Storytelling on Social Media

Storytelling using social media has the unique ability to market ideas and products in a simple and effective way. Storytelling has always had a place in our digital marketing world, but especially so in our day of age. There are five main principles in storytelling on social media when attempting to reach global audiences in this digital era.

  1. Make it real
  2. Show us the possibilites
  3. Engage our senes
  4. Seek our participation
  5. Make the story timely

1. Make it real

This principle relates to the concept of telling stories about real people for a personal connection. Ask yourself, “who would my audience relate to?” Maybe they are local figures, celebrities, volunteers, etc.

2. Show us the possibilities

This principle is significant as it relates to creating stories that show the audience how they can improve their lives. When creating your story, consider what kind of benefits do people experience through using your product and/or service? How do these services make you smarter, save you money, or enrich your life?

3. Engage our senses

Vivid representations are effective in creating memorable stories for the audience. Some types of imagery used in storytelling on social media are visual, auditory, and organic.

4. Seek our participation

It is crucial to tell stories that allow your audience to contribute to the overall discussion and share their thoughts and opinions, as well as creating additional content. Participation can be encouraged through providing an easily usable platform for sharing and disucssion, creating contests and interactive games, and enable personalization and customization for the audience within the platform.

5. Make the story timely

The last principle but certainly not the least important – creating stories that are current, relevant and timely is key to attracting, entertaining and maintaining your audience. Stories can be made relevant by connecting them to specific moments in time, including a specific day, season, holiday or a current event.

Storytelling on Facebook

In 2006, Facebook was available to anyone over the age of 13 and almost immediately became the social network site of choice at the time, quickly shadowing MySpace. Facebook has since been a go-to place for sharing, including personal sharing for friends and family, as well as businesses and companies for marketing purposes. Companies utilize Facebook for significant aspects of marketing such as builiding meaningful relationships and trust with users and/or customers.

This massive social network is known and used all around the world, and this makes for an ideal place for brand exposure. It allows a business to become more connected with customers, discoverable to current and potential users/customers, timely with frequent messages and posts, and provides the company with insightful data with the use of analytics regarding customers and marketing strategies.

Facebook Page
Image from Digital Marketing – Facebook (tutorialspoint.com)

Visual Storytelling on Instagram

Similar to Facebook, Instagram resides as one of most used social media networks in the world.

The image below shows an example of a few accounts on Instagram who have edited their entire feed of photos so that they are in sync and in line with the brand’s personality. Acknowledging and adhering to the overall aesthetic of your brand is critical in how you present your stories to your audience.

Image from How to Use Storytelling to Connect With Your Audience on Instagram

Storytelling on Snapchat

Each social media platform has their own individual way of storytelling. For the app Snapchat, their way of allowing user to share stories is significantly unique. On Snapchat, you are not only able to tell your story with a photo or video, but you can add an endless amount of effects on the stories. These effects encourage a creative mindset for the user, acting as an inspiring element for storytelling within the app. The image provided below shows multiple examples of businesses and companies using the ability the create their own Snapchat filter, so users are able to post, share, and communicate their intended message and persona.

See the source image
Image from 10 Easy Ways to Use Snapchat for Business | NeoReach Blog | Influencer Marketing

User-Centered Social Strategies

Today, social media and digital platforms are a key part of many organizations’ marketing strategies and places to share their stories. To be effective on a digital platform, these companies must undertstand their audience, and each user’s individual wants, needs, and expectations when engaging on their website as well as their social media page(s). In order to identify a user’s goals, their are 6 types of interactions that users have with social media that are important to look into.

  1. Discover: Can I find something interesting?
  2. Research: What is this? How does it work for me? How could I use it?
  3. Engage: Am I interested in the content the company posts on social media?
  4. Purchase: How can I buy it?
  5. Support: Can you help me solve a problem?
  6. Promote: How can I share my experience with others?
The six types of interactions users have with businesses on social media are discover, research, engage, purchase, support, and promote.
Image from 6 Types of User Interactions with Business (nngroup.com)

Sources:

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Hey Casey! I really like the images you used for your post. They really help us visual exactly what you mean when discussing storytelling. It’s also interesting that you talked about more than one app, especially since nowadays there is so many out there with different ways to tell stories. The research you did is also really good, mainly for grab-and-go situations. Lists and descriptions can really help us learn about the topic and how to tell a good story. I was reading this post, https://www.harvardbusiness.org/the-science-behind-the-art-of-storytelling/ , about the science behind storytelling. There’s this quote that says, “Stories allow us to simulate intense experience without having to actually live through them.” I think the points that you made about storytelling—making it real, engaging senses, etc.—can really tell this story that they are talking about. Good job on your post! I think we can all find it super helpful!

  2. Casey, I absolutely love the visual aspects associated with each topic heading. The contrast of the images based on focus and even color was incredibly insightful, and added to the overall quality of your explanations! Additionally, I really enjoyed the way you focused in on 3 very popular social media platforms, it really adds to the reliability of your post (seeing as I’m assuming we each use, at the very least, one of these). When looking up storytelling in my search engine (particularly focusing on Instagram), I noticed there was a lot of information regarding how to “build stories”, which was an aspect I feel companies are utilizing well. Focusing in on the business aspect of it, it’s even more innovative that Instagram themselves has offered a guide on how to start successfully utilize their platform (https://business.instagram.com/blog/a-step-by-step-guide-create-playful-and-interactive-instagram-stories). This allows small businesses who create their own products (such as art or makeup) to utilize Instagram in telling the story of how they begun, and show how they will continue to grow. Furthermore, this even benefits Instagram, as it creates more and more interactivity with their application, and thus, creates room for future development and growth of such important components for storytelling. Overall, I really liked your blog for this week; it really got me thinking about certain aspects of storytelling I never considered before!

  3. Hi Cassandra. My favorite part of your blog was the images that you chose to use. Images can be so helpful for web viewers, and your photos here are very helpful. I think that laying out storytelling in steps was very helpful for understanding your content. One thing I did catch when reading those steps is that using blue text for the headings of the sections made me feel as though the headings were links to another article. Because blue text is often used for links, I would suggest using another color such as magenta or red for headings.
    This link https://www.socialpilot.co/blog/social-media-storytelling goes more in depth about story telling on social media and helps to break down what is very important. I especially like that they used bolding for emphasis. For their headings, they just used black text, but made the text bigger so it would stand out.

  4. Hey Cassandra,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog post this week, and I think it was very well done. I am particularly interested in the social media side of web communications because I am headed towards being a social media manager post graduation. So I found a lot of the information you wrote about very interesting and educational. Social media is a key for businesses now, and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. I also run a boutique, and social media is a HUGE part of it and where we get the majority of our sales. So it is very important than businesses are taking advantage of these platforms. Adding storytelling to these posts can then add even more. Like you said, it can be simple like having an aesthetic (Instagram), or being able to share stories (Snapchat). I particularly am drawn to having similarly edited photos, and I think this is an important part every business owners (or even individual) should have. This article “How to Create a Unique Instagram Aesthetic that Fits Your Brand” it walks people through the importance of this aesthetic (story telling) and how to do it. I would check it out if your interested! Overall, nice job!

    URL: https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-aesthetic/

  5. Hello Cassandra,
    I enjoyed reading your post this week about story telling in social media. I thought that the individual profiles of the different commonly used social media sites was a really great way to show the different niches of each. Because each of the different sites specializes in story telling but have displayed their content in different ways. I thought this was interesting because it made me think of some of the conventions that are similar over the different sites. For example snapchat was the first to introduce the story (or 24 hour post) but this was soon copied by Facebook and Instagram.
    I found that this article (https://www.socialpilot.co/blog/social-media-storytelling) detailed a few of the sites not covered, like Youtube and twitter and how these platforms use storytelling. I also thought that the information about the three different archetypes of social media story telling was interesting information on the common frames of stories on social media. Thank you for such an interesting read!

  6. Hey Cassandra! I enjoyed reading your post and I thought that your inclusion of Snapchat Stories is the perfect example of storytelling not just on social media, but in the digital realm. You made a great point about how Snapchat Stories are unique and easy to customize, while keeping the same model. I also think it’s interesting how so many different platforms have adopted Stories, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I found this article that dives deeper into Stories, how companies are planning for them to surpass Feeds, and the author actually argues that the label “Stories” is a poor name for the feature: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/05/smartphone-stories-snapchat-instagram-facebook/559517/ It’s an interesting read, and I related to it when the author mentioned not taking Stories seriously for a while, because it took me a while to start watching them as well. But now I feel like I’m missing out on so much if I don’t watch them, so I guess you could say the design worked too well!

  7. Casey,
    I love the way you broke up this post! While I believe I have always been aware of the storytelling that goes on on social media platforms, I did not realize how much participation I engaged in when viewing images and videos. I could relate most to the visual storytelling of Instagram, as I have always been attracted to the aesthetic layouts of certain influencers and brands Instagram promotes. I found this article ( https://www.diygenius.com/brilliant-examples-of-visual-storytelling-on-instagram/#:~:text=On%20Instagram%2C%20the%20best%20brand,are%20passionate%20about%20in%20life. ) that goes more in depth of how visual storytelling on Instagram can tie in a brand’s values, mission, and purpose, as well as encouraging engagement and interest in users. As a person who enjoys reading, seeing visually appealing images paired with stories or tidbits and explanations of the images has drawn me into to many different products, events, and lifestyles. I think Instagram does a great job of enhancing storytelling and user experience.

  8. Casey, I really like the ample use of images your incorporate into your blog to add a tone of visual education while also pertaining to the desire aspect of users. It’s interesting to see how images may play a massive role in storytelling when it comes to users engagement with websites. Additionally, the only note I may make is kind of an echo to Rebecca’s comment; making sure the headings are not a light blue, but instead, a definable color that really catches and captivates the eyes of the user. Turning back to that concept I mentioned of users utilizing images to learn more about companies. This article, https://www.justinmind.com/blog/guide-to-visual-storytelling-for-ux/, goes into depth about the different aspects of visual storytelling and the effect it may have when engaging users. Interestingly enough, my favorite part about this article that it emphasizes is that the images are not meant to simply replace the textual story of a website; rather, they are there to create a form of emphasis behind the credibility and emotions of the creator to create an open dynamic between the creators and users through means of emotional depth. Overall, great post!

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