Humans have been telling stories since the dawn of time. We tell stories to connect with people and to have a good time – stories stir our emotions and they make us feel like we are part of something more than just the immediate reality around us.
Since storytelling is such an integral part of who we are, it can be a powerful tool outside of fiction as well. You can implement the storytelling strategies in advertising. Indeed, what are ads if not stories we tell?
Now, if you are a business owner or a social media influencer, you should approach your social media marketing with effective storytelling strategies. Here are eight of the approaches you should be implementing in your social media marketing campaign.
1. Utilize The Story Structure In Your Social Media
You should get accustomed with Freytag’s pyramid and use it as part of your social media marketing.
The pyramid is a framework for storytelling that has been used by great storytellers of our time – Shakespeare’s plays follow this framework every time.
The pyramid splits your story into five separate arcs. Each arch will be used to cause an emotional reaction from the audience – the action increases, climaxes and then results in release. The five arcs are exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.
You should ensure your social media marketing has the same ability to cause suspense, result in the release of information and result in a positive emotion. This could be done by keeping part of the marketing secret; in essence, keeping the audience on their toes before you reveal the full scale of your products, ad’s purpose or so on.
2. Focus On Local Stories
Storytelling is best when it makes people relate to the message. If you think about the most moving stories you’ve been told, they have most likely been something you’ve found closely relatable.
Therefore, you have to focus on these local stories that people can relate to with your social media marketing. This means creating a sense of community for people to belong to –this can be done with hashtags, branding and clever little insider stories people can share with each other.
More importantly, if you are a small business, you want to include your community to the marketing. This could mean that you participate in local events, you share stories from the local community and you involve people to your marketing – you essentially create ads from real life stories.
3. Stay Honest
One of the strengths of storytelling in marketing relates to its use of honesty. Stories are what they are – they don’t try to conceive, trick or lie. This is one of the reasons we find stories so resonating. We know we can trust them.
This honest approach should also be part of your social media marketing. You don’t want to be lying about your product or business – you need to live up to your past mistakes and tell your stories as they are. If you stay honest, people will find your marketing trustworthy and therefore, will want to try your products as well.
4. Sequence Your Marketing
Aside from using the pyramid structure to create suspense and interest, you also want to make use of the sequencing in storytelling. Stories have a start, a middle and an ending and there is no reason your marketing shouldn’t also have a similar structure.
So, when you are creating campaigns, you don’t have to put everything into a single ad or post. You can sequence your stories so that they form a bigger story. Refinery29 has used this approach successfully in its past on Facebook. The sequencing was so successful it generated a 56% conversion lift.
5. Try Different Forms Of Media
Storytelling can be done in different ways. You can use text, audio, video and so on for telling the same story. Similarly, your social media marketing shouldn’t just be told with a single medium.
Your marketing should always be a combination of blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, images and even . This makes it sure the messaging reaches a wider audience, appeals to different tastes and surprises people.
This also means your social media marketing shouldn’t just be focused on a single platform. Make sure you use the different platforms from Twitter to Instagram – each offering you unique options for telling a story.
6. Engage The Audiences
Storytelling makes us closer to each other. We’ve used it as a form of communication and information sharing since we started drawing images on the cave walls. Your social media marketing must utilize this approach and focus on the engagement aspect.
7. Don’t Try To Hide Your Own Voice
You can tell instantly when you are watching a Hitchcock movie or reading a book by Paolo Coelho. These storytellers have their own unique voices that shine through from the stories.
This is part of the authenticity of storytelling and you should definitely embrace it in marketing. You need your brand voice to be visible –it’s easy to tell if you are lying and being unauthentic.
8. Be True To Your UVP
Every business has its own unique value proposition (UVP). Your marketing shouldn’t ever try to hide from it but instead use it as the driving force of your storytelling.
The easy way to use UVP in a storytelling mode is to place it within the famous McKinsey S-C-R. This stands for situation, complication and resolution. It’s essentially the model of beginning (the problem), the middle (the complication) and the end (the resolution).
The McKinsey Approach to Problem Solving pdf from Lewis Lin ✈
In terms of your social media marketing, your first step would be the outline the current situation, then identify what the complication in the market is and finally reveal the solution to the problem, i.e. what your product or service can do.
If you are looking to start a new marketing campaign on social media, make sure to use these storytelling approaches and lessons in your messaging. Use different platforms and tools to make the most of your campaigns. If you are looking for ways to cut the cost of your social media marketing, don’t forget to utilize offers from Frugaa. The platform has offers from web hosts, photography companies and business software providers. You can also find great tips for marketing made cheap from Hootsuite.
So, it’s time to start telling stories now!
[Image Credits: Main image – Death To Stock, Alfred Hitchcock’s birds (1963), Sequencing-Refinery29]
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