Even with excellent products, strategic hashtags, and high-quality photos, you won’t get the engagement or response you want without proper storytelling. Your brand story is what sets you apart from competitors. And your ability to tell that story on social media could mean the difference between success and failure.
Below, you’ll learn the importance of storytelling on social media, tips to help you begin, and some examples to inspire you.
What is a Brand story?
A brand story is a narrative that explains who your brand is, why it exists, and what it stands for. Many marketers may simplify the brand story as a factual history, but it should go beyond that. It should communicate your vision and what drives you to pursue it daily.
Your brand story should be your basis when creating campaigns and creative materials across all owned channels. Whether you are a creative freelancer, business coach, or consultant, having a brand story is incredibly important in growing your audience and connecting with potential clients.
Why is Storytelling so Important?
There’s power in storytelling. According to findings by a cognitive psychologist, humans are 22 times more likely to remember facts if told as part of a story. People connect with brands as they connect with main characters in books and movies — through stories.
Have you ever been so loyal to a brand that using its products positively affects your mood? Or have you ever associated a brand with feelings of success or achievement? That’s the work of compelling brand storytelling. And if you’re trying to promote your brand’s story, embedding Google Reviews on your website is a strategy many brands use to show how their brand has impacted customers and helps to create loyal brand advocates.
A good brand story doesn’t just convince customers to buy products. It invokes emotions, inspires, educates, and entertains. More than anything, good storytelling enables brands to forge deeper connections with their customers. It’s why you stay loyal to specific brands despite higher pricing or having similar or better customer options.
How to Craft a Good Brand Story?
Crafting a compelling brand story requires weaving together a captivating narrative that authentically communicates a brand’s values and purpose, resonating with audiences and leaving a lasting impression. Here are three ways to do just that:
Step 1: Understand your customer
Your brand story is about you. But It’s made for your customers. To create a compelling brand story, you must first consider your customers. Ask yourself:
- Who are my customers?
- What are their dreams and aspirations?
- What makes them tick?
- What does their life look like?
- What types of content marketing strategies will I use?
- How does a particular piece of content reflect my brand’s personality, resonate with my audience, and tell a compelling story?
Understanding your customers will help you tell a story that resonates with them. A successful brand story allows customers to see themselves fit within a narrative.
Step 2: Have an inspiring mission
Most successful brands will have a mission beyond just selling products or being number one in the industry. For instance, Coca-Cola’s mission is to refresh the world and inspire moments of happiness. Dove’s mission is to make women recognize their beauty. And IKEA’s is to create a better everyday life for all people.
While these brands don’t necessarily spell out their mission statements on ads, these messages are sprinkled across all customer-facing materials. Having an inspiring mission is that hook that keeps customers loyal to your brand.
Step 3: Tell the truth
Companies will exaggerate or dramatize their narratives to make them more appealing to customers. However, nothing in your brand story should be fabricated just to get support. If you think there’s no way anyone can debunk your claims, think again.
Automotive brand Volkswagen had to pay the price for false messaging. To appeal to the environmentally conscious driver, VW tried to label one of their vehicles as having “clean diesel.” The car brand installed software to manipulate the results to pass the emission tests. Because of the lie, the brand had to post its first quarterly loss in 15 years.
If you want to strengthen your messaging with buzzwords like “cruelty-free” or “ethically made,” make it real and always tell the truth. A lie can destroy a brand’s legacy that took decades to build.
How to Tell Your Brand Story on Social Media
Previously, brands had to invest in expensive long-form ad placements on TV or print. And you could only measure how your story resonated with your audience once you saw it reflected in sales. And this has to do with the psychology of marketing whereby social media can tell you different versions of how a brand story resonates with a desired target audience.
1. Post a good #throwback
Customers would love to see how far you’ve come since the day you first launched. Plus, everyone loves an inspiring story and a good #TBT photo. For example, you can post a before and after photo from when you were just a small team working from home to today’s bigger team and formal office. You can also post old iterations of your products and show how they have evolved through the years.
Image credit: Southwest Airlines
American aviation company Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) shares throwback photos on its Twitter account. The sepia and black-and-white photos were nostalgic and reminded customers how the brand prioritized service and good food.
2. Feature key people
Your audience would like to see the people who make the brand possible. Of course, the most prominent people to feature on social media would be the Founders and CEOs but don’t forget to leave space for the “smaller” yet equally essential people who help make everything work.
For example, if you’re in the food business, aside from featuring the chefs, don’t forget to share about your cleaners and staff. If you’re in e-commerce, on top of featuring your designers or programmers, show some appreciation for your hardworking delivery men.
Image credit: Momofuku Ko
US Restaurant Momofuku Ko (@ko_ep) regularly shares photos of employees, updates, and short stories. These little features allow followers to get to know the people behind the award-winning restaurant and give them a deeper appreciation for the food.
Brands are nothing without their employees. Feature your best ones on social media to show appreciation and introduce your star players.
3. Encourage user-generated content
There are many reasons to encourage user-generated content (UGC). But more than just a way to effortlessly fill up your content calendar, UGC is a powerful tool to communicate your brand story on social media. After all, every brand’s goal is to empower customers to envision themselves as the main characters.
Image credit: Hydroflask
Hydroflask (@hydroflask) encourages its followers to share how they plan to gather during the holidays. This call for UGC strengthens the brand’s mission to move people toward each other.
The brand also started the #EveryBottleTellsAstory campaign to invite customers to share their unique Hydroflask stories, bumps and scuffs included.
Sharing UGC on your page allows your customers to tell your brand story through their lens. To gather UGC, you can:
- Use social listening tools: Keep track of brand mentions and keywords.
- Start a hashtag campaign: Take inspiration from Hydroflask and encourage customers to share photos with the campaign hashtag.
In the automotive finance space, online broker Savvy leverages its branding through user-generated reviews from third-party platforms, which are then promoted across social channels.
“A business should invest in a trustworthy and independent review platform, like Feefo or Trustpilot,” says CEO Bill Tsouvalas, “especially in the finance space, where genuine reviews are valuable. Promoting these across our social media goes a long way towards building trust with existing and new customers.”
4. Tug on people’s heartstrings
Most viral social media campaigns have one thing in common — they were able to trigger a positive emotional response. According to a study by UK-based professionals, campaigns with purely emotional content perform twice as better as those with explicit rational content.
When sharing your brand story on social media, always look for opportunities to tap into your followers’ emotions.
Image credit: YouTube
Take inspiration from this ad by HP. The ad follows the life of an artist who gives up her desire to pursue the arts for something more stable, a nine-to-five job. While this might sound like a counterproductive ad for a brand that sells office computers, the story goes on to show the protagonist’s daughter, who inherited her knack for the arts. Unlike her mother, the ad alludes to the daughter’s ability to achieve her dreams with the help of technology.
Consider how your products weave into your customers’ lives when brainstorming for campaigns. What problems do your products solve? In which key life moments can your customers rely on your brand?
5. Take advantage of the different formats and platforms
Social media offers various tools to help you tell your story most effectively. While the Instagram Story or short video format on Reels or TikTok might be your more apparent choices for compelling social media storytelling, don’t be afraid to open up your horizons and get creative.
For instance, if you have a large following on Twitter. Try sharing more content through Tweet threads. You might think this defeats the purpose of the platform’s character count limit, but threads or “Tweetstorms” can give your followers a fuller story.
If you’re sharing a photo on Instagram or Facebook, utilize the caption space to give your followers a deeper understanding of your content.
If you’re posting on different platforms, make sure to adapt to the format that works best. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other media, like music and GIFs, to get the best engagement. Plus, don’t forget to create a personal connection with your audience through different social media engagements using various forms of voice and tone.
Without stories about your brand, you won’t be able to form a deeper connection with your customers or set yourself apart from competitors. Use these tips to guide you in telling your story on social media and turn those followers into loyal customers. Lastly, don’t forget that: the best brand stories are relatable, inspiring, and 100% true.
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