Leading up to my big talk on ideas for visual storytelling at the 2017 SM Tulsa Social Business Conference later this week, I thought I’d share why storytelling on social media is so effective.

Before diving right in I want to encourage you to attend 2017 SM Tulsa if you are in the area. It’s going to be a blast!

Storytelling is Effective

There are many tools and strategies for growing your social media. However, there is one that is often overlooked, that is the power of storytelling.

Brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Dove, to name a few are incredibly successful at storytelling in social media.

Why is storytelling so effective? There are several reasons but I am going to narrow it down to 3 key factors.

Storytelling is Human Nature

The first thing to understand is that storytelling is human nature, it is an inherited trait. In fact, our ability to tell stories predates the written word.

Author Philip Pullman said that “After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

Sharing to Group

Storytelling is a part of how we communicate

Storytelling is a part of our lives, we are constantly telling stories to each other, it is how we naturally communicate with others. Think about it when you get home you tell your family the story of your day. When someone asks for your advice you tell the story of a past experience.

Entrepreneur and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk says that “No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.” Whether you’re a creator, blogger, entrepreneur or whatever, you are telling a story.

Storytelling Creates Value

Storytelling provides context, in other words, it is an easy way to understand what your brand is all about.

Take Coca-Cola for example, their mission is “To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions”.  While we might not know their mission word for word, through the use of storytelling they give us context.

Coca Cola's Instagram

Quick look at Coca Cola’s Instagram feed

Storytelling doesn’t just work for big brands. Abi of The Crafty Pinup does a great job of this on her Instagram page. She tells a story of her projects, posting an image of the pattern and fabric, works in progress and final garment.

Abi from the Crafty Pinup

Abi does a great job telling her sewing story

Good stories can also encourage engagement because you start to have an investment in the story. You want to know what happens next.

Storytelling also allows you put a new spin on things. While your product or service might not be novel, your perspective in your storytelling can make your brand unique.

Storytelling Stimulates the Brain

Have you ever had a hard time in school with subjects like science and math? There may be a scientific reason why. Both of those topics focus on facts and data. When we are given facts and data two areas of the brain are activated: the one that intakes the information, and the one that processes it.

However, if we are told a story far more parts of the are activated. This happens through a process called neural coupling, which allows us to relate the story back to our own ideas and experiences

Simply said we now become more engaged when we are told a story and we can remember that story far easier than just those facts and data.

Fast Company wrote an article on the topic of why our brains crave storytelling. Along with that, they shared amazing infographic detailing the science of storytelling from onespot.com.

Science of Storytelling

Snippet of Science of Storytelling infographic from onespot.com

Storytelling on Social Media

I’ve already mentioned how storytelling stimulates the brain and encourages engagement. Interestingly enough social media is all about engagement. Therefore, it just makes sense that social media is a great platform for storytelling.

As I said before storytelling is a powerful tool and I encourage you to start utilizing it within your social posts. If you feel like you don’t know where to start, good news. In this ongoing series, I’ll be sharing some storytelling strategies, elements of a good story and more.

What questions do you have about storytelling on social media? How have you implemented storytelling to your social media?

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