One of the biggest marketing objectives for a business is to grab the attention of their audience and get them engaged. Possibly the most oft-discussed way to accomplish this is to tell stories on social media. Stories help to put a face on your business and make them more personable, thus creating a connection between business and consumer. But what is the most effective way to tell stories on social media? Can it even be truly done?
The thing is, we live in a society that wants quick information, now. Telling a story ramps up the word count as you’re giving more than just the bare-basic facts and I’m often the first person to tell people to stick to the ‘need to know’ information over the ‘nice to know’ stuff when it comes to something like a presentation. On social media, I do feel a little differently and can see the benefit of telling a story, but only when it is done correctly.
What I want to do now is share with you my experiences and thoughts on a few different methods on how to tell stories on social media in order to give you some ideas on how you can utilise this tactic to get your audience engaged.
Here we go…
Ways To Tell Stories on Social Media
Writing Your Whole Story in a Single Post or String of Posts
I wanted to start with the most basic way to tell stories on social media: that is to just lay it all out in an exposed manner as a Facebook status update, or series of Twitter posts. This is actually an interesting idea and can work for 2 reasons.
Firstly, Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm looks at how much people interact with your posts when deciding how much they’re going to expose it on people’s News Feeds. The See More button that you get with longer posts actually counts as an interaction. If you want people to click that button, your writing had better be pretty darn amazing. A well-told and captivating story can easily suck people in and want them to keep reading and the more people click that button, the more Facebook will expose your post (and subsequent posts) to people. I fully recommend reading the blogs of young influencers who write in a very conversational manner. The idea of telling a story is to make your company seem more personable. You can’t get much more personable than if the reader thinks they’re in a conversation with you.
I could easily write a whole other article on writing tips (which I intend to do one day), but the biggest thing I can tell you now is this: Stephen King, one of the greatest writers to have ever lived, is able to get his readers excited by using short sentences. When we’re excited and are telling people about our new job or new baby, we naturally use shorter sentences.
The second thing is the honesty involved with just baring all in text form. I am a big believer in the power of engaging people emotionally in marketing and how aiming for people’s emotional goals can drive actions, whether it be to buy something, share something or simply read more. Honesty sparks emotion and people can feel that they understand you. If you’re trying to share a sad story about how you made it from nothing to success with your company, share an image of when you first started out to accompany your text. That’ll tug on people’s heartstrings, for sure!
Use Multiple Photos in an Album to Tell the Story
They say a photo speaks 1,000 words, so therefore 100 photos should speak 100,000 words?
This is probably the least-used method for storytelling that I came across, which is a real shame because I personally really like it. The basic point of a platform like Instagram is to show people your story through images as people look through your profile. The thing is, Instagram also has a feature where you can upload up to 10 images for a single post. With Facebook, you can upload pretty much any number you want. What this means is that you can show people a physical transformation as your story progressed, whether it be office refurbishments, weight loss or staff recruitment.
One thing to note is that Facebook will re-share the whole album in people’s News Feed whenever you add a new photo to it, which is great for extending your reach just that little bit further and if you’re consistently adding to your story, people will keep checking back to see how you’ve progressed. Think beyond just taking photos yourself, as you’re only providing a single angle. Instead, think about your staff and have them take photos, too. This can be during company socials, events and general office antics (mini golf anybody?).
Produce a Video
Images create more engagement than text, but videos produce even more engagement than text. I may have just opened a can of worms here and people could just close the article before reading further. Before jumping the gun and creating any kind of video content, it’s best to think about what type of video you should be making.
It can be worth letting your customers tell their own stories, rather than yours, through video testimonials. Engagement for video content generally drops off after 2-minutes, but it can be worth creating a long video if you really feel that your story is powerful enough. In fact, Facebook allows up to 120 minutes for a single video. If you’re considering a Live Video, I found out first-hand that the limit on Facebook is 4-hours.
I could easily write a whole article on video content, but that’s for another day. If you’re really interested in researching more on telling stories through the medium of video, take a look at the Bright Light Film blog.
With PPC advertising, one of the biggest traps I see businesses falling into is having what I call a ‘static campaign’. What I mean by this is where the campaign is based upon giving a single message in their adverts to either promote an offer or increase brand awareness. There are variations on the message in order to generate the best results possible, but what if the campaign moved?
The idea is to have the targeted ads changing in a narrative sequence in order to share your story over a period of time. In fact, a fashion website named Refinery29 tested this theory in collaboration with Facebook and Adaptly. The results of the sequential messaging ended up showing that telling a story through ads significantly improved the conversion rate.
Over To You
Telling a story on social media is all about creativity. You can be very open and honest by telling it all through a written post, but some audiences can appreciate a more unique means of finding out about you. The important thing to remember is that people do genuinely want to know who you are and what your business stands for.
Now go forth and tell stories on social media!