Social Media Marketing: How To Do It Right? | by Malachy Chidera | Nov, 2020

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“I am telling you now: The answer lies within Social Media Marketing with Storytelling”

Imagine waking up in the morning to check your Instagram or Twitter profile to see if you got new followers or comments, and it turned out someone left you or worse every one of your followers left you.

“Oluwa wetin dey Occur?” That’s the hilarious question that comes to my mind right now…

Now tell me, would you be disappointed?

Would you say such is life and move on? Or would you engage in suicidal thoughts? Perhaps you would feel like you’re no more significant in the social world, or you’ll begin to blame your village people for a lot of things I guess…

You might not be in this situation right now and you might as well not have experienced this before, But it’s a normal phenomenon in the digital world. Everyone is seeking social media engagement, The volume you seek depends on your specific needs.

Many of us have probably asked questions like, “How do I get more followers? What do they want to hear? Or what content do they want to read?”

The answer is storytelling.

But what’s storytelling precisely? And how do you do it right?

Joe Lazauskas once said: Good stories surprise us. They make us think and feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that a PowerPoint crammed with bar graphs never can.

If you ever want to be a true storyteller, create engaging stories that can turn people into listeners, and then they’ll become your followers.

Hey, this is just the beginning!

In this article, I will talk more about social media storytelling and how to tap into it.

Let the fun begin!

How can we define storytelling precisely? Is it the act of telling a story through a thousand words you’ve seen in books or works of art? What is it really?

The understanding of storytelling lies in the fact that stories go beyond pieces of literature.

If you are a book lover, continually searching for new books and reading them is normal. But you must have one or some favorite authors that you will not hesitate to buy and read all of their pieces even if it would cost you a fortune. Why is it so?

You see, those authors are already successful over other authors in terms of captivating your interest and interactions.

And surely, the reason why they captivate your interest is that they tell you good stories.

In other words, they do storytelling.

Stories, indeed, can not only be found in books. In reality, they are a universal language that everyone can use and understand.

They appear in every form of communication like daily conversations, written papers, or blog posts on the Internet.

A story that can provoke the connection between people is at the heart of storytelling.

And that’s why we define “Storytelling” as:

The process of communicating and conveying specific messages to the audience using facts and narratives. Stories are revealed through words and actions with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment.

Storytelling encourages the listener’s active imagination and it involves a two-way interaction between a storyteller and one or more listeners.

Storytelling happens in many situations and it reflects different cultures as every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, or instilling moral values.

However, one common characteristic of all forms of storytelling is that it empowers listeners to visualize vivid, sensory elements of the story based on the storyteller’s performance and their own experiences and understandings.

Social media storytelling is the use of social media platforms to tell stories about your brand, products, or services with the sole aim of captivating your audience.

Do you know that people are creating many stories on social media networks today? As mentioned earlier, stories come in any form beyond what you see in books or movies.

When someone posts a status on Facebook about how he became a successful marketer. Or a composer unfolds the story behind his latest song in a vlog on Youtube. Both of these cases are storytelling. More precisely, they’re social media storytelling.

Social media storytelling enables you to expose your brand to your audience, tell them what your brand is all about. Don’t assume that storytelling on social media is just another tactic to sell products or services.

We usually read stories that have specific characteristics such as a beginning, middle, and an end with climax or conflict.

They typically convey some sort of moral lesson, thoughts, beliefs, or philosophy about the world and human beings. Storytelling, in a social media marketing sense, is not an exception.

If you only tell stories to sell something, your stories would only be pushy promotions and slick sales messages which are just boring and soulless and can’t touch your audience’s heart or engrave any special impression on their mind.

One of the highest forms of communication for humans is an association, this is because humans are more inclined to connect, and the key to this connection or association is good storytelling.

If you tell a story and another person engages in it, both of you become connected.

Good Storytelling triggers Good communications, it has psychological superpowers which make it a powerful marketing tool.

Let’s look at four reasons why social media storytelling is important:

  1. Emotion: Stories can create empathy in your audience. If you’ve ever been affected by the power of an amazing story, drawn into the time and place of what was happening, felt the emotions of the people there, and resonated with the ‘why’ and ‘how’ or the purpose and reason behind those human beings you would understand how stories, makes us put ourselves in those shoes, making us connect with the character background and their feelings. In such a scenario we begin to ask ourselves what we would do in that same situation. That is the power of a Good story; it triggers your emotions to a high degree. The science behind this is the neurochemical oxytocin which makes our brains react with empathy, sympathy, compassion, care, and connection. Does your storytelling provide motivation and compel your audience to want to learn more?
  2. Action: Apart from connection and emotion, stories also influence our behavior substantially. Paul Zak after a series of experiments proved the fact that people who watched a video about an ill boy had higher levels of oxytocin in their brain that made them more inclined to donate money to a stranger. The question now isn’t just about connection or emotion: Can your story compel your learner to take action? Once your storytelling is good it would be able to emotionally compel your audience to take action.
  3. Value: When people engage with your stories you can create beliefs by showing them how you came to believe something. Transferring values and beliefs is done through your story’s character having enlightenment because your audience will also experience this. So take what you know and believe and transfer it into the minds of your audience. Stories do elicit our emotions, sympathy, and actions. More than that, stories have a substantial influence on our perceiving the value of something. Does your story Result in a better understanding of the key points because the learner can see themselves in the same situation? Does it drive a feeling of importance in your audience?
  4. Memory: We remember stories better than other types of information, such as data and facts, this is because stories are more engaging. In the past, knowledge, and information traveled mostly in the form of stories told orally, and over half of human conversations occur through storytelling, so it’s a natural part of our thinking and communicating. Also, if you’re delivering a pitch or presentation, telling a story provides a break for the audience and as stories are memorable your audience will at least remember your story even if they forget everything else. Storytelling is embedded in our culture, engraved in our hearts, and thus, has a connection with our memory. Stories cause us to memorize things more clearly and keep them in our long-term memory. Does your story enable better recall of the content?

In Today’s world, it’s difficult to find a successful brand that does not have a good story behind it. Stories provide meaning, create context, and evoke a sense of purpose. Most humans are more receptive to stories than compared to facts or data as stories help us relate, empathize, and remember. This is why more businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of storytelling. Also, stories allow us to build brand personalities and easily connect with customers.

Questions might begin to pop up like; how can I create good stories on social media? Why should I bother? In addition to the limitations of social media posts on some channels, is it possible for storytellers to thrive on social media? Would people purchase my product or services if I tell them stories? Etc.

All we can say is that no matter what it is you want to sell, once there is a story attached to it you will always find an audience willing and eager to connect with your brand… and that is why storytelling is important for every business person that is why this content is important for you.

Here’re some ways to become a real storyteller on the four most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

With more than 2.20 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a major player in the world of social networking. Businesses looking to market using Facebook have one major tool at their disposal: the Facebook Page.

Facebook Pages were specifically engineered for businesses. They provide a public home on Facebook for a business, and they allow businesses to publish content and receive comments and feedback from fans and customers.

One of the good things that come with Facebook is that it doesn’t limit the number of words on a post, so you can write your entire story. Instead of summarizing the story or just mentioning some key points, it’s better to write longer Facebook posts, as It works well if you want to captivate audiences with Instagram’s incredible stories rather than promoting a new product or driving traffic to another site.

A great example of Facebook storytelling is the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital page Their post although not quite long gets significant engagement because of their awesome storytelling.

On Instagram, the best brand storytelling involves visual storytelling which is what cuts through all the mediocre content posted online today.

If you want to grab people’s attention and build an online audience that is excited to hear from you, you need to use proven methods and get creative with how you share your ideas and tell your story.

You must become a visual storyteller by making a visually appealing Instagram profile — simultaneously, telling a captivating story.

There are 15 concepts you can use/ apply to make your Instagram storytelling perfect and engaging

Telling A history-based compelling story can grab people’s attention and make them want to identify with your brand. You need to be creative and crafty to develop one for your brand which would forever be a means of identification and association…

This is using your audience to do some of the heavy liftings for you by creating a user-generated hashtag for your brand tribe, then you post the content of your biggest fans directly on your Instagram account. This strategy has its limitations so you must master the secrets to it before trying it.

People like to associate themselves with brands that give back to society, especially to the poor, so you can design interesting programs or events that would serve such a purpose and tell the story of the societies who are benefiting from your programs. In summary, show how you are taking action to make the world a better place and what you do to give back to society and you’ll understand why they say givers never lack.

This depends on if your brand has amazing leadership. You could create a socially motivated lifestyle brand and share the story of your weekly team meetings where the leadership team is setting up an action plan for the week. You’ll be surprised at how much people would want to identify with your coordination and principles.

There’s a global war for talent today and the best brands are showing off the fresh faces on their team and all the fun they are having at work. Showcasing yourself at work or your company’s employees in action are great for putting a human face on your brand, which makes what you share on Instagram more interesting to your followers.

This is another great way of engaging your audience with amazing storytelling which is nonfictional and undiluted… all you have to do is use the hidden part of your actions to your advantage, making people see how you do it even if it’s just a glance. Even better, show off how you make your products and the creative process you use to design them.

You can celebrate your true fans who are your biggest brand advocates by telling their stories. This is a great way to reward the influencers who actively spread your message while at the same time drive more engagements from folks who would want to associate with such a feeling.

This is using the power of suspense to your advantage especially when something new is cooking… you could stir up lots and lots of engagements if you know how to perfectly display your synopsis.

Take advantage of trending hashtags on Instagram and send your story into the stratosphere. Add your commentary on real-time trends and large events as they are happening and you can join the conversations that people are having about them on Instagram.

Photo collections allow you to give strong visual representations of your brand values and purpose. They are the best as they tend to grab people’s attention when they are scrolling through their Instagram stream. Get creative and brainstorm some photo collections that you can share with your audience.

Another powerful way to tell your brand story is through photos or videos of people using your products or services in the real world. Showcase the experience people have when they use your products and how it makes them feel.

Based on today’s trend of selfies, every Instagram account should include occasional personal or group selfies to add a raw, personal touch.

You can get creative by brainstorming the historical and contemporary figures who inspire you and choose a quote that aligns with your brand values. This would attract folk with the same values and more.

You can tell a quick micro-story about an experience that has shaped you or your brand’s values. This is a great way to build a more engaged audience that wants to learn about you and what you represent.

This is the Use of the #TBT hashtag to add your story you could share something funny or an important event and tag others. Thursday is the day when Instagram users share their favorite stories from the past and use that to your advantage.

Finally, Using three, six, or nine separated images or videos is a creative way to make your Instagram profile look more enchanting and appealing in your audience’s eyes. You can refer to the rule of thirds to ensure that your photo composition is correct and to the point. Check the image below to see how appealing it looks.

With Twitter, there are several ways you can incorporate storytelling elements into your feed:

  • You can use Twitter Moments to collect multiple Tweets and then tell a story around a topic of conversation that’s relevant to your followers.
  • Instead of just using one image in your Tweet, you can use multiple photos in a Tweet to create a narrative arc that would engage your audience.
  • Analysis has shown and proven that Tweets with video attract 10x more engagement than Tweets without video. That’s because the video is the perfect medium for storytelling, allowing brands to quickly introduce the setting, characters, plot, and conflict for a narrative arc that can last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.
  • By posting a Tweet thread, you can create a sequence of Tweets that will be read together as one. This allows you to break a larger brand story into digestible chunks, while also giving followers the ability to Retweet and comment on the specific parts of the story they find most engaging. Combine Tweets from a Tweet thread into a Twitter Moment to maximize your efforts.

It’s also a great idea to have your hashtag that spreads your brand’s story. It enables you to collect other people’s stories in your community.

As long as your followers understand your purpose through the hashtag and use it in their tweets, your hashtag does not have to be always trending.

So use hashtags effectively with proper planning in your social media marketing.

A recent example is The #BlackLivesMatter hashtag which went viral and got a lot of positive responses from the Twitter community. Here is an example of an online Marketplace company that keyed into the Black Lives Matter trend.

If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to invest in storytelling through Youtube videos, then you’re free of wonder. Let’s tell you why it’s important to use youtube as a tool for marketing and storytelling.

Do you know that 85% of internet users in the US watched video content monthly? Little wonder why they say, video is the future of marketing. This is so because video content can capture people’s attention more than text content.

We live in a distracting world today, as such, you need to be a good storyteller to grow your YouTube channel. This is because your audience would not stick around to watch your whole video if your content isn’t enticing or relatable. If you want people to watch all your videos, you need to get them emotionally invested with your stories. You need to help them close their eyes to distractions by creating a great story that would compel them to do whatsoever you desire to get as a result.

You can start with a series of videos about your company, employees, customers, or whatever content that you think will be interesting enough for viewers.

Your videos don’t need to be too long, you can keep it short but of high-quality.

There are 3 methods/ techniques you can harness and master when creating an awesome story for a Youtube video:

Just like in any other story, your hero should have an objective, your hero could be you or anyone that can identify with your brand, but the plan might fail. The likelihood of something going wrong is what makes a story suspenseful. When you tell a suspenseful story, your audience will have a heightened focus and a strong motivation to continue listening. They want to know if the hero succeeds. Keep the audience waiting and expecting. Don’t give away the ending right away. And don’t make your hero portray a boring persona.

If your audience cannot empathize with what you are communicating, it would not have the intended effect. Storytelling is all about taking people out of their bodies and putting them in someone else’s. Your storytelling must be empathetic enough to make your audience take action.

If you are telling a story about the time your truck broke down, you would want people to empathize and feel the helplessness of being stuck on a highway, waving cars down to help.

Empathy makes people feel more human. Telling a story people can relate to, even if it didn’t happen to them, is a sign of a quality storyteller. You just need to master how to do this if you want your audience to connect with your brand.

  • Take the Audience on a Meaningful Journey

Why are you telling a story to your audience? What kind of journey do you request your audience to join you on?

– Is it educational?

– Is it entertaining?

– Is it motivational or inspiring?

Perhaps the most important element of a good story is that the journey is meaningful.

Knowing how you want to leave your audience feeling is foresight that will improve your YouTube storytelling abilities. Before you start telling your tale, ask: How do I want to change my audience?

It is worthy of note that sometimes our brands might just be an educational brand and you may begin to think that once you have the right materials and educational contents, your audience would dive in without second thoughts but you’ll be shocked to find out how they would flee from your channel once they find out how boring your class is. For you to make your audience stay on your channel you need to be creative enough and avoid being boring.

This is the most important of all…

Whenever you write a story, ask yourself, “Who are your listeners? Who will engage with your story the most? You need to understand your audience to create a compelling story.

The best way to understand your audience is to identify customer personas. How do you identify your customer personas? The best way is by surveying to know what your audience would desire such that they would give almost anything to get that experience of association with your brand. Once you do this, you will get to know who might be interested in your stories and how best to serve them.

Data and analytics should be your friend here! Check out your platform analytics, see how your posts perform, get insights on what resonates with your audience, the demographics, are images or videos your best friend? etc.

Once you know your audience, It’ll help you establish a foundation for you to create a story that resonates with your listeners, readers, or viewers.

If you are present on more than one social media platform, it is easier to use a social media analytics tool. This would give you the whole picture on the same dashboard instead of you having to switch platforms.

The long in this case is on a futuristic basis…

It’s very essential to look at your business goals from both the short-term and long-term angles before developing your stories on social media.

Your brand’s Individual stories should be illustrated in every piece of your content including clips, social media posts, or images, this would create a whole story of your brand and business.

Once you come to realize that every piece of content you produce contributes to your brand and business “Long” story, you’ll want to get audiences involved in your story over the long term. This is why your story should connect with your end goals.

It is imperative for you to not frequently change themes or designs. It takes time for an audience to recognize and connect your brand with the themes you’re trying to establish. So no matter your long-term goal does not make the mistake of indecision.

In all that you do be professional, nothing more nothing less. Even if you have little or even no background or experience in writing, Videography, or Photography, you still can create a storyline that everyone would love to read, view, and watch.

Think extensively about how to get your audience’s attention and give it to them. Write something creative, unique, and compelling, or arouse a sense of curiosity in your audience. Put it to action through whatever means you deem fit.

To keep your audience engaged, add a cliffhanger to your headline or title. Ensure that they would want to come back to know more.

Do you remember when we talked about taking your audience on a meaningful journey? An interesting story might be enough for audiences to tap a “like.” But what makes them more inclined to engage and take action is a meaningful story.

When you tell a story that is deeply meaningful to the audience, it can provoke their emotions and build a strong connection with your brand. It’s of more benefit when your audience values your meaningful story and engages with your brand and business in the long run.

So, before developing your story, figure out what is meaningful to your audience. Besides that, also make efforts to add value to your audience. This is how they would recognize the worth of your brand.

If you find it hard to do storytelling, there are many practical tools at your disposal. Some outstanding candidates are Instagram stories, Snapchat stories, or Facebook stories.

It’s very easy to create content on these available tools. As each of them allows you to create real-time videos with multiple fabulous filters and effects.

If you’re targeting millennials and the young demographic, storytelling on these types of social media tools are worth your efforts.

Always use social media scheduling tools to maintain a constant flow of storytelling content on all of your social media platforms. Not all social media tools are worth your money or need to burn a hole in your pockets. Always make your research before spending money on social media no matter how small. This would help you avert loss for your brand… Don’t be deceived by folks who claim they can help you generate followers because the truth is that good content would always bring followers and your target market if you know how to strategically entice them with your content.

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