Social media storytelling done right

13 March 2023

Storytelling. Many see it as a buzzword that has been thrown around too often in recent years. But storytelling is much more than that. It is a powerful tool to differentiate your brand and connect with your target audience. And what better way to connect online than through social media?


What is storytelling?

Before we dive deep into storytelling on social media, let's briefly dip into its meaning.

In terms of marketing, storytelling refers to conveying one or more messages using a credible story that is relevant to your target audience. The aim of storytelling is to make your target audience understand and remember your message and—more importantly—create an (emotional) connection with your brand, your products and/or services.

Why should you think about social media storytelling?

These days, social media is the best way to reach people and organisations and share your message with your target audience. If you know how to deliver your message with a strong and sincere story, it significantly improves your success on social media. And there are several reasons behind the power of storytelling.

  • People love stories. Stories have been a natural part of our lives since time immemorial. They have the power to engage us and help us remember a message. By using stories, you will capture the attention of your target audience and your message will stick.

  • Stories are moving. With a good - and above all credible - story, you convey your message in a more personal way. You appeal to the emotions of your target audience, which will lead to a better and deeper connection with your brand.

  • Stories humanise your brand. In the digital age, people are increasingly distancing themselves from traditional advertising. With storytelling, you reduce that distance. You show that your brand is made up of real people with real problems that your target audience also recognises. This ultimately leads to more trust and loyalty among your target group.

How to find the right story? Start with your audience

Telling the right story makes a big difference to your brand. But how do you find the right story?

Before you start brainstorming about possible concepts, it is important to start by taking a look at your target audience. What do they care about? What are their needs and interests? What kind of stories do they want to hear?

By starting with your target audience, you can tailor your message to them and create relevant stories. Think about how your product or service can help your target audience and respond to that need.

Pick the right story for the right channel

Have you found the right story for your brand and target audience? Then the next step is to find the right channel for your story or tailor your story to the channel you want to deliver it on.

After all, people are on social media for different reasons. For instance, people use Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends. Instagram and TikTok, on the other hand, are used to share photos and videos, get inspired and be entertained. Do you want to share your message on one of these last two channels? Then don't choose a serious or businesslike message.

Furthermore, some channels are also more fit for short and quick stories, while others are better for long, detailed stories.

Take a good look at what kind of content others are sharing on the channel you want to use and try to shape your own message and story accordingly. Test out different things to see what resonates best with your target audience.

Deliver an authentic and believable story

When telling a story, it is important to remain authentic as a brand or company. People are looking for recognisable elements and sincerity on social media. If your story is implausible or your message is not aligned with your brand, you will immediately fall through the cracks. Avoid sly marketing techniques at all costs.

So - when you start shaping your story - think carefully about what you stand for as a brand and what your tone of voice is. Your story should ultimately enhance and strengthen your brand awareness. Make sure the story you bring is also one that your brand believes in.

How can you bring your story to life?

Most social media is focused on visual elements. Messages are often most effective when combined with visuals such as photos, videos and infographics. They make your message understandable and powerful. 

It is important to present your story in a visually appealing way. You can do this in several ways.

  • Share behind-the-scenes footage. Show how your brand or company works and give your target audience a look behind the scenes. This helps people to get to know your brand and make your brand more human.

  • Share customer stories. Let customers do the talking and let them share their own stories about how your brand has helped them. This helps make your brand more personal and build rapport with your target audience.

  • Share brand stories. Tell the story of your brand itself, from when you founded it until now. This helps your target audience understand your brand and its purpose, and shows where your brand comes from.

Keep your goal in mind

Finally, it is important to think about your objectives before you start telling your story on social media.

What is the purpose of the story or stories you want to bring? Do they need to humanise your brand? Or do you want to show how your product or service can help solve a problem?

Determining the purpose of your social media storytelling will help you plan and share stories that are aligned with your own goals.

Social media storytelling: this is how you do it

Want to engage your target audience and make your brand more alluring? Then keep these things in mind when you start social media storytelling:

  • Map the needs of your target audience.

  • Exploit the strengths of the channel you are using.

  • Know what your brand stands for.

  • Create visually appealing content.

  • Keep your (main) goal in mind.

Brecht Machiels
Brecht Machiels

Brecht works at the intersection of creative and performance campaigns. As a strategist, he brings value to organisations every day by helping them navigate the landscape of digital marketing and branding.

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