Most of marketing is storytelling. And whether your marketing is successful or not depends on how great of a story you can tell.
Marketer Seth Godin once said that marketing is “the art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and then spreads.”
We’ve been telling stories since we could speak or draw. Look at early man’s cave paintings or the Egyptian hieroglyphs. Stories are how we communicate.
One of the most liberal methods of communication on the internet is the social media profile. If you scroll through a Facebook or Twitter feed, what do you see?
Whether that story is personal or not, people are attempting to market something through their social media stories. If it’s a personal account, they’re marketing their persona. They want to be perceived a certain way.
If they’re a business, they’re marketing their services and products, but the motivation is the same. They want their products or brand perceived in a certain way.
Today we’re going to talk about how you can leverage your social media to tell a story.
Get Right Down to It
Sure, plan ahead. With a good roadmap for your social media strategy, you won’t run into analysis paralysis.
But if you don’t get started right away on re-vamping your social media posts, the procrastination monster will bite you in the butt.
Here are some practical ways to get started.
Get Some Photos Up
Ever since the invention of the photo, we’ve become less word-oriented. Humans process visual data better than any other kind. So it follows that the photograph is where you should start on social media.
Almost every social media account deals in photos. On Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ it’s easy to post whole albums.
Albums are an easy and lasting way to tell a story and market on social media. Your audience can move quickly from photo to photo like a slideshow. And they can see the story progress as they click.
Show people using your product. Show how your service is valuable.
Also, remember to crowdsource your images. If people are passionate about your product or service, they’re going to want to tell their own story.
If you’re having trouble crowdsourcing images, hold a contest for best photos of people using your product or service. Give away something simple and yet valuable to your customers.
Use SnapChat and Instagram Stories
SnapChat is the ultimate storytelling device. From office shenanigans to vacation fun, people use SnapChat as a quick window into their lives.
But brands can also use SnapChat to tell their own stories as well.
Talking about office shenanigans, Chubbies Shorts gives their customers a snapshot of what it’s like to work in their offices. And they often showcase their product while making people laugh.
Other brands feature doodle contests or upcoming sales. But the best thing to do on your SnapChat and Instagram stories is simply tell the story of your brand.
Remember, you’re attempting to resonate with your audience. You’re not using it as a sales pitch.
Instagram stories and SnapChat are both easy ways to produce quick videos. But those won’t last long or drive much traffic to your website or store.
A video, however, will have a lasting effect on both your leads and your web traffic.
Most people don’t think of YouTube as a social network. And it’s never going to be as social as Facebook or Twitter.
But YouTube is the largest video hosting site on the internet. And the profile and commenting features on YouTube do add a social layer to the service.
If you’re not posting videos on YouTube, you’re missing out on a major storytelling marketing opportunity.
And video production doesn’t have to be lengthy or complicated. Short videos on YouTube do just as well as long videos.
More people watch Twitch‘s live streaming service than HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu combined. And if you think of how many people you know who watch those other streaming services, it will blow you away.
Now Twitch is a streaming service known for video game streaming. But live streaming is now available elsewhere for other purposes.
Facebook and Twitter have both jumped into the live streaming game. And what better way to tell a story than during a live event?
People can watch your brand’s story unfold in real time.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to place a webcam in your office for 24/7 streaming. That might be a bit boring.
But Facebook and Twitter both notify their users when someone has “gone live.” And if a brand or company “goes live,” their followers will instantly know.
Live streaming is a great way to get your followers interacting with the story you’re telling. They can laugh or cry with you.
Use SMS Marketing to Tell a Story
It’s becoming increasingly common for brands to use sms marketing to reach customers. But most of the time, it’s used to alert customers about “upcoming deals.”
This tactic wears on your followers and they eventually start ignoring your texts.
But if you can tie your text messaging campaign into your social media storytelling campaign, you’ll have people checking their phones each time you send a text.
Announce that people can find out more about whatever compelling story you’ve begun to tell on SnapChat or even just through a Facebook video. Ask them for their phone number and get their consent to participate in a text campaign.
Moving your story from one medium to another will keep it fresh and interesting. You can string your audience along for quite some time by simply doing this.
Most Don’t Get It
Most brands use social media marketing wrong. And it’s the smart brands that understand marketing as storytelling who win the social media game.
Remember that you’re trying to resonate with your followers. You’re not trying to pitch a sale.
If you can remember those two basic ideas, you’ll be able to tell a compelling story and court your customers all the way to the sales page.