The ultimate goal of social media marketing is to connect with customers: to stop the scroll of your audience and capture their attention through content that will both be of interest and showcase your company story. The best way to do this is through connecting with the potential customers. This connection can be forged through humor, evoking certain emotions, or providing helpful insights. In order to do these things, there must be some sort of narrative. Posts on social media should convey a story that will resonate with the customers and grab their attention. A great story provides a different way to look at ourselves and the world around us and the stories that your company tells should also indicate how your brand fits into this word view.
Every video, image, blog, or excerpt that your company shares should be a mini-story that takes your audience on a journey. Social media channels provide an opportunity to share a story in an interactive way that is easy to like, share and engage with. These mediums: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, pair minimal text with impactful visuals to shape a narrative in the matter of seconds. When done intentionally this can be an incredible marketing tool for companies.
TIPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA STORYTELLING
1. Consider your audience
Before you can begin to shape your social media narrative, you must consider who your audience is. What does your target customer profile look like and what sort of things does this customer care about? This will help guide not only which story to tell, but also how to best tell it. If your target market is a business, it is important to remember that the people working within the business, making the company decisions are, at the end of the day,, humans too. They have their own lives and interests and the stories that your company decides to share within your social media should not only focus on the business needs of your customers, but the things that the humans within the business care about as well.
A great example of this comes from WeWork, a company that provides shared workspaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and enterprises. Their customers ultimately have business needs, but their social media acknowledges their human experiences as well. With their marketing featuring the message “Thank God It’s Monday” WeWork promotes a narrative of loving heading to work, presumably to do something one is passionate about and turning the typical saying “TGIF” on its head. The Instagram picture shown below displays the hand of what looks to be a woman with an edgier, alternative style showing that the WeWork clientele are not your typical cubicle workers. They clearly know their target audience and work to acknowledge the humans behind the businesses that use their space.
2. Humanize your brand
It is important to realize that the customers aren’t the only ones that are humans, your business is made up of people too. For audiences to really connect with your company story, they should be able to tell who your company is. What sort of values, interests, and personality makes your brand distinctive and makes your employees excited to work there. This is what makes your company different from your competition as these elements are unique to your brand and your people.
After you have followed the first tip in understanding your audience, assess which elements that make your brand stand out align with the values of your target market. This intersection between your organization’s human elements to those of your market is where you should drive home your company story. This is where you can authentically tell a brand story that feels true to who you are and connects with customers.
Deloitte does this, aligning its purpose of helping others excel through forward looking solutions with the content that it shares about the people working there. The Instagram post below is part of Deloitte’s Millennial Instagram Story Takeover Series that allows viewers to tune in to learn more about people like Tyler Johansson that are working for the firm. Tyler’s story shows how he tries to create impact for customers on Deloitte’s Strategy and Innovation team for the Evolving Workforce and the post presents him in a friendly, informal way combining information and humor.
3. Leverage visuals to tell stories quickly
Before you can connect with customers, you must capture their attention. The enemy of social media is the tendency of people to continue scrolling right past your content before digesting any of the messaging behind the ad. A way to combat this is through telling your story in a concise, quick to understand manner. This is effectively done through visuals that provide context quickly for viewers supplemented with text actually on the photos. Not all viewers will make it to the captions, so if you can convey the story of your visual in a self-contained way and supplement with captions, it is more likely that the message will be received by the viewer.
LinkedIn’s Father’s Day campaign does a great job with this. Combining all three of the tips that we have discussed. These ads take into account the lives and interests of their audience, show how LinkedIn’s values and services align with this, and tell a story in a self-contained manner. The simplicity of the text in the ads below is important as the viewer does not have to spend a lot of time to understand the meaning, yet the message evokes strong emotions in a powerful way.
THE LASTING IMPACT OF STORIES
While the world of social media introduced the idea of 15 seconds of fame, a great story shared through this medium has effects that last much longer. By sharing content through these channels that have their own narrative that evokes reactions in your audiences, you will create associations with your brand that will create lasting impact. After seeing LinkedIn’s photos of fathers with their children, working dads will start to feel a sense of connection with the business that seems to understand their priorities and lifestyle. Through finding intersections between your audience and brand while conveying stories efficiently and effectively, social media provides a way to connect directly with customers in a meaningful way.
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