Welcome to The Social Smarty Show, your weekly podcast for social media marketing tips, tactics, and practical digital marketing advice. Let's get you taking real action to grow your online audience, build connections and your business. I'm your host, Jodine McIntyre. Think of me as your digital marketing coach, cheerleader and wingwoman all rolled into one. Grab some of my social media marketing known how for free at socialsmarty.co/freebies Now, before we dive in, make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss any future episodes.
Welcome to episode number 21 of The Social Smarty Show: how to use storytelling in your social media marketing. Now, humans have been telling stories for thousands of years. It is just our natural way of sharing experiences, conveying information. I really love this quote from Brene Brown on storytelling: "stories are data with a soul". How good is that? When we use storytelling in our marketing, we are onto a winner.
So let's take a look first at some of the psychological factors that make storytelling so powerful. Let's first start with emotion. So we've all seen those commercials on telly that make us weep, the powerful storytelling that moves us to tears. Here in New Zealand, it's usually our national lottery, so it's called Lotto. They seem to churn out these tear jerking ads over and over, and it's often like an emotional backstory prior to the person winning or the family winning the big draw and how it changes their lives. But it really, really just moves me to tears.
So why do we want to evoke that emotion in our audience? Why do we want to make them cry? Why does lotto want to make them cry? Well, when we make a strong emotional connection with our audience through storytelling, we can increase their brand loyalty to us. We can generate positive associations with our brand. It's a much deeper connection than that real sort of surface level connection. Now, another factor with storytelling is memory. So chances are you can probably remember a story that you were told as a kid, so maybe it was a story about your parent's or your grandparent's childhood. There's that story you can remember being told when you were a child, but can you remember your phone number from when you were a child? Stories are so much easier to remember than facts and figures. And we want people to remember your brand. Of course we do. Plus, when people relate to the characters and the story, they're more likely to remember that message and take action. Storytelling lets us break down our message into easy to understand, sort of engaging messages in an engaging way, making it far more likely that their audience is going to retain that information and take action on it. Now, another factor is social influence. So stories can create a sense of social proof.
So that's the idea that people are more likely to buy a product or book a service if they see other people doing it. It's like we're looking to other people to help influence our behavior. So storytelling is a really good way to show evidence or kind of demonstrate that other people have found value in your product or service. Now, there's another concept that's called the narrative transportation theory. So this theory suggests that people become so engrossed in a story that they kind of temporarily adopt the beliefs and the values, I guess, of the characters in that story, so they become more likely to act like those characters. So that can be really, really powerful in our marketing.
Okay, so we can all agree that storytelling is a powerful tool to have in your marketing toolbox. But how do you go about implementing it? How, when, and where should you be telling stories in your marketing? Well, the first thing I recommend doing is getting really clear on your brand story. So identifying or adapting or developing your brand story. Now, this isn't necessarily the story of how your brand or business came to be or how it started. Often that's kind of woven through the brand story. But a brand story and marketing, we kind of talk about the three P's. So it's like a way to communicate your brand's personality, purpose, and your promise to your customers or clients. So when we talk about brand stories and marketing, we often talk about one particular brand that has a very, very strong brand story, and that is TOMS Shoes. T O M S. Now, you probably know TOMS Shoes, but what I'll do is I'll read their brand story from their website. We've always been in business to improve lives. In 2006, Tom's founder Blake Mycoskie (I hope I'm saying that right) pioneered the one for one model, giving away one pair of shoes for every pair sold, supporting larger health, education, and community development programs through strategic partnerships.
Now, that is a story that is really easy to remember. For me, I always remember the one to one shoes. So when I think of the brand TOMS, I always think of the one to one. You buy a pair, they give a pair. Now, even if someone said to me, do you know that brand that gives away a pair of shoes? I would know straight away that that's TOMS. Now, when you look at their marketing, it really aligns with their customers values. So their customers want to make that positive impact in the world. But you can also see that sort of story woven throughout their marketing. Now, this is where I put in a plug for Donald Miller and Story Brand. Excellent book, literally called Story Brand or something like that. You'll find it online, but there's a really great resource at mystorybrand.com. I'll put the link in the show notes, but it's a free tool that's going to walk you through creating a story for your brand or a brand script. Really recommend diving in and having a play around. And then once you've got your brand story developed, now you kind of have a consistent narrative that you can sort of weave through all aspects of your marketing.
So with social media, the first thing we might do is have a look at the Bios on our account. So on Instagram, Facebook, that sort of thing, have a look. Is it linking to your brand's story? Now, again, go and have a look at TOMS and see how they have linked that, that's really important.
And then think about imagery. So we know a picture paints 1000 words. So have a look at your Facebook, your LinkedIn, your YouTube cover images. Is that aligned with that brand story there?
And then the really obvious one is your content. Are you regularly posting content that tells your brand story? You could create a post and pin it to the top of your channels, that really explains that brand story. And you can share behind the scenes and your stories, just showing how you demonstrate that in real life. If you head to the TOMS Instagram account, the username is literally at @TOMS you'll see a highlight there called Impact, where they've shared a ton of stories on how they apply their values and their brand story in their business.
Okay, moving on from your brand story, let's look at other ways we can share stories or tell stories on social media. Now, the most effective way to tell a story is using video. It is 2023. You need to be using video in your content. If you're not, it is time. It really is. Not only do the platforms themselves often prioritize video content, but it is so much more powerful than a static image. Or it can be so much more powerful than a static image. So you can create tons of different types of videos for social media. Explainer videos, product demonstrations, custom and testimonials behind the scenes live video. You can use animation, music, sound effects. You have so many tools to use in your storytelling.
But if you're just starting out with video for social media, keep it simple. Draft out a plan. Before you start recording, ask yourself what is it that you want the viewer, the person viewing this video to think, feel, or do? And then you want to keep that in your mind as you draft out the beginning, the middle, and the end. So the beginning needs to capture their attention, right? We need to stop them scrolling and draw them in. The middle kind of builds on the story. That's where the bulk of the messages and then the end leaves them either thinking, feeling, or taking action. And one more tip, the more video content you create, the easier it gets. It doesn't need to be perfect, but I promise it gets easier and easier.
Okay, next up on my tips for using storytelling in your social media is testimonials. So remember, right at the start we talked about social influence, social proof, well, testimonials are your key here. So for me, the best way to capture a testimonial is going to be by video. But that's tricky, it's not always possible, but regardless of whether your testimonial is video or it's just text an email or a Google review, ideally we want to structure it in a way that tells a story. Now of course you're not the one writing it, so the easiest way is we need to think about having a structure and often it's kind of a before and after. To me that tells a story. Where was the person before, where are they after? What problem did your client or customer have before they used your product or service? And then what outcome did they achieve from using your product or service?
So when we ask someone or a client or customer for a testimonial, we could use some prompts or some questions. So you could ask your customer or client how they felt before they came to you or what was the reason for reaching out or for buying your product that might bring in some emotion. And then afterwards, what changes did they see or how did they feel after they used your product or service?
Now we can see that this sort of video testimonial is hugely popular in paid advertising at the moment. So if you have a look at the Facebook Ads library or the Meta Ads library, you'll see that most businesses are using, well, not most, but many businesses are using these video testimonials in their paid advertising just because how powerful they are.
Right next, building on from that testimonial, another way we can tell stories in our social media is using a case study. So case study is like the ultimate story for your business. It's much more in depth than the testimonial and it usually provides like a really detailed description of the problem or the challenge that your client or customer has and then the solution so that's your product or service and then the results or the outcomes that they achieved. Sorry, case studies usually use some kind of evidence to back up those claims, like they might be before and after photos or data, figures, percentages, something that really explains black and white the outcome that they achieved.
Now obviously the purpose of a case study is just to demonstrate the effectiveness of your product or service in like a real world setting. Now again, video really powerful for case studies. Or of course you can have a written case study that you include on your website. Then you can post your social media linking back to that case study on your website. So you can provide a little taster, maybe pull out some quotes from it, summarize it, link it back to your website.
Okay, last up of my tips for using storytelling in your social media marketing is sharing personal stories or anecdotes. Now this can be really tricky for some business owners who prefer to kind of hide behind their brand and not show themselves. But I feel like you're missing out on a big opportunity here. By sharing your personal stories and experiences, you're going to build a deeper connection with your audience. You're going to humanize your brand. You're going to have people remembering who you are and how you are connected with your business. Now, of course, we're going to want to link this back to your brand story. You can show evidence of how your life aligns with those values, what you do in your personal life, and how that sort of links through to your business values or your business brand story.
Don't be afraid to share the behind the scenes or the story of how you started out. You can share stories about the hurdles you've overcome, times of real challenge in your business, times of triumph, the winds, milestones, all sorts of things. I mean, even Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, shared a photo dump of his Christmas in Hawaii this past Christmas, complete with kids in matching PJs, present opening and a beautiful sunrise. It's like we're right there with you, Adam.
But a little reminder, ensure your anecdotes or your stories, your behind the scenes, make sure that they align with your brand story. If we were thinking back to our example of TOMS shoes, it might not be a great idea to show, I don't know, behind the scenes of a team meeting where everyone is sitting there with disposable coffee cups and food and plastic packaging. Okay, that's not a good example, but you know what I mean. Think about how your story aligns with your brand story.
Okay, let's recap my five tips on how to use storytelling in your social media marketing.
Number one, develop your brand story and weave this through your marketing. Use it kind of as your North Star.
Number two, embrace video. It's effective and powerful for telling stories.
Number three is testimonials. Of course, video is going to be my preference. But even if you can't get video testimonials written, testimonials are great.
Case studies kind of the next level up from testimonials. Really build on that social proof and social influence.
And then lastly, weaving those personal anecdotes or sharing those personal behind the scenes stories into your marketing as well.
Now, I would love it if you would be happy to share with me some examples of your own successful storytelling and social media. Come and find me. I'm on Facebook instagram and TikTok @socialsmarty.co and I'm Jodine McIntyre on LinkedIn.
Now, before I head off, let me finish with a little story for you. On Friday morning, I woke up and I reached for my phone on my bedside table, as I do most mornings, and I had an Instagram notification. It was from a username I didn't recognize and it was a private message from a lady called Jane. So she was reaching out just to let me know how much she enjoys my podcast. As I read the message, a big smile came across my face. Jane had gone out of her way to search me on Instagram and write me a private message. I was so chuffed. Now imagine me smiling away or reading the review you've left me on Apple podcast or seeing that I have another five star review on Spotify. It honestly makes me smile so much. Do you think you could do that for me? I would really appreciate it.
Until next time, stay social, you.