3 storytelling tips for marketers in the age of social

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into a brand by giving products and services an identity. However, the world of marketing and storytelling has entered a new era. We look at three simple steps marketers can take to tell their story and connect with their audience in this new world in a credible, interesting and believable way.

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Mar 07, 2019
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Humans love telling and hearing stories. From children’s nursery rhymes to week-long box-set binges.

Stories define who we are and how we understand the world. And that is why storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into a brand by giving products and services an identity.  

This is nothing new. Many think marketers have always been storytellers and that they truly understand what it takes to create an emotional authentic connection in the stories they tell. However, the world of marketing and storytelling has entered a new era.  

The traditional sales funnel has now been eclipsed by consumers using social media channels to interact with brands. And social media and messaging services such as Snapchat and Instagram have risen to prominence in recent years, launching tools such as Instagram Stories.  

Instagram launched Instagram Stories in August 2016. By the end of 2017 the service had in excess

of 300 million daily users. An impressive metric that also explains how social has changed the pace and depth of storytelling and has become central to effective marketing in 2018. This new era of social storytelling means a brands’ fans and customers now get to engage with the company in a far more emotionally entertaining and informative way.  

So, what are three simple steps marketers can take to tell their story and connect with their audience in this new world in a credible, interesting and believable way? 

Focus on the stories that fans want to hear

Brand marketing is no longer about long, general, anonymous stories about the company. Instead

it is about quirky stories about the brand, about the people working in the company and about the customers themselves.  

For stories to stimulate strong feelings and inspire the imagination, there has to be a strong connection between the teller and the audience. Take the Gatorade campaign that offered a special filter that simulated Gatorade being poured onto your head. Gatorade baths being synonymous with winning a close or important game. The feature was popularised by tennis legend Serena Williams and the campaign not only let fans experience the joy but was a ton of fun. 

This type of lively social storytelling helps to set brands apart from their competition. The story itself has to be based in reality – but it also has to be delivered or told to the customers in a way that is entertaining, engaging and memorable.  

Look for the visual

Stories can be told in multiple visual and interactive ways, using new technology tools such as Snapchat Filters or Instagram Stories. This means that more often than not the focus is using imagery, video and interactive features to tell your story, instead of (too many) words.  

For example, don’t forget about the value of "B-roll" content. If your story is set in a restaurant, you should mix in clips of people having dinner and the food itself to add context and depth to your social story and adventure. This means that you offer consumers a visual layer of information that can’t be explained through words.  

Authenticity has never been more important

Brands have for a long time been judged on authenticity but they have never found their stories so 'shoulder-to-shoulder' with the likes of everyday people. With that in mind, brands should not waste time and effort in manufacturing a so-called "authentic" brand story. Instead look internally and invest in employees and empower them to share their stories. 

Overall, remember to focus on the stories that your fans want to hear and to tell the best stories about the people and situation behind your company’s services and products. That way, you grab your audiences’ attention, provoke their interest and convert them to action.

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