What is Digital Storytelling for Social Media Video and Ads?

September 25, 2019


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What is digital storytelling?

Content will always be king, ask any digital marketing agency. What’s missing in most content portal today is storytelling. Content on its own could mean a lot of things, could be video, text, photo or a combination of all mediums. Text alone can be empty, and without a silver lining, it will remain unseen and unheard, and won't create a single impactful ripple among our audience in the online market.

Stories are the oldest form of exchanging information from continents to the other side of the world. Everyone enjoys listening to compelling stories, as the storyteller delivers to the right ears. Over a quick snack, on the train, or on social networks, good digital stories are what captures us out of our day to day, even if it’s just for a moment on our devices.

A story outlines different experiences, the challenges faced, the solutions applied, and the helping hands along the way. With your mobile device, these digital stories can take your mind to another place, time and mood in an instant. This article explores how the greatest storytellers can teach us to apply this art to our own digital stories.

Digital storytelling is about organizing and shaping the elements of a story across digital channels to allow their audience to draw from them, capture a truth about the organization, understand the corporate values represented, and most importantly, digital storytelling is about evoking wonder.

In the buzz of online marketing, digital storytelling aims to capture your audience still for a brief moment in their busy day and leave an impression.

How to Make Storytelling in Marketing Work for You

Storytelling makes for more interesting posts, videos, images, and texts, but there’s real science behind why we engage more in marketing that has a good storytelling element.

1. Stories engage multiple parts of the brain and can even synchronize the brains of the listener and the person telling the story, according to Greg J. Stephens, Lauren J. Silbert, and Uri Hasson. In their report, Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication.

“The results showed that not only did all of the listeners show similar brain activity during the story, but the speaker and the listeners also had very similar brain activity despite the fact that one person was producing language and the others were comprehending it.”

2. Stories often provoke emotions in us, which leads us to get emotionally involved and we also picture details more vividly. Surely you can remember a funny, sad or thought-provoking story. However, if you are to repeat facts or statistics from the last presentation you watched, it might be pretty challenging to do. Remember the last content you have read, watched, liked, commented on, or shared on social media, the chances are it was because it provoked an emotional response of some sort.

3. When a story is well-told, it can increase oxytocin or also known as the “love hormone”, which leads to a greater feeling of trust in brands. There is a famous phrase among digital marketers, “for a customer to buy from you, they must know, like and trust you”.

4. Brands that utilize storytelling in their marketing campaigns develop genuine relationships with their target audience, especially if the story is one that the prospect can deeply relate with. You want them to either absorb the story, empathize with it or aspire to tell their own story like that!

5. Storytelling keeps the audience wanting for more. If your social media assets are filled with impactful stories rather than just dry, redundant, and singular informational posts, then your audience will keep heading back to your page to follow and enjoy your content.

3 Essential Things for Successful Social Media Storytelling

Before you start storytelling, there are three essential things to consider regarding how to share a digital story on your social media platforms.


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1. Deeply Know Your Audience

This is fundamental - you must understand your targeted and potential customers as deeply as you possibly can. You can create content the best stories in the world, but if they don’t resonate with your potential customers, you won’t get the results you need.

2. Use Your Customers’ Tone of Voice

To have your digital stories resonating across your target customers, then speaking in their tone of voice is the key to engage with them. Ideally, your potential customer will absorb your content and feel like they wrote it themselves!

You can interview existing and potential customers through email or phone - ask them specific emotion-based questions like how they feel about a certain product feature or piece of content. Note the exact words they use and include them in your stories.

3. Make your Customers the Hero of Your Story

Every digital storytelling guru will always advise you that making your customer the hero of the story is far more successful than making it all about you and your business. Always make the customer the center of the story and tell it from their point of view so they can deeply relate and build trust with your brand genuinely.

Let’s uncover some secrets from digital storytellers that helped them succeed.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

1) Make it short and bursting with creativity.

If your story takes too long to explain, chances are people will skip it and find something more interesting. Your digital stories should be short enough to understand and original enough to captivate people. In today’s noisy online world, the stories that get shared the most are the ones that can be passed on easily, interesting, and impressive to consume. On our years of experience, video content has been rated as the best content in delivering your stories across all online platforms and will dominate all other forms in the coming years.

2) Build brand followers with a unique experience, not just a story.

Even though you want to produce captivating web copy to hook people in and convert engagement into transactions, creating a unique experience for website visitors or social media followers may exceed transactional benefits. It could spark a positive discussion about your brand over popular social networks, cause a spike in web traffic, and even conversion, which has been a trend recently.

3) Improve your stories often and make sure they sit well with your audience.

Only those brands who “made it” in the past were able to test and improve their storytelling abilities because they had the required resources like time and capital to do so. This has recently changed with the availability of data analytics platforms available on the web. It’s easy to find out which blog posts, web pages, multimedia, and so on, work and which ones need adjustment in scaling. The ultimate goal is to find out what stops people in their tracks; which really captures their full attention.

With all these in mind and reaching this part, we too have captured your full attention and engaged your attention in improving your brand storytelling, multimedia presentation, and strategies across all your social media assets. No doubt you will also capture your potential audience after carefully planning your own strategy and approach based on the information above.

Best of luck and we look forward to being captured by your impactful digital stories soon!