As we near the end of 2023, what’s the one social media marketing campaign that has stood out for you this year? It could be Barbie’s incredibly viral campaign for the movie that had people sharing their pictures on the movie poster created with their AI-powered selfie generator. Or you might have been impressed by one of Charlie D’Amelio’s collaborations on TikTok.
If we talk about the first one, you may remember everyone, including celebrities and influencers sharing their photos on the Barbie poster with a catchy headline. This certainly added to the hype around the movie with the second movie trailer generating around 18 million engagements on social media platforms.
Image Source: comscore.com
This is the power of social media marketing campaigns and brands are not far behind in leveraging it. So, with the content being pushed out right left, and center, how do you manage to capture the attention of your audience? Simple, with storytelling. Let’s take a look at some of the techniques you can use to kickstart your social media marketing campaigns.
Elevate Your Social Media Marketing Campaigns with 7 Storytelling Techniques
We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling. – Jimmy Neil Smith
What makes your marketing message connect with the audience? It could be the way you convey it or your strategy that convinces people to take another look. If we focus on how you can make an impact with your campaign, storytelling is one of the first things that come to mind. But, with that also, you need to think of techniques or strategies that make your social media marketing campaign viral.
If you are thinking about where to begin, here are some great storytelling techniques to kickstart your social media marketing campaigns.
1. Create a Relatable Character
What works better than a main character for a story? Probably, very few things. When it comes to successful storytelling techniques, this one works wonders. Creating a character that your audience can keep coming back to is a great way to get them talking about your brand on social media platforms. Make it relatable, and interesting and build a narrative that gets people hooked immediately.
You can look around you for inspiration and introduce a relatable character for your social media marketing campaign that has similar traits to a colleague or family member. Pop culture references are also appealing to audiences, particularly millennials and Gen Z.
The character could be named after someone in a popular movie or TV series or maybe someone who people can easily relate to or find in their workplaces, within family, or friends.
There’s a lot that you can do with a main character in your storytelling campaign. Just take the example of ALDI, the popular grocery store chain in the UK. The brand introduced a character by the name of Kevin the Carrot in 2016, for a Christmas ad. Now, seven years later, it has become closely associated with the company and is loved by people of all ages in the country.
The character has become incredibly memorable and is considered a mascot of ALDI. He is often found playing out popular movie plots like Home Alone and Orient Express. Kevin has friends, a love interest, and even a social media account!
Katies closet is berry full – maybe she does! https://t.co/m8wVdB6hQS
— Kevin The Carrot (@KevinTheCarrot) November 10, 2023
2. Evoke Emotions with A Strong Narrative
If there is one thing you can count on to get your message across to the audience, it is emotional storytelling. It’s what household brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s have been incorporating in their marketing campaigns. I do say that hardly anything pays off more than stories that evoke emotions and I stand by it.
This is one of the most effective techniques to build a lasting connection with your potential customers. Do you want to stand out from your competitors in a saturated market? This is how you can make that happen in social media marketing. Emotional stories leave a mark on people and increase the memorability factor of a brand.
So, it can be something simple like telling a story through the eyes of a child watching their family interact with each other at the dinner table or in school. Or you can tell a story of an emotional experience that is inspired by a real event or incident.
Orange France launched their Christmas campaign in 2022 for refurbished phones. The idea was to encourage people to consider buying a refurbished device or repairing their old ones to reduce electronic waste. The emotional campaign evoked feelings of joy and happiness as it showed a father and daughter looking for a refurbished phone at an Orange store.
As the salesperson talks about how Santa is putting together the devices with his elves, the little girl begins to imagine them working. Its powerful storytelling evokes all the right emotions and connects with the target audience.
Sacré Père Noël pic.twitter.com/ldPuyUq6ZL
— Orange France (@Orange_France) December 13, 2022
3. Get Behind a Social Message or Cause
You might be able to think of quite a few socially impactful campaigns. Always launched its ‘Like a Girl’ campaign a decade ago and became hugely successful around the globe. It addressed the common stereotypes around girls and women and encouraged them to share their achievements with the hashtag #likeagirl. You may even have come across this a few times on Instagram or Twitter.
Showing support for a social cause or promoting a meaningful message is a great storytelling technique that can help you connect with different demographics of consumers. It could be just the right way to kickstart your social media marketing campaign.
Look for a cause or issue that aligns with your brand message like Dove has done with its ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. It is timeless and can engage both young and adult audiences.
Dove ran another game-changing campaign with their hashtag #ReverseSelfie. This brought to light the negativity that young girls have to face on social media and the constant pressure put on them to look a certain way.
The beauty brand launched its self-esteem project and involved people from all walks of life to participate as well. It is a great example of how highlighting a social message in a social media marketing campaign can be effective for reconnecting with audiences.
4. Leverage UGC with an Interactive Campaign
User-generated content is still one of the most successful ways to push out your product or service to the relevant customer base. But since everyone is doing it, how can you be different with your social media marketing campaign? Well, there are a lot of ways. Launching an idea or contest that invites people to share their stories or experiences with a particular service or product is one.
Or you can jump on a trending hashtag and add your twist to it. If you think about it, this is how TikTok thrives. Influencers with large following like Charlie and Dixie D’Amelio have become global icons and gone viral on multiple occasions for jumping on to different trends.
You can encourage your target audience to participate in a giveaway or contest and generate buzz for your brand on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook. Think of ideas that are unique and convince people to join in. Look at how Airbnb does this time and again and keeps everyone talking with its UGC campaigns.
If you want to find more examples for inspiration, then what better than this one? It’s one of my favorite UGC campaigns on social media in the last two years. Goldfish Crackers is known for its friendly and engaging social media marketing strategies that target its audience who are mostly teens between the ages of 13 to 17.
The company launched its new Ketchup flavor with the announcement of a game that challenged the attention span of teenagers. Goldfish incorporated AR in a game to create an immersive experience for young consumers on Snapchat.
It partnered up with the platform to introduce a focus lens that allowed teens to participate in a game of fixing their attention on a goldfish for nine seconds. If their attention, they were directed to a discount code. This proved to be highly successful for the brand and what a way to get teens talking about your product!
5. Go Behind the Scenes to Show Authenticity
Humanize your product or service with behind-the-scenes stories. People are always going to be interested in the origin story of a company or brand. You can highlight the struggles or challenges of creating a product and appeal to the emotions of potential customers. This not only shows authenticity but also helps build a positive perception of your brands in their minds.
So, brainstorm ideas and find ways to tell behind-the-scenes stories with a narrative. Create a series of short videos or visual posts for your social media marketing campaign that tell the story of your business.
You can include characters in it too. This is a good way to get people to understand your company’s vision and resonate with the message.
If you want to get more people involved, take your storytelling a step further by showing real people and drawing attention to their achievements and failures. You could include employees, friends, or even customers who want to share real experiences with others.
Intel does behind-the-scenes storytelling incredibly well on various platforms. I found different visually appealing posts on their Instagram page that tell the stories of the people that make Intel what it is today. For National Inventors Month, the company featured one of its star employees who shared the story of how they made communication accessible for everyone.
Similarly, Intel regularly puts the spotlight on their employees on their social media pages and shares behind-the-scenes stories of innovations. It helps the audiences connect with the people who are driving the company and relate to them as well.
6. Solve A Problem with Your Products or Services
Do you want to tell a story but also focus on your product or solution? Well, this is it! Your social media marketing strategy can be product-led and also capture the attention of the people from the beginning. Think of companies like MailChimp using their mascot to highlight the features of their solutions.
While you don’t have to do something similar, you can build a narrative around your primary product or service. Show how you can solve a very real problem for your target customer in a way that keeps the audience hooked without coming across as promotional content.
This way you not only draw focus to your company but also convince people to choose your products over competitors in the market. For e-commerce businesses, there are quite a few branding ideas for retail startups to kickstart their social media marketing campaigns.
Companies like Gymshark are winning TikTok as they show how their product is unique with informative videos. In the end, the key is showing how a problem or issue can be resolved engagingly.
Microsoft Teams is no stranger to us today. And while it may not have been that popular before the COVID-19 pandemic, the solution certainly took off during the last three years. At the peak of the pandemic, Zoom seemed to have taken over the virtual communication industry and Microsoft Teams had to compete with their popularity. And I think that was what led to the burst of creativity behind the ‘Ticket to Tokyo’ ads.
It was a strong social media marketing campaign that focused on the way Teams was taking people to Tokyo during the Olympics that were held in 2021. The games were held in a bubble and as nobody was able to travel or attend any sporting event, Microsoft Teams ran a campaign to show people could visit virtually.
The campaign highlighted how people in different countries could connect and take a look at their favorite places and make new friends too. It created an engaging narrative around the product and solved a problem for potential users efficiently.
Travelers couldn’t get to Tokyo this summer. But they still got to see and experience the city through Microsoft Teams. By switching from PC to mobile, they even went shopping for vintage clothing in Shibuya. https://t.co/qy61mBtVp1 pic.twitter.com/yCQKVnUpyC
— Microsoft Teams (@MicrosoftTeams) August 5, 2021
7. Add a Humorous Twist
The fastest way to get people to notice your brand and kickstart your social media marketing campaign is humor. Now, I am not just talking about sharing a few memes on your Instagram or Facebook page. Add humor to your storytelling and create a great first impression. You can find inspiration in trending meme formats or include personal experiences.
There are quite a few brands that have generated millions of impressions and engagement by creating humorous memes that showcase their product or services as well. But make sure that the format you follow in your story aligns with your brand identity and message.
A financial advisory company for instance should not be creating humorous content around bad investments. Create humorous content that resonates with people and makes them think of your business later too. If you go out of your way to make it interesting and humorous, you may end up losing your audience.
Now, I love Duolingo’s TikTok page and you are about to see why. They have nailed humorous storytelling and added their twist on popular meme formats and trends in just the right way. Their mascot, Duo, is the main character and the entire narrative is built around it. You can see the bird in various scenarios in each post.
It also interacts with people and answers their questions as Duo. All of this keeps the attention on Duolingo’s core purpose which is to encourage people to learn different languages. I think this is a great way to keep people entertained and enhance your storytelling technique.
These are some of the storytelling techniques to kickstart your social media marketing campaigns. If you are looking for ideas to establish your presence on any platform, you can look at how some of the brands above have done it. Make sure that you have all your visual assets before you start working on your social media marketing strategy.
Get a professionally designed logo and set up a website that can be linked to different accounts so that people can easily be directed to the products or find more information. Be dedicated to your social media management and engage with people regularly as that is what can make your marketing campaign successful.
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