Have you ever noticed that the most successful brands on social media tell stories? And we’re not talking about an occasional story — these businesses are built on storytelling. It’s in the way they sell their products, their ads, and even careers at their companies.
By way of example, look to @airbnb.
Airbnb is a vacation rental company that “opens the door to interesting homes and experiences,” per their Instagram bio. They use their Instagram page to tell the stories of the people who stay in Airbnb homes, like this one:
“My goal has never been to work hard so that I can have a few vacations,” says business coach @deshapeacock. Her recent Mexican adventure included a solo retreat at this studio made for digital nomads who love the beach. When you’re on a work call here, try to resist the urge to flex by apologizing for the sound of waves crashing in the background.
Link in bio to improve your work/waves balance.
Photo 1: @deshapeacock
Stay and photos 2-8: @avenidabaja
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If you’re someone who enjoys traveling and achieving “work/waves balance,” this is the kind of post that creates an emotional connection for you. You can picture yourself relaxing poolside and setting aside your worries.
To mirror this strategy and tap into your inner storyteller on social media, start with a basic understanding of what social media is and how storytelling can help you achieve more sales, without you actually asking for the sale.
Even though the goal of social media is company engagement and building a following, when it comes to sales, people don’t generally go to social media with the intent of making a purchase. They go there to, well, socialize.
If you build a convincing narrative around your brand, however, you’re may be able to whisk away followers into your “story” and increase the chances of them taking the next step, which could be:
- Buying directly from the platform if you have a shop set up or link to buy
- Going to your website or a landing page to learn more
- Joining your email list, which you can use for re-marketing
- Downloading a freebie — again, joining your email list but with the added benefit of being able to nudge them further along in your funnel; that is, your freebie could be a lead magnet that pushes people to buy your higher-ticket items
The key thing to remember is the golden rule of social media: People use social platforms to share and read stories. When you start using storytelling on social media, people will become more engaged and also more likely to come back for more. Here are five reasons storytelling works so well on social media:
1. Stories Are Shareable
Even if someone likes your product or service, they might scroll past your posts if they’re uninteresting. But if they’ve invested in your story, they’ll be more likely to like, comment and share. They might even tag friends who could be interested in your product or service.
Think about it: If a friend’s Instagram post is just a picture of them holding a coffee cup from a local coffee shop, would you find it interesting? But if she describes how comforting it was to have her usual coffee (with extra oat milk) at the start of a long day, you’re more likely to react to the post and comment on it.
Side note: Using influencers or employees as brand advocates can be a highly effective way to tell a story without “selling.” They do the work to promote your brand, and you benefit from extended reach and engagement.
2. Storytelling Builds Trust
When you tell stories about your company and its employees and customers, people will start to feel like they know you — which makes them more likely to trust you and buy from you. And if they share your stories with their friends and family? Even better!
You can also use stories to educate people about your values and mission. This establishes credibility and builds trust with your audience because they see what motivates you and what you care about. They’ll also feel like they know you better as a brand, which makes them more likely to buy from you.
3. Stories Create Emotional Connections
Storytelling is an effective way for brands to engage their audience in a relatable way that feels authentic versus just selling products or services at every opportunity.
Good stories allow your readers to engage with your brand on an emotional level.
Since stories are such an effective way to communicate with people individually, telling stories about your company lets people connect with your business emotionally, which makes them much more likely to make a purchase. Think about the Airbnb example above. It’s relatable and invites followers into a world where taking a break is not only acceptable but welcomed.
4. Great Stories Make Your Page Sticky
People can get bored scrolling through their feeds, and they might end up unfollowing accounts that don’t entertain them. That’s why storytelling is so important — it gives people a reason to keep up with you! The human brain is wired to enjoy narrative structure, which makes storytelling an easy way to get people interested in what you have to say.
By storytelling, too, you put the focus on your audience. When you tell a story, you’re relating to your audience in a very human way and connecting with them on a level that’s deeper than most advertising. This allows you to build trust and loyalty over time, rather than just trying to sell them something.
Stop Selling, Start Storytelling
Storytelling is an easy concept to internalize and apply. Anyone can tell a compelling story, and social media is the perfect platform on which to tell that story.
Now, as you start focusing on storytelling for your brand, think about what types of stories your customers would connect with. Then, try to produce and distribute those stories across social media platforms for your audience to check out. If done right, these stories could be the key component in propelling your brand to the next level.
Rallio’s platform and services make the job of storytelling much easier. With one dashboard, detailed analytics, and all your comments and reviews pulled into a single inbox, you’ll never have trouble keeping your narrative strong and attracting new followers. See rallio.com to learn more.