Every day, businesses post millions of updates on social media, whether it’s in the form of a short tweet, a link to a blog post, or some photos from the latest teambuilding session. But how many of these updates tell a story?
Customers are overwhelmed by promotional brand messages on a daily basis. On TV, on the radio, on billboards, and, more recently, on social media. Using storytelling in your branding strategy is one of the best ways to build a real connection with your audience, and show that your company is different from all the other ones out there. Used right, social media storytelling is a powerful tool that can consolidate your reputation and make an impact.
So how can you use it?
The power of visuals
As humans, we are visual learners. According to an MIT study, the human brain can process entire images in as little as 13 milliseconds and 65% of people remember images better than text. These statistics seem to go hand in hand with social media, which is made up of two thirds visual content.
Social media users favor visual-centric updates too. In fact:
- posts that include photos or graphics get 94% more views than those without images
- tweets with images get 150% more retweets.
- according to Adobe, images are the top factor marketers should consider when producing social media content.
Use these five types of visuals content to step up your storytelling game on social media:
They say that an image is worth a thousand words and, in the case of marketing, this really is true. Although text is important when telling your brand’s story, images are more impactful and stick longer in the mind of your followers. There are many creative ways that you can use images on social media, from creating an entire photo album to using carefully designed grid layouts on Instagram, but, no matter your strategy, it’s important to use only meaningful images that tell a story. Pick photos that resonate with your brand message and that followers can relate to. Stay away from low-quality stock images, because they’re generic and show you don’t care about details.
You don’t have to spend thousands on professional photography services to make an impact. The most successful advertising campaigns use simple, but strong imagery to tell a story.
When hearing about screenshots, most marketers imagine that these types of visuals are only recommended for tutorials or other informative articles, but screenshots also have incredible marketing potential. Think of a screenshot as a mini-presentation of your product in action. You can use them to show before and after results or to show the process of creating one of your products. For example, if you’re a video production company, you can post a few screenshots that show all the meticulous work that goes into making a short corporate video.
Tip: screenshots work best when accompanied by text. The viewer can be a bit confused as to what the screenshot depicts, so use some text to introduce them to the topic.
Video content is becoming one of the most popular marketing strategies. Apart from boosting conversion rates by 80% and reducing bounce rates, video is also a beautiful storytelling tool. There are many types of video to choose from:
- Playful cartoon-animated videos
- State of the art 3D interactive videos
- Whiteboard videos
- Explainer videos
- Realistic, documentary-style videos
- Drone footage
Depending on your brand’s visual identity, you can choose one of these types and use it consistently across all your social media channels to engage with your audience. For example, you can create a series of similar videos that feature the same characters and voiceover actors to get your viewers familiar with your style.
Take inspiration from the big brands to create a consistent storytelling strategy using videos: for example, M&M, Cheetos, and Duracell have been using the same characters over the years, and this has helped them create a strong connection with their audience.
Tip: use Snapchat and Insta Stories to post spontaneous videos and interact with followers.
How words can boost your brand
Visuals play an important part in your social media storytelling strategy, but you can’t build an effective campaign based on images alone. Text remains the most important element in storytelling and if you use it right, you’ll achieve win more than sales: your client’s hearts.
Excellent text storytelling begins at a structural level, so use these resources to make sure your copy is as compelling as possible:
- WordStream Blog: a popular copywriting resource that has many articles on how to create high-quality marketing content.
- Supreme Dissertations: a writing community where you can get feedback from professionals.
- Thesaurus: excellent if you want to find synonyms, learn new words, and improve your style.
- GrabMyEssays: a great source for research papers if you need to back up your social media posts with facts.
- Hot Essay Service: if your team is too busy or you don’t have an in-house writer, they can write your copy for you.
Clever ways to use text for storytelling
When you use text as a storytelling method on social media, you shouldn’t complicate things by abusing industry jargon or buzzwords. As fancy as they might sound, they fail to spark emotion and are often just fluff that doesn’t provide value in any way.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel either. Simplicity goes a long way, but the key is saying something in a way that hasn’t been done before and having meaning behind your message. Avoid the overused tropes in corporate talk, like “we want to make the world a better place”, or “we’re local, mobile, social”. Customers have seen them a thousand times before. Your business is unique. Let that show through your writing:
- Write a unique About page. Don’t just stick to the classic About page template that limits your creativity (who we are, our mission, etc). Talk to a web designer to create a fun layout for the page, choose a bold font from 1001 Fonts and use Unsplash for high-quality royalty-free images. Once the page is ready, translate it into multiple languages so it can reach a wider audience, but don’t forget to use a service like Is Accurate to make sure the translator is professional. You don’t want your page to include any inappropriate cultural references!
- Make it personal. Clients are likelier to trust brands that seem human and approachable. Don’t write your story like a Wikipedia page, just for the sake of being informative. A business is made up of actual people, not faceless workers. Write in the first person, talk about what inspired you to create a certain product and let your clients know you better.
- Be humorous. Professionalism and humor don’t have to exclude one another. On social media, people already expect brands to be more informal compared to their official websites. Make a pun from time to time, use emojis, share funny stories. That doesn’t make you less professional. On the contrary, it shows followers that your company is made up of real people.
Both text and visuals can tell a story, but together, they offer unlimited possibilities. Encourage your writing department to collaborate with designers and use all the tools at their disposal to take brand storytelling to a whole new level.