July 23, 2018 By Cecile Amalfi, Agency Marketing Intern

Storytelling has always played an important role in successful marketing campaigns. Everyone remembers the first Apple commercial “1984”, released during the Super Bowl. The ad started with a young woman breaking the codes of society and setting humankind free of the dictatorship of Big Brother. Even if you didn’t understand the deeper meaning of the ad at the time it probably made you feel something and more importantly it successfully communicated what Apple is about- a company that’s not afraid to challenge the status quo.

Apple commercial “1984”

Apple commercial “1984”

As demonstrated by Apple three decades ago, stories provide context and meaning, they are relatable and touching. Because it allows you to create a connection, storytelling should be at the heart of any social media strategy. People don’t want to be sold to, they want businesses to represent their values and symbolize their goals. Every story is unique and the ability to effectively communicate your own is extremely valuable.

Digital Operative’s expertise includes both strategy and digital marketing, in this article, we will list a few tips to help you create your own narrative and successfully communicate it through Instagram.

Define the message

Try to define in one sentence, or less, what your brand narrative is. You can draw your inspiration from your mission statement or values to define your narrative. Patagonia is a great example of a brand who uses storytelling to present its brand. The company specializes in sustainable outdoor clothing and accessories. In an effort to create cohesion between their products and their values, they post beautiful high-quality images of nature with powerful captions that support said values.

Patagonia Image via Patagonia

Share Stories About Real People

Whether it’s introducing your employees or sharing a customer’s experience, the art of using stories of real people will provide your Instagram followers with authentic real content. This approach gives new customers insight into who your audience is and the kind of community they will be interacting with if they become one of your customers. Airbnb recently started the #AirbnbExperience that promotes activities travelers can take part in with locals. This campaign is great for multiple reasons, it allows the company to communicate their narrative, after all they are in the business of unique experiences and exciting adventures around the world, they share compelling stories of the life of locals, and they show the value of the service they offer in a very visual and esthetic way. Just like Airbnb does it, create your own branded hashtag to share your company’s story, it will help you organize your content and allow Instagram users to follow it.

Airbnb Image via Airbnb

Curate user-generated content

Brands wouldn’t be brands without their customers, so it’s only fair to let them have a part in your story. Look at the pictures your company gets tagged in, there might be a great touching customer story waiting for you! If your brand doesn’t get tagged by your customers check the top trending hashtags in your industry and repurpose some of the content you find. Just remember if you are going to take this route, you must always give credit to the original owner. Best practices would suggest reaching out to the owner of a piece of content and asking permission to use it.

Letterfolk Image via Letterfolk

Give your customer access to behind-the-scenes

Who wouldn’t want to know how some of the best brands work behind-the-scenes (BTS)? Or what’s it’s like to be an employee of a company with a great office culture? BTS is a great way to reinforce authenticity. You can decide when and where, as well as the tone you want to use in the content you share, funny and witty or professional and technical, just focus on what you want your customers to know about the personality of your brand. Stories on Instagram are a great way to start if you don’t want to fully commit to sharing BTS content, use it to take a quick video of your brand’s workspace, film a proprietary process or a product in the making!

TAKEAWAYS

If you need to remember one thing (actually three) about implementing an Instagram strategy using storytelling, remember this:

  1. Be honest about who you are and define a clear message that will be communicated through every piece of content you post.
  2. Connect with users on an emotional level, just like Patagonia connects with its users on environmental causes.
  3. Create an imaginary narrative journey, either visually or verbally, where users take part in an experience.

Want an award-winning agency to help you elevate your social media strategy? Contact us to schedule a time to chat. Related articles: Social Media Tips & Tools to Boost Commerce Marketing

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