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Competition on social media is fierce. Brands are now more than ever fighting to stand out in the crowd, generate engagement and cultivate lasting relationships with their audiences. When it comes to creating an impactful message that truly resonates with your audience, research shows that storytelling is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Storytelling appeals to the emotions of your audience. It helps them connect with your brand on a personal level and connotes a sense of authenticity and transparency. However, when it comes to storytelling on social media, the approach and tactics you use to deliver your message are often times just as important as the message itself.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to create, optimize and amplify messages on social media that resonate with your audience, then this post will provide you with 10 tips in order to do just that.
- Use video.
They say content is king, but when it comes to marketing, video reigns supreme. If you want your marketing efforts to be successful, then you are absolutely going to need to have a video strategy for social media. Why? Because video content consistently garners higher engagement rates than other forms of traditional content. In fact,
found that businesses who use video content in their marketing efforts grow their revenue a whopping 49% faster than businesses who don’t.
Furthermore, according to Animoto, video was
that consumers reported finding out about brands they were previously unaware of. It even beat out recommendations from friends and family members. If you’re looking to make a sizeable impact and truly connect with your audience, then video is the way to go. Hands down.
- Focus on quality, shareable moments.
Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on the quantity of content they generate as opposed to the quality of their content. With countless reports and statistics citing that a heavy, consistent output of social media content is crucial to success, it’s not hard to understand why. After all, how are you supposed to keep up with your heavyweight competitors who are consistently pumping out dozens of posts per day in order to saturate and thus, gain control of the social media space?
The answer is, you can’t.
At least not if you don’t have the means to support a full-time social media staff. However, there are other ways you can get around this. Companies that focus on generating tons of content are naturally going to have to compromise on quality. So, leverage your competitors’ weaknesses. Make high-quality, engaging and thoughtful content that stands out. Focus on being personable and identifying shareable moments that would appeal to a wide audience enough to move them to click the “Share” button. This is how you can truly shine.
- Create a uniform aesthetic.
When it comes to really knocking it out of the ballpark with storytelling on social media, the truth of the matter is that you just can’t neglect aesthetics. When it boils down to it, storytelling is a tactic that should be fitting in seamlessly with your overall marketing strategy and brand as a whole. As a result, it’s important that you create a sense of uniformity or cohesion with the content you generate.
This is also essential to effective branding. There’s numerous approaches you can take to do this. Many businesses choose to add logos to their content in order to tie it to the overall brand. If you’re sharing a lot of content on channels such as instagram, then using a consistent filter or text overlay can help tie everything in from an aesthetic perspective. You want people to see your content and know that it’s yours right off the bat. Uniformity not only helps with branding and identity, it’s visually pleasing and also connotes a sense of professionalism.
4. Engage with your audience.
In the end, everything boils down to the bottom line. While our marketing efforts are inherently self-serving, that doesn’t mean that we should approach communications via social media with an egocentric mindset. Engaging with your audience is key to success and one of the best ways to do this when it comes to visual storytelling is to encourage your audience to participate in some way, shape or form.
Make the experience interactive. People love engaging and research has shown that they’re more likely to do so when they’re encouraged to. If you’re sharing a story about your company, encourage other individuals in the audience to share stories about their experiences with entrepreneurship. If you’re telling a story about a product or service, then encourage feedback from your audience so that you’re able to glean insight from their responses. It’s not enough to create awesome content, sit back and just wait for the engagement to flood in. You have to be proactive. Encourage engagement and cultivate a relationship with your audience in order to truly make an impact.
5. Use the platform specific features.
There are countless resources available to businesses looking towards visual storytelling as a way to generate engagement and cultivate relationships with their audiences. However, no one is saying you have to go out and spend X amount of dollars on countless services, software and tools in order for your efforts to be effective.
The truth of the matter is that many platforms already offer the features you need in order to optimize your visual storytelling efforts. For example, when Snapchat came on the scene and generated wild success with their ephemeral content, other platforms swiftly began to follow suit. Fast forward a few years later and we have a Stories feature on not just Instagram, but Facebook as well. Since 2015, Facebook Stories have been growing
than news feed sharing and Instagram Stories has amassed an audience of
. Furthermore, both of these features are listed by default at the top of the news feed. That’s right, the
of the newsfeed. It’s pretty much free advertising.
6. Leverage the power of influencers.
Influencer marketing is pretty much the hottest thing since sliced bread. It’s no wonder why. It’s less costly than traditional advertising and the ROI is greater. In fact, a recent Tomson study found that businesses earn
they spend on influencer marketing. Even more interesting is the fact that the top 13% of these businesses earned as much as $20.00 or more on every dollar spent.
Furthermore, according to Digital Marketing Institute,
directly depend on influencer recommendations when it comes to the decision making process. Reach out to influencers via the various platforms available and get them to join in on your storytelling efforts and help spread the word about your brand. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be leveraging the power of this valuable opportunity.
7. Integrate your storytelling with what’s #trending.
Hashtags aren’t just cool and trendy — they serve a number of purposes that are immensely beneficial to marketing your message on a number of social media channels. For one, hashtags help categorize posts. They also are proven to increase engagement and effectively attract audiences to certain niches. As a result, they can help you not only strengthen our brand’s image but help you get in touch with your target audience, as well as help your target audience get in touch with you. In fact, a recent MarketingLand survey found that
used hashtags “primarily for searching or following their favorite brands or topics”.
So, when and where do you use them?
found that Twitter posts using hashtags received twice as much engagement on average than those that didn’t. Using exactly two hashtags also makes your content 55% more likely to be shared. With regards to Instagram, posts with
see the highest engagement. They are also offer the same myriad of benefits for platforms such as Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr. However, contrary to popular opinion, hashtags
benefit you on Facebook. In fact, they’ve been linked with a
on the platform.
GIFs are an immensely popular form of content that are essentially super short clips of looping video. When
implemented GIFs in a marketing campaign they enjoyed a 42% increase in click rates, 103% increase in conversion rates and a 109% increase in revenue. When Coca-Cola used Ryan Gosling GIFs in their “
” campaign and encouraged their followers to share their favorite GIFs, it ultimately went viral.
According to Alexa Chung, CEO of Giphy, these little images on average contain sixty frames and “are capable of conveying 60,000 words — the same as the average novel.” GIFs aren’t just insanely popular, they’re an extremely efficient, effective and trendy form of communication that can enhance your storytelling efforts. They’re also proven to help
of a message due to the fact that they are visual in nature and often also have the added benefit of being funny. Furthermore, GIFs can help you showcase your brand’s personality, making your communications more charismatic and engaging.
- Live streaming
Don’t just stop with traditional forms of video content. Livestreaming can take your storytelling efforts to an entirely new level. Every platform from Youtube to Instagram and Facebook offers a live video feature and businesses who use live video are noted for generating higher rates of engagement than with other forms of content.
Part of this is due to the fact that live video is just more appealing to audiences in general. In fact,
say they would rather watch a live video from a brand than read content from them. Even more interesting is the fact that
of individuals surveyed said they have a
for live video from a brand when it comes to types of posts on social media. Furthermore, according to
, live video has an 8x greater retention rate than other forms of video content. If you’re looking to maximize your efforts at delivering a message, then live content is the way to go.
10. 360° Video
When it comes to making an impact, there’s something to be said for staying ahead of the curve. 360-degree video is particularly useful when it comes to emotive storytelling because it offers an immersive experience to the viewer and makes them feel like they are a part of your brand’s experience.
While many businesses are still catching up to the VR trend, the truth of the matter is that those who are already there are seeing great results. In fact, while only 12% of businesses have used 360-degree video in their marketing efforts,
of them found it to be effective. According to research conducted by Veer,
surveyed said that their use of 360-degree videos increased engagement for them.
Furthermore, research by
found that among the 1,300 adults they surveyed, 71% felt that VR made a brand “seem more forward thinking and modern” and 53% said they would be “more likely to purchase from a brand that uses VR than from one that doesn’t.” If you’re looking to truly stand out when it comes to your storytelling efforts on social media, then staying ahead of the curve is the best way to get attention and gain leverage over your competition.
If you’re a brand that’s looking to truly stand out among the crowd, then you most likely already realize the importance of storytelling when it comes to your marketing efforts. Storytelling offers a way for companies to deliver their message and spread awareness about their brand in an organic and authentic manner. Storytelling gives you the ability to connect with your audience on an emotional level and thus is immensely effective for cultivating relationships with your consumers. This is absolutely crucial to your success as individuals today now more than ever are increasingly looking to brands to be more transparent, authentic and personable in nature. These 10 tips will help you effectively deliver and amplify your message across social media and thus, give you that extra boost over your competition that you need in order to succeed.
What are some hacks that you’ve found effective for helping to deliver and amplify your message over social media? Let us know in the comments below!
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Being an effective storyteller in the business industry is a vital trait, whether you’re coming in from a marketer or business owner perspective. Why? Storytelling is an age-old art form; one of the earliest methods of communication known to mankind.
As a result, we as humans have developed a “soft spot” of sorts when it comes to storytelling, which is why it’s such an effective tool for marketing purposes.
For those of you mostly unfamiliar with Gary Vaynerchuk, he’s an entrepreneur whose business success has thrust him into the spotlight as not just a businessman, but an author, public speaker and internet personality.
Vaynerchuk founded Vayner Media Group, a social media focused digital agency after used his knowledge as a wine critic to grow his family’s wine business form $3 million to $60 million.
On his popular vlog, Vaynerchuck discussed the importance of “reverse engineering” your life in order to obtain success:
“We all need to reverse engineer what’s actually happening in our world to win. My whole career has been predicated on…understanding what I think is going to happen in the next 24-36 months and then figuring out how to work backwards from there to map out the path to capitalize on it.”
Vaynerchuck credits storytelling as the key tool for marketing success in the social media driven business scape, and in all of his public speeches, vlogs and marketing endeavors, his penchant for this talent is more than palpable.
However, storytelling isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of approach. As Vaynerchuk points out, you can’t be a business storytelling in 2018 like it’s 2007 and you can’t garishly repurpose content for every platform of your choosing under the misconception that you’re being effective.
Context and content are key to effective storytelling – and fully understanding this ideal is what separates the players from the winners.
1.The Significance of Storytelling
The art of storytelling dates back to the beginning of communications. From cavernous drawings of wars and kings to medieval minstrels, to your most cherished childhood bedtime memories – storytelling is embedded in our culture; engraved in our hearts.
As a result, there are numerous psychological implications to using storytelling as a marketing tactic. Kinesis Inc. has an awesome article on the science behind storytelling. Now, I’m a bit of a numbers and science nerd and I can easily get pretty obsessive with scientific and psychological theories.
The article explains four storytelling “superpowers” that are as follows:
- Emotion – Did you know your brain reacts completely differently to facts than stories? Almost twice as many neural centers are activated when your brain receives information in the form of a story versus data.
- Action – The aforementioned emotions that are evoked have a substantial impact on our behaviors. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak’s series of experiments connected storytelling to generosity by finding oxytocin levels directly impact an individual’s desire to give.
- Value – Stories literally have the ability to change our perceived values, according to a literary and anthropological study by the name of the Significant Objects Project.
- Memory – Storytelling has such a palpable connection with memory that there is literally a method of memorization known as “The Story Method”, which is used “in everything from Alzheimer patients to college students studying for tests”.
Needless to say, storytelling has a pretty big impact on us historically, culturally and psychologically. We’ve been telling stories since the dawn of time – it’s just the methods and tools that have constantly evolved.
In this ADHD generation, everyone’s short on time and marketers and business owners alike have to learn to tell stories in “micro moments”.
Vaynerchuk perfunctorily points out that, “Whether you like it or not, we live in a world where there’s obnoxious amounts of information getting thrown at us and unlimited amounts of outlets to consume that information which is entirely accessible on our own time. We live in a completely on-demand culture and as consumers and marketers, we need to recognize that.”
Entrepreneurs have to learn to wear many hats and juggle competing priorities masterfully. This is especially true for small businesses, who have the added pressure of not just figuring out how to become their own marketing agency, but also how to apply these traditional concepts effectively in the digital landscape.
In the world of digital marketing you’re trading in the stock of attention and your one, single goal is to evoke an emotion.
“90% of digital execution is garbage” says Vaynerchuk. Don’t be that company.
2. 5 Fundamentals of Effective Social Media Storytelling
There are three main channels that every marketer is familiar with when it comes to promoting businesses. They are:
- Traditional (TV, radio, newspaper)
- Digital (banner ads, email, search engine)
- Social (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube etc.)
Traditional channels such as the newspaper, radio and television have been around forever as the set “tried and true” methods.
However, with the inception of the internet came the once almighty king that was digital marketing, but with consumers spending roughly 10% of their day on smartphones, even digital marketers are realizing their 1% budget allotments for social media need some serious reconsidering.
As a result, this trend towards social media marketing has effectively rendered traditional digital marketing techniques far less effective than they once were prior to social media’s glory days.
In short – social media is (pardon my grammatical faux pas) — where the party’s at.
So how can you harness the power of storytelling to drive engagement and conversions on your social media? We’ve got five killer suggestions for that:
- Understand context. We live in an on-demand, “breaking news” society where everything is done on our time. Information is consumed in hyperspeed and average attention spans are dwindling to 8 seconds according to pretty much everyone and officially less than that of a goldfish. Video reigns king but images are still much more effective than any form of text.
- Understand the strategies that work
Remember the days when Google didn’t admit that Adwords click-through rate was down 15% in the last year? I mean seriously, the numbers are literally depressing.
Vaynerchuk originally built his business with email marketing by developing and cultivating a 400,000 person email list. However, the entrepreneur and marketing guru woefully admits that “marketers ruin everything” and when it comes to email marketing, the mantra is no different.
If you’re anything like the rest of us – your email inbox is chock full of so much marketing mail that you literally don’t have time or mental capacity to get it under control.
Vaynerchuk offered hilarious allegorical insight during a 99U talk about how he views social media content as a proverbial “gateway drug” of sorts. “You give somebody a little nickle bag and then later you can sell them a ton of coke”, he joked to the laughing audience.
Vaynerchuk argues that it’s all about developing that original, authentic connection with a compelling story on social media in order to cultivate and engage your audience and then build upon your influence.
3. Respect the nuances of the platforms
Every social media platform has it’s own specific formats and types of content that are most widely used and make no mistake, they are not interchangeable. Content must fit the nuances of the platform it is being used on and a post on Pinterest is going to perform completely differently on Facebook or Instagram.
On Tumblr, animated gifs are the content of preference where Instagram loves Instagram stories and images as a platform catered to creatives and women with a penchant the visual aesthetic.
One way you can mitigate this discrepancy and stand out in a crowd no matter the platform? “Quality storytelling always wins — always” because the supply and demand of attention is just out of control. “Attention is the only asset that we need to be paying attention to”.
4. Act Human and bring value
Resist the urge to simply use social networks as merely just a form of distribution in your marketing pipeline and use storytelling to foster organic connections with your audience.
“Document. Don’t create.”
Vaynerchuk insists that by adopting this philosophy, entrepreneurs and business owners are able to overcome the fears of putting themselves out there in the open. He suggests you describe your journey, your vision, your thoughts, ideas, wins, losses, anxieties and ambitions and really strive for an emotional connection with your audience.
Resist the urge to be a brand. Be human.
We added this last fundamental because just like Vaynerchuk, we feel that experimentation is a vital component for success with your social media marketing endeavors. Experiment with stories, angles, perspectives, thoughts, topics and figure out which formula works best with effectively striking a chord with your audience. After all, it’s all about them in the end.
So, there’s pretty much no denying that today’s world runs on a delicately balanced blend of social media and Starbucks coffee. If you’re going to be a successful business in this rapidly evolving, technologically advanced society, then you’re going to have to get hip with social media marketing.
But it’s not just about the numbers, the ROI, the attention the followers and how it all impacts your bottom line.
Unless you’re a digital marketer…or a business owner… then that’s literally all it’s about.
But your audience isn’t you and they can smell a social media marketing pipeline a mile away. So the ONLY way you can guarantee success is by literally throwing the traditional notions of marketing out of the window.
Seriously…find your nearest window and just chuck it.
It’s about the organic connections. It’s about socially conscious brands. It’s about charity, empowering and uplifting the community with “quick brew” conversations in an ADHD nation.
Crafting an engaging story is an art form and those that do it best are the ones that win. So remember these five fundamental concepts to effective storytelling in social media:
- Understand context
- Understand the strategies that work
- Respect the nuances of the platforms
- Act human and bring value
Stop wasting your time and money on posts and Facebook ad campaigns that don’t convert. Connect first. Then the influence, leads and conversions will come.
What are your thoughts and opinions on this piece? Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to hear what you have to say!