The way our audiences consume content has changed a lot in the last couple of years. The way stories are told earlier has changed too. How people interact with your personal, brand stories is way different now.
In this article, we cover how to get it right with storytelling on social media in 2021 and beyond.
What is social media storytelling?
In its simplest definition, social media storytelling is the process of sharing stories on social media channels, generally by a company, organization or personal brand, to engage and entice a particular audience.
The stories you tell on social media don’t necessarily have to be fictional. They can be about you, about your brands, about your team, about your customers, or about anything that is relevant and relatable for your audience.
If an individual writes a status update about how they or someone in their family reached a milestone, that's a story!
And a brand’s explainer video on how a product helped uplift the lifestyle of a customer or society in general, would also be a story. When done with the right strategy in mind and consistently, stories like this can give sales a quick lift.
Why storytelling is different in 2021?
There are several new aspects and elements that social media marketers will need to keep in mind while developing their social media storytelling strategy.
Social impact stories
Stories purposed to have a social impact influence the audience and help you establish yourself as a brand that cares for the people and the society.
Many organizations indulged in welfare practices during the coronavirus outbreak to help those in need. And it cannot be denied that they received loads of appreciation from all dimensions.
If your business is involved in such practices, you have many stories to tell your audience.
Look at the events taking place in the country and the world, and there you can find ways to contribute and tell stories. For example events like climate change or social justice campaigns will give you ideas for your social media storytelling campaigns.
No matter how unique your brand is, you will always have to compete to stand out in the market. Price drop, rewards, and discounts are old-age practices, although they still work.
But to make an impact in the long run, you should tell your audience how you differ from rival brands. If you want your brand to have an identity of its own, you will need to tell what you're adding to the lives of the people or to the community.
GE Reports were able to get 100,000 loyal subscribers by delivering stories of the amazing innovations taking place within their company. Apparently, GE Healthcare has many viral stories on Reddit.
So, don’t hesitate to tell people about what difference you are making, and they’ll love you back. Work with your production, marketing, sales, and customer service teams to find such stories.
The very idea of storytelling is not to sell your products directly.
But if done right, storytelling will help you build your brand, deliver your message, strengthen your bond with existing customers, and give you a chance to add new customers too.
How do social media stories work?
There are many ways you can tell your stories to your audience on social media. These include timeline updates with links, stories or statuses, videos, images, slideshows, ebooks, and infographics. All you have to do is to find and develop potential stories!
Stories are an easy tool for brands to build connections and relations with their audience in a more effective and engaging manner. Effective stories engage multiple parts of the human brain.
For your stories to work, you will need to research your audience, which will essentially include understanding their likes, dislike, and browsing and buying trends. Stories built on these metrics not only are relevant and engaging but also have an impact on the brain and thought process of the target audience.
In addition to these, stories have the potential to boost traffic to your website. However, for that, you will need to focus on the quality of content you share. Stories encourage your users to come back for more, giving you a chance to engage and convert again!
6 examples of social media storytelling in 2021
Not sure how to tell stories on social media? Here are 6 perfect examples of how leading brands use storytelling to connect, resonate, engage, and inspire their audience.
Dove is a personal care brand owned by Unilever, and its line includes soap, shampoo, deodorant, body wash, and baby care products, which are manufactured, marketed, and used worldwide. The brand has been telling powerful stories through its online and offline ad campaigns for quite some time.
The reason why their campaigns generate traction is they focus more on having real people in their campaigns – not celebrities. They keep things simple, so their audience can relate to the story and the one telling the story.
Some of its campaigns triggered controversies and criticism, but they were able to pitch their point persistently because their stories are something people can relate to.
If you are getting started with your storytelling campaigns, you can consider involving the very essence of Dove’s stories i.e. being relatable for your audience. Research about struggles your customers face on a daily basis and try to resolve them with your solutions – and that’s how you win like Dove!
Nike has a long history of ad campaigns that add value to society. And when we are talking about storytelling campaigns, it's impossible not to mention Nike’s many campaigns: from the Equality campaign back in 2017 to the recent stories on mental health, black disruptors, Black & LGBTQIA+ Voices and more.
Nike centers on using the power of sport to inspire people to take action against discrimination and support equality in the community. These cause-driven campaigns are shot with leading sportspersons and athletes such as Serena Williams, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Megan Rapinoe, Dalilah Muhammad, Gabby Douglas and Victor Cruz, to name a few. Nike has also made large donations to organizations advocating equality in communities across the US.
Nike has made many successful efforts to establish itself as a powerful force for social change, despite being a leading brand offering shoes and workout gear for athletes. Stories like this are still relevant.
To kill it like Nike, you should try to find a cause that your audience cares about. And you will be joined by the masses.
No matter how many products you have in your line, your audience will be more interested and impressed by – why and how you do it! They always love to hear your story.
Intel does it pretty well on Instagram, where you can find image updates with captions telling the story of the company and its founders, workers, and products. This helps the audience understand the company and more than that, its vision and products.
It helps build trust and respect, which eventually helps the company keep going. And just like Dove, they too use real people and stories for their storytelling campaigns.
That said, it makes perfect sense to document every achievement, failure, and milestone crossed. This will give you so many impactful stories to tell your audience and win their heart!
Airbus has been committed to bringing solutions for safe and healthy air travel. The company uses its social network to tell how they put efforts to ease the life and struggle of travelers with their innovations.
The company recently launched a new app – Tripset – during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people with aggregated, real-time updates about flights and destinations. The user can learn destination entry conditions and COVID-related updates, apart from planning and booking the trip.
This is the most adopted storytelling cum marketing strategy used by brands all over the world. You can try it by highlighting attractive aspects of your brand, interwoven with how it can alleviate the life of the user. But make certain that the story is relatable and relevant for your audience.
Owned by P&G, Gillette offers safety razors and several other personal care products for men. And they involve celebrities in their ad stories like no other brand does.
Gillette’s storytelling campaigns are designed to make celebrities more relatable for the audience. Let’s take an example from their ad with Shaquem Griffin, an American football linebacker for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.
Gillette collaborated with Griffin, who lost his left hand due to Amniotic Band Syndrome at the age of 4, to deliver an influential message with a personal and emotional connection to its audience. The idea behind this campaign was to inspire the audience to overcome their obstacles and become the best version of themselves.
There could be no better way to engage and encourage your audience than this! Find an influencer or an influential story, develop appealing content, and pitch it.
So, the Olympic 2020 is over, and this time it was different – not because it was organized in Japan for the first time, but for it was not open to the audience.
And when the world couldn’t go to Tokyo to witness the games, Microsoft stepped in to help people experience it from a different angle with its product - Microsoft Teams.
Offering your resources, goodies, and showing that you care for the changing needs of our society are moves that do trust-building the best way.