Social Storytelling: The Art of Telling Stories

“Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling. That’s a constant. ”

– Gary Vaynerchuk

Storytelling is already a big deal in expert circles. It is a widely discussed topic. Is it just another buzzword? Or is it the ultimate recipe for success? How do you do it properly? And is that also possible in the B2B area?

Of course, it is important to have a good social media strategy. But what do you communicate when you have positioned yourself? Storytelling is not a newly invented marketing tool, rather it has been with us all of our subconscious minds throughout our lives because storytelling is the first known and still most used method of communication.

It started with cave painting in the Stone Age, about the time in ancient Greece, when stories were told, recorded differently and, accordingly, interpreted differently. Today, we use the art of storytelling to captivate our listeners and readers to inspire them.

A newer method of storytelling is social storytelling. It is a discipline of social media marketing. After more than a decade of social media, users are confronted with thousands of stories every day and experience a feed overloaded with content. It is all the more difficult for companies to stand out from this noise and to be noticed, this is mainly due to the organic reach, which is declining to almost no longer available on many networks, such as Instagram and Facebook. The art of social storytelling is to captivate readers through emotional stories and to conjure up a captivating story from unspectacular products, facts or services. 

“Sometimes we think people are motivated by money or power, these very concrete incentives. But they are also motivated by stories. So it’s important to listen to people and ask them what stories are important to them. ”- Barack Obama

As Barack Obama said, responding to your audience is essential. For companies, this means knowing their target audience very well. Who is the target audience composed of? What moves them? What emotions do we want to evoke?

When answering these questions, it is important that the target audience is not necessarily split up demographically, but that the various interest groups are in the foreground in order to ultimately build up the stories accordingly.

The next step is to consider what constitutes your own corporate culture and how you want to present yourself to the outside world. As soon as a company knows who it is as a brand and what it stands for, it can design stories that authentically communicate the company’s message. But even if you have the most exciting brand story to tell, it always depends on how it is received by the readers. The company tells half and recipients complete the second half by picking up and processing the first. By telling stories, we get to give the audience the opportunity to add to their story with their own words and continue on.

In general, if you want to do social storytelling successfully on social media, you have to demonstrate creativity. Many rely on the success stories of their own company and introduce employees, others use social platforms to explain complicated products. However, successful companies on social media show us that the platforms should not be used as just sales channels – especially in the B2B arena, in which products that often require explanation are on the market or the industry is not particularly interesting for the end consumer. Consumers always notice when a business has a social media presence that is primarily aimed at the goal of just selling and that is not well received by consumers. 

The visualization of the content

The presentation of the content is an essential part of social storytelling.

Everything depends on the presentation. A major trend in this area is visual content. This means that everything is presented more and more visually. With an “eye catcher” in the feed in the form of a short video or moving image, you draw maximum attention. With visual content, customers make faster purchase decisions and retain information longer. We owe this to the Picture Superiority Effect, which proves that information that is available in visual form is better processed by the human brain and stored longer. After a day, we only remember about 10 percent of a text read, but with visual content, we still remember about 65 percent after three days.

The fact that we react so intensively to visual content is beacuse it is easy to consume. Images also stimulate our imagination and touch us more quickly on an emotional level. Visual content also increases the interaction rate and the conversion rate.

No content without context

Once the content has been clarified, you have to refer to the context.

Each platform is structured differently and serves different target groups. What works on LinkedIn does not necessarily work on YouTube, nor can Twitter and Instagram just duplicate each other. Experience shows again and again that it makes the most sense to first concentrate on one channel and, if successful, add other channels accordingly.

Social storytelling in the B2B area

Social media marketing in the B2B area is always more difficult than B2C. The products are not always interesting for the consumer. Nevertheless, the target group in B2B also consists of people. For example, the marketing expert, who belongs to the target group of many B2B companies, is likely on social media and is just as enthusiastic about emotional content as others. That means a clear “yes” for social media marketing.

Social storytelling actually goes hand in hand with this. However, it is much more difficult to find suitable content in B2B. The products sold do not necessarily appeal to people on an emotional level, you have to be creative to still tell a suitable story. As already explained above, successful stories are usually very successful. Just explaining products does not work.

Social storytelling is a discipline that every company should exercise.

Actually, it’s obvious that stories should be spoken that people want to hear. However, many marketers don’t follow that advice.

Author BioVishal Agarwal has 3+ years of experience in digital marketing. With good experience in advance marketing and promotional strategies, he has helped numerous brands establish their online niche with his out of the box internet marketing strategies and lead generation capabilities. He also manages his blog Digitalgarg.