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How brands can use the power of storytelling on social media

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Cave paintings. Fairy tales. Ghost stories.

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication, and for centuries it’s been one of the main ways humans have understood the world around them. As humans, we’re hard-wired to understand and retain stories, and consistently studies have shown that people tend to rely on emotions, rather than information, to make brand decisions.

Think about the last time your friend told you about a product they love. They probably didn’t jump straight in with a “buy it now” approach, but put the product into context and created a narrative of their experience to show off just how great it was. They told you a story.

The same principle can be applied to social media strategy. Social media enables a brand to place products and services directly in front of their target audience, but without some context – without a narrative around what’s being sold – the connection is lost.

The power of social media storytelling is all about building those connections; building a vision of what a brand means to its audience on an emotional level and delivering it straight into their social feeds. People relate to life stories, through words and pictures or a combination of both, and learning how to tap into these emotional drivers plays a crucial role in carving out a clear path for the consumer buying journey.

Storytelling 101

Social media is so saturated with content that there’s really only one way to stand out and get your story heard – emotion. By adopting the storytelling model you’ll remember from school, you can apply the same principles to elicit an emotional response and build a social media narrative that really brings your brand to life.

Set the scene: To kick things off, it’s important to really nail your brand’s tone of voice and create social media content that introduces who you are, your values, vision and why it matters. To do this, you need to get to know your audience – what do they like? How do they talk? What do they care about? By making people care about your brand too, they’re more likely to respond positively when you present a call-to-action.

Build tension: This is where you can start weaving in some messages about what your brand has to offer – but first it’s all about getting your audience’ attention. By enticing them with creative, engaging and original content, including blogs, videos, competitions and more, you’re building brand equity with the audience and teasing what you have to offer.

Reach a climax: Now your audience is invested and interested, it’s time to make an impact. This is always the part of the story that is most memorable, so now is the time to get your key messages across and channel the audience’s emotion into responding to your call-to-action. If you’ve done it right, you’ll cut through the noise and your post will have more impact with the audience.

Find resolution: No matter how well your social media messages are received, it’s not time to end your story just yet. Make sure to follow up with your audience and create some two-way conversation, rounding up your campaign and making connections to keep your audience engaged. Storytelling is the gift that keeps on giving, and maintaining your brand story is crucial to seeing continued ROI.

As the social media landscape continues to become more and more overcrowded, brands need to be ready to adapt the way they communicate to keep up the pace. By understanding the powerful role of emotion and storytelling in consumer behaviour, you can unlock the potential to entertain, educate and engage through social media storytelling.

Interested in finding out more about our social media offering? Check out our Social Media page.

By Amy Calderbank

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