued with your story.

Remember K.I.S.S

“Keep It Simple, Stupid.” that might sound rude, but here’s an example for you to get the right idea.  Ever heard of Stephen Covey’s book  “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”? It became an immediate bestseller, why? Because we all want the easiest way to achieve our goals. No one will buy a book titled “999 Habits To Be Successful.” Seven sounds much simpler.  

Sharing stories about your products, employees, and loyal users via social media channels give your brand voice and identity. It provides your users with what they care about. The history of your brand, the people behind it, and its promises and values. These are not tips to create compelling storytelling but just a few technical guts and insights you must know dive into it.
“The art of branding requires creating something contagious that infects people with enthusiasm, making it easy for them to try it, asking them for help in spreading the word, and building the community around it.” -The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki.

The Power of Storytelling

The power of telling your audience a story is a technique that must not be overlooked. When done correctly with strategic planning – knowing who your audience is, where they are and what story they want to know it will provide great engagement with your content and brand.
“Whatever you are trying to sell, storytelling is the most powerful thing you can do. Most of the best business ideas come from personal experiences.”  (from Jack Preston’s blog post about Virgin Media Pioneers’ Pitch to Rich competition)

Add soundless video content in your marketing strategy.

Don’t limit yourselves to just static images – they also boast an array of videos. Facebook and Instagram video platforms now auto-play on users’ feeds, meaning more videos are being viewed without sound. Well firstly, have a video that doesn’t NEED sound to tell your story or engage your audience. One trend to aid this tactic is an interactive 360 video. Get your audience to interact with your content and discover for themselves if you can’t portray that message without sound.
Even with Instagram, don’t feel shy about giving the story of the photograph. A caption nurtures the picture. Captions are always full of detail and rich with every description of the subject of the image. The content gives the reason for the photograph to be there. Putting all these features together (visuals, hook, and story) creates awe.

Make Inspiration to be a “WOW” in the era

Make your content attractive as much as it can be. Being bold, original and providing images from an array. Keep the content fresh and exciting, by maintaining a purpose in mind.
National Geographic is known for producing high quality, colorful and unique visual content. This is the first step in getting users to stop scrolling. The ‘wow’ element of the image makes the user stop and wonder where/who it is. Wanting more information and letting them escape from their current location and situation. Even Pinterest is a great platform to create visual boards. Visuals are great, but not enough.
Nadine Heggie, VP of Brand Partnership, shared her thoughts on NatGeo’s key to success:
“Staying true to your brand, being timely with content, using the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies to tell stories”

The First Hook Should Be Enough To Grab The ‘Heart.’

There are first line sentences that can grip your audience. Interesting, unusual, shocking, or emotional.
Viral content is consumed because it meets these human emotional needs. Audience look at the stunning visuals that are accompanied by three lines of a caption. Make it clear yet ambitious enough to motivate the viewer to watch until the end or read until the end.
If the visual and the opening caption portrays wow and wonder, users are more likely to engage with the content. This is why it is interesting – they want to know more. Social users are compelled to click ‘more’ to immerse themselves in the full story as a form of escape. Make it relatable to your brand, not just being emotional or motivational is enough here. Choose the subject and relate it to the purpose you are doing marketing for.

Related Article: Digital Marketing Strategies, that Leverages You as a Brand.

Conclusion:

Storytelling is a powerful tool and one that should entirely be used in marketing and brand growth. Your marketing stories should have this power, and social media is the platform to tell them. Still, it can be a challenge for content marketers to align their content strategies with social media trends. As they’re continually evolving.
As marketers race to use the latest features, they often turn to promotional strategy, rather than storytelling. All you need is to be clear and genuine with it and find the best way to deliver it to the audience from format to channel everything.
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About Author

Shahrukh is leading the digital marketing team at Social Champ. He is a student of Marketing by a reputable educational institution currently enrolled in MBA. He is experienced in the field of Digital Marketing grabbing most of his experience in Search Engine Optimization. He loves to travel and can be found on IG @shahrukhrashid & on Twitter @shahrukhrashid_ or his email is shahrukh@socialchamp.io