Editors Pick, Marketing, Personal Branding

Storytelling: A Social Media Content Strategy Beyond ‘Likes’

Time to Read: 4 minutes

It’s halfway through 2019 and brands are still confused as ever about how to create a solid social media content strategy.


Here is the current snapshot: 


  • Twenty-five million businesses are using Instagram, which is pretty much the same amount of people in Australia. 


  • Fifty-percent of users follow and engage with businesses on social media, with a third of them making important purchasing decisions via their mobile phones.


“Damn”. Right?


The social media landscape is more competitive than ever, and with Instagram and Facebook making regular updates, businesses will have to be on their toes. 


Just last month, Australian users saw the hiding of ‘likes’ in a new trial set by Instagram. We cannot see the total number of likes on users’ posts, except on our own account. Changes like these mean that businesses, marketers and influencers alike will have to keep adapting and improving their content strategy to better connect and engage with their audiences. 


By hiding likes, businesses will not be able to rely on numerical validation alone to attract engagement. To us, it’s a positive change. It will even out the playing field and encourage users to shake up their game plan and rethink content.


Content is king — but that’s not enough


Content is king and will always be the crux of any successful marketing strategy. And we’re in no short of ideas for content today – but that itself is a double edge sword. 


We’re bombarded with so much content and equally just as many marketing gurus throwing their different ebooks, guides, handbooks, content strategies at us, left, right and centre.


Do a quick Google search and you’ll be flooded with tips, how-to’s, Pinterest boards, and articles. Many tabs are left open and unread. 


The real question should be: How do I make content that will resonate with my audiences? Where do I begin?


Why you need storytelling in your content strategy


We try, trial and experiment with a lot of tactics, but there is one that we’ve seen to work time and time again: storytelling


It is the foundation block at the heart of our business, from our sales and marketing department, our content production to our customer service team. And it is the same advice we give to our clients who want to build and develop their personal and business brands. 


In the age of noisy social media feeds, hard-selling will not work. Clickbait headlines alone will not work. Yelling into the camera with words like ‘buy this product now and get the results you want now’ will not work as well anymore. 


Audiences are becoming more vigilant, aware and attention deficit. And we often forget that the hero of our business’ stories are our customers, who are human beings with emotions and needs, just as businesses are also run by real humans. 


Businesses today that want to leverage content to connect with audiences will need to be more authentic and relatable. 


Our marketing efforts should place greater emphasis on empathy, storytelling and giving back value.


[Read more on Business Media and Selflessness]


The power of story


Storytelling is embedded in our DNA, so much so that when we hear a good story, our brain releases an empathy drug called ‘oxytocin’. As a result, we feel something, making these stories stick with us and remember them more.


We don’t remember numbers as easily. We remember stories. And we remember how we feel at the time when we heard those stories. Those emotions stay with us for a long time. 


Businesses like Apple and Nike who have used storytelling in advertising have seen millions of customers turn into brand evangelists. 


By incorporating principles of storytelling in your strategy and prioritising your customers as the protagonist of the story, as Donald Miller of StoryBrand argues, your customers will better relate to your message, deepening the connection and building brand trust.


[Read more on why selflessness should be your core marketing strategy]


By using storytelling your brand’s message and purpose will be more authentic. By using storytelling you humanise and personalise your brand. Storytelling is the golden key. 



“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.” (Seth Godin)



Incorporate storytelling in your content strategy 


Before posting anything, ask yourself, “what is the story here?” “what will my audiences get out of this?” “How can I give back to them?” Will it educate, entertain or inform them?


Let’s break it down. 


There are at least three crucial elements to a story, which are used in books, movies, and even in advertising (think AAMI’s ‘Not Very Insurancey ads’).

  • Characters & Setting – Who is involved? What is the scenario? What is their goal?
  • Conflict – what problems do your clients have on their journey?
  • Resolution – how can their problems be resolved? how did you or can you guide them to the solution?


One crucial point to remember is to keep the stories simple and tell them simply. Cut down on the numbers and jargon. 


From 2-minute videos to 15-second Instagram Stories, the principles of storytelling can be used in all forms of communication, regardless of which industry your business is in. 


For example, we encourage our Real Estate clients to use more testimonials and point-of-view reflection via Instagram Stories to better connect and engage with their audiences and prospective clients. 


We help them identify different scenarios for each type of client and how they’ve helped solve their problems, then help put these onto their Instagram stories. Every single day. 


Some days we encourage our clients to open up and share more personal stories, like problems they encounter during work and how they overcame them. 


No fancy gear required, no high tech equipment or $3000 cameras. Just them, their stories and their mobile phone camera.


What we saw was incredible. 


Direct messages from buyers and sellers and even their friends flooded their inbox like wildfire. Customers followed up and hit up their DMs because they wanted to know more.


Stories build connection. 


Connection builds trust and wins the hearts of your customers. 


And the best part is that you can tell these stories easily and quickly on social media. 


If you want to learn more about how to add value to your content strategy that will drive sales, engagement and growth, hit us up and let’s chat.