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We use storytelling every day. It’s how as humans we can understand one another, connect, and develop empathy.

When you first meet a new acquaintance for coffee you often find yourself telling the story of who you are. If you’re pitching your company, that is another story too. When you approach your marketing and social media do you stop to realize the story you’re telling?

Social media is very much the voice of your company. It’s how you can engage and interact with potential customers every day. Through my work with clients no matter their size and industry, whenever storytelling is used with marketing we’ve seen higher brand recognition and social engagement.

 

How to Use Storytelling in Social Media

 

Being with your story. There is always a beginning to the story. It helps to start with a few questions here. Often, there is an interesting story somewhere and it can being with why. Why did you start this business? Why did you choose to be here? Why do you love the work you do? What values do you strive to show most? Start to answer these questions to delve into the story of why your company exists and what it’s brand should stand for.

Now, what’s the larger story you want to tell? Everyone is a part of a larger story. An audience can connect easier to brand when it taps into timeless themes. For example, a coffee shop owner may care about sustainability. The beans have an entire story of their arrival to the coffee shop, and this may speak to the customers considering their product. The timeless themes we can associate with this might be creating independence through supporting farmers, or creating community through shared food and experiences.

In Detroit, we’re telling the story of entrepreneurship and creativity through our entrepreneurial hub Bamboo Detroit. So, what’s the larger story? Its the story of the American Dream in a new context and a new economy. We help exemplify this through all our content and messaging.

Use people, product, and place for series. Now that you’ve began to understand the values you care about and the larger story you might want to tell, narrow it down into a series of messaging and content for social media. Think about how you can show the theme and story through people, product, and place. You can profile customers, showcase the product in a way that highlights the theme, or the why the place is important to the brand.

For us, we’ll tell the story of an entrepreneur getting started, why they want to be in Detroit, and how we’ve helped them grow. This attracts more entrepreneurs and like-minded customers to join our entrepreneurial community. You can creative videos, blogs, or social media graphics to help showcase the story.

Allow social media to encourage your brand storytelling. So, maybe you already do this with your marketing. What next? Are you encouraging others to tell the story you want associated with your brand? Think about questions you can ask, issues the audience cares about, and how you can enable them to be your brand ambassador.

For a local coffee shop we encouraged others to show their drink or their work using a hashtag #Atcafeconleche. Their photos were then showcased on the website and social media channels. What can you do to encourage people to use storytelling in social media?

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See also: 5 Tips To Become A Social Media Expert in 2015