We’re all familiar with storytelling as a form of entertainment. Friends huddled around a campfire sharing spooky or personal stories. The comforting ritual of tucking your little ones into bedtime stories. Tales of inspiration where good triumphs over evil and love conquers. What about storytelling for persuasion?Stories can tap into our emotions. Maya Angelou once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Likewise, taking your audience on a journey with you allows you to quickly lead them to your brand with just the right amount of time for them to get invested.One of the highly effective modes of persuasion is Pathos or, plainly put - tugging at the heartstrings. However, you may not as commonly know the science behind this phenomenon. In a study by NPR (National Public Radio), it was found that as you hear a story unfold, your brain waves start to synchronize with those of the storyteller, according to Uri Hasson, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University. This gives us the power to connect, change perspective, and initiate action.
Storytelling as a powerful marketing tool isn't new, but why use it on social media? It's the perfect marriage of reach and captivation. Stories humanize your brand, allowing your audience to relate and resonate with your message. This builds trust and loyalty in a sea of mindless scrolling of ads with pushy messaging.Social media allows you to get the same story across in different ways and to different demographics. It's a great way to connect with your current reach, increase brand awareness, and gain new followers.
The first platform that comes to mind is Facebook, with its 2.94 billion users.
An account that has done this well isHumans of New York, which has gained over 20 million followers, telling the personal stories of strangers on the streets of New York City.
The second is Instagram, with 2 billion active users.
An excellent example of visual storytelling is local San Antonio photographer Devin Travieso’s account, Wayfarer Photography. His captions share memorable moments and uplifting sentiments - sharing the overall human experience.
Finally, YouTube has the highest reach, with a demographic of ages 15-35 and over 2 billion active users.
Whichever platforms you use to share your story, make sure your narrative is consistent across them all. This doesn’t mean you always have to tell the story of your business, but it ensures your audience can recognize you from a long post from a quick video clip. Once you understand the “why” behind your brand and what sets it apart from your competitors, the easier it will be conveyed in your tone across multiple media.Understanding your audience and brand lets you know the core message your followers are expecting. Building consumer personas is a tool that will help you identify the type of person who is most likely to engage with your content. And finally, don’t be afraid to show vulnerability. This is one of the most relatable emotions in human nature and lets others see the actual people behind the brand.
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