Storytelling Trends, Set To Be Future Success In Social Media Marketing This Year

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Conversion is king and popular has never paid the bills, digital marketing, every day sets a new target abruptly. Every goal needs full attention and best performance to score the 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 is one of the most important social media marketing trends this time that demands to be followed, to be the best, to be genuine and ultimately to be powerful as a major successful hit of your strategy.

Remember “Just do it” and “Equality” two successful and impressive campaigns by NIKE were not just because of enticing sneakers or due to sexy model perfectly sweaty and dishevelled, dribbling the ball and revealing his ultra worked quadriceps, or running flawlessly in the ground and won, No! But it takes a strong and admirable statement for being the potent mark of positive social change while offering something more to today’s athletes than just a pair of sneakers.

Adidas’ “Impossible is Nothing” series is another example here that was one of the most lucrative storytelling social media campaigns that did not peak the success and popularity just because of charming personalities or appealing athletes as their models. It is due to the story behind and the content, that was quality enough to appeal the audience, and the brand impregnated in our memory for years.

Storytelling has been a successful part of many online marketing campaigns and strategies so far including brands like Nike and Fords and influencer marketing having Guy Kawasaki and Steve Jobs. Well, this year storytelling is in the limelight.

What is “Storytelling?”

One has to know about the true meaning, perception, and way of Storytelling in social media marketing before making it part of their campaign strategies. Storytelling is simply an “ART of giving shape and meaning to a piece of information that’s dull and boring and is capable to effect massive audience or a bigger crowd in positive dimension”, or simply we can say “ It’s a content based on experience, facts, and dedication rather than just being quality content and leaves impression on the heart of people.”

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 an emotion, in advertising. As stated by Christian Salmon in his book, “storytelling is what allows brands and products to ‘un-thing-themselves,’  so that they can actually speak and captivate. A fantastic example of the purpose of “unthinking” and captivating, is given by the biggest product of all: The GOOGLE search engine.” But on social media, the stakes are higher. When done right, it could go viral and make your brand a household name. Startups and small businesses can get in on it too because storytelling is no longer limited to exorbitant TV and print spaces.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, give people a reason not to forget you.” – Richard Branson

Thousand Whys, One Storytelling

Basically, why do we need storytelling

  • Memorability
  • Persuasiveness
  • Engagement

These are some points that perfectly can be summed up as reasons for incorporating storytelling into your digital marketing efforts, but a perfect answer to thousand whys is here.

Everyone online is looking for SOMETHING they just might not know what it is yet. Social Champ believes in making a long-lasting relationship and quality impression of your brand has more worth than just to be engaged with audiences and sale. In your branding strategies and online marketing channels, storytelling particularly grabs the fullest of attention and makes a person hundred percent concerned with your brand name. Storytelling works great because:

  • Its “cause and effect ” narrative structure is the same one our brain uses to configure thoughts, everyday speech, and decisions (at least some decisions). This formula is present in common day-to-day dialogues between lifelong friends and colleagues, for example, telling them what happened after work, about meeting a girl, giving an explanation, etc.
  • When stories are well constructed and narrated in storytelling, and its characters are authentic, exciting, and the experiences that are transmitted are rich, real and universal, a strong and powerful product that moves us and makes us feel is generated. Uniting an idea with an emotion, and in turn being able to feel,  allows the concepts, ideas, statistics, dates, colours, and all that comes with the story, to be stuck and retained in our mind.
  • The emotional process in which we get involved in through storytelling gets rid of the scepticism, we’re somehow stripped of the rational considerations that we could have had, if, for example, only the attributes of a product were listed off during the commercial.
  • The old way of  “advertising” works less and less each day. It gets really difficult to get someone to stop on the street to look at a graph, or to not skip a commercial on TV, or to not close an advertisement window on a web page, or find someone who actually wants to open the 200 promotional emails coming into their box. Storytelling, however, will continue to be so strong and effective 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”)

Enchantment transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers… When you enchant people, your goal is not to make money from them or to get them to do what you want, but to fill them with great delight.”  -Guy Kawasaki, in Forbes magazine.

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

The answer is so simple, when you are generous and 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.

A brand 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.

Lets a throwback to Ford’s “The Risk of Real” storytelling campaign, it fundamentally respects the story. It does not try to ‘push’ Ford to the forefront of the story; the cars appear naturally in the narrative. The family is populated by round characters, not marketing stereotypes. Hence, in a time of building the brand persona that was meant to represent archetypes of our consumers. Ford has developed characters that are ‘resolutely human.’ This humanity provokes a deeply emotional reaction in their audience.

Either they are brands like Ford, Nike, Adidas, Starbucks, eBay, BMW or top social media influencers including Guy Kawasaki, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ri chard Branson, and Steve Jobs, storytelling has always been important of fruitful marketing, and a forever green branding. 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 closely, they’re everywhere. Take a moment to think about the last time you were utterly captivated by a tale. Were you on the phone with a friend? Perhaps you were reading a blog post like this one?

That 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. That’s a powerful tool and one that should absolutely be used in marketing and brand growth. Your marketing and your business are filled with stories that have this power, and 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

How Storytelling Should be for being more Effective and Precise

It’s key to trigger at right time. People have the ability to process visual information 60,000 times faster, 30% of our brains are taken up by neurons devoted to visual processing as compared to 8% devoted to touch and only 3% devoted to hearing. Sharing stories about your products, employees, and loyal users via social media channels give your brand voice and identity. Most importantly, it provides your users with what they really care about- the history of your brand, the people behind it, and its promises and values. These are not tips to create effective storytelling but just a few technical guts and insights you must know dive into it.


The power of telling your audience a story is a technique that must not be overlooked, because when done correctly with strategic planning – knowing who your audience is, where they are and what story they want to know – 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)

The story

Soundless video content in your content marketing strategy. Don’t limit yourselves to just static images – they also boast an array of videos. However, Facebook and Instagram video platforms now auto-play on users’ feeds, meaning more and 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 interactive 360 video. Get your audience interacting and playing with your content and discovering for themselves if you can’t portray that message without sound. Similarly, Instagram to get users to stop scrolling, but now you need to keep the user there and reading their full content, we may have seen that great visuals and an interesting, emotional, shocking or interesting first hook sentence is a must on but how? Don’t feel shy about giving you a long and detailed story about the contents of the photograph.

The captions are always full of detail and rich with every description of the subject of the image, their reason for being there / why they are important and descriptions of their surroundings. Putting all these features together (visuals, hook, and story) creates awe. It is believed that the use of subtitles is taking a step back and away from progressive video content like VR and AR but with some integration, the two can work effectively together, without ruining the captivating visuals.

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 of photographers keeps the content fresh and interesting, by keeping a purpose in the mind and this is really important. National Geographic is known for producing high quality, colourful 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 as Pinterest is a great platform to create visual boards, but NatGeo does not provide a large description (or story) to accompany the visuals on Pinterest like they do on Instagram – supporting that the art of storytelling is a rising trend that engages users and keeps them coming back for more. Visuals are great, but simply 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 really 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 that grab your attention and make you wanting more. 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. It is interesting and creates wonder because it is different – many users might never experience something like this and for some, this is as close to it as they will get. 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.


Storytelling is a powerful tool and one that should absolutely be used in marketing and brand growth. Your marketing and your business are filled with stories that 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 constantly evolving. As marketers race to use the latest features, they often turn to promotional strategies, 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.


About Author

Hey, this is Sharmeen Arshad, currently community manager at Social Champ. I'm a student of Mass Communications at the University of Karachi. With lots of background in journalism and writing, I also found myself keen on social media marketing. Well, writing, reading, traveling, music, arts, and literature are my little passions except for professional interests. You're welcomed to contact me at

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