5 Ways to Tell Your Brand’s Stories on Social Media

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The following is a guest post by Al Gomez. Al is a digital marketing consultant. He is the President of Dlinkers, and he specializes in SEO, PPC, & web development since 2008. Al has over 10 years’ client digital marketing experience and has helped businesses such as Dr. Berg, Patexia, Panel Wall Art, the Ritz Carlton, and countless others use the web to drive online visibility and generate leads.

Storytelling on social media is all the rage nowadays…

As consumers and target audiences trust sales pitches and product descriptions less and less, there is a greater need for brands to up the ante when it comes to engagement. Technology has evolved so much that interacting with brands have never been easier. But horrible experiences also abound. (Need I mention what they are?)

There is a solution to this kind of predicament, and it comes in the form of storytelling.

Storytelling and Human Nature

We’ll discuss storytelling and psychology in just a minute…

But first, and foremost, let me ask this question.

As a child, how fond of storytelling were you? In any shape, method, or form, any child would have been fascinated with the stories that they heard (or read; or seen). And even as an adult, that love for hearing stories hasn’t diminished. Although it’s morphed into a different form, the affinity that we have for hearing an introduction, a climax, and a resolution hasn’t changed at all.

Now, let’s step back from the modern era for a bit…

Imagine how people of the old days lived their lives. Without technology, how did people entertain themselves?

They played games, listened to music, and yes, they told stories. Lots of them.

In the words of Psychology Today's Pamela B. Rutledge Ph.D., M.B.A., "Our brains still respond to content by looking for the story to make sense out of the experience. No matter what the technology, the meaning starts in the brain."

Why, you might ask? Simply put, stories are the perfect example of authentic human experiences.

Stories are so powerful because:

  • It is a form of communication. It's very primitive, and yet, it has transcended the generations.

  • Stories represent a larger self and universal truths.

  • They are all about connection and collaboration.

  • Stories are how people think. It's how we make sense of life, isn't it?

  • It's how, we, as humans are wired.

  • ●       They trigger our imagination by engaging the right brain.

Is it such a big wonder why a lot of brands take to storytelling on social media?

Storytelling Formats on Social Media

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Thanks to technology evolving above more than what we had hoped for, brands and marketers no longer have an excuse to create stories that are bland and unappealing…

There are so many methods to tell stories nowadays, that it’s just up to us to delve deeper and come up with creative methods to indulge our viewers and audiences in our storytelling.

Besides technology (ranging from smartphones to virtual reality headsets), the number of platforms to share these stories have also increased in number (from print to stories on search engines to ones on social media networks).

Telling your brand’s stories on social media can be done through:

  • Videos: It’s how people prefer to consume content nowadays.

  • Images: A nod to visual content once again.

  • Posts: Something motivational or inspirational. Even captions do excellent work and pack a punch when combined with visual content.

  • Podcasts: Audio appeal, and a good way for people to entertain themselves while doing other things.

How to Tell Your Brand’s Stories on Social Media

The formats and the method of distributing your compelling stories matter, of course. But none are as important as the message you wish to convey to your target audience. What do you want your target audience to know? How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do afterwards?

To evoke certain responses from your chosen audience, here are five methods to tell your brand’s stories on social media.

#1 Show real people

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In today's mode of storytelling, it's best to show real people working behind the company -- not just the brand logo or the company name (though that’s important too). From the first to the last link of the business.

Showing what goes on behind-the-scenes is no longer breakthrough news -- by any means. But showing what happens within the company walls, and how products are made -- or how services operate conveys more than authenticity. It fosters transparency and honesty.

Do you know how you can make it even better?

You can spice up your storytelling by letting members of team tell a story from their point-of-view. That's how you show different perspectives, and display your brand in a bright light, at the same time.

With full discretion, don't hesitate to show the big life-changing events happening in your company. From something as simple as an office renovation to events as grand as a product launch.

Tell your audience all about it!

#2 Uncover Your Origins

Another classic method of doing your storytelling -- or a good material you should use, is your company's complete background information. History isn't always the most interesting to a lot of people. But in this case, it's safe to say that it's an exception.

It's especially beneficial if your brand has been around a while, and it's been gradually gaining a lot of engagement. That's a perfect time to share company history with an audience who's interested in learning the company's beginnings.

Company histories are authenticity and encouragement rolled into one. It's you telling your audience that reaching your dreams is perfectly possible.

It's the business version of a Disney fairytale…

#3 Encourage User-generated Content

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Do you know what's more valuable and engaging than your own stories? Your audiences'.

User-generated content comes in three different forms:

  • Customer feedback: That's the most common type of user-generated content. It fosters engagement as your customers ask questions and get answers in return -- either from you or your other clients.

  • Reviews and ratings: These are more straightforward. And they come in either positive or negative. Numerous studies show that peer reviews go a very long way to up your business' credibility.

  • Pictures and screenshots: Pictures for B2C; screenshots for B2B. Image-proof goes a long way and is as powerful as the first two UGCs mentioned. It complements the other two, and adds another level of trust and transparency to the brand.

Encouraging and magnifying user-generated content tells a story all its own. And the best part? It's a story from your customers or clients that tells others how they feel about your business and your product; how they see it, and how they interpret the message that your business advocates.

#4 Highlight Your Corporate Social Responsibility or Advocacy

There's a thin line between tooting your own horn to look good, and sharing company resources with others while genuinely caring for the people and living things who need special assistance. When you're involved in doing social responsibilities, tell your audience about it.

Only do it, however, if you truly do care about a particular cause. Don't do it for the wrong reasons...

However, showing your target audience and the world that you have a stand on a particular issue shows everyone that you have values and advocacy that you uphold. Consequently, it’s a message that reflects in the products that you sell as well.

#5 Get Meme-ing

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There's an underdog among social media marketing methods. I won't ask people to hazard a guess, because I'll come right out and say it anyway...

Ladies and gents, we are living in an age of memes -- the most popular form of expression online and an integral part of pop culture. We'd be fools to ignore this marketing tactic any longer.

There's no long list of reasons for companies to start using memes. In fact, there's probably only two that will sum it up completely.

First, and foremost, memes fit seamlessly into social media platforms so well. They spread like a wildfire -- as a result. Second, humans these days are characterized with short attention spans. A meme's upfront nature makes it the perfect medium for quick consumption.

Memes are like inside jokes everybody wants to be in on. Why is it so popular among brands? The answer is simple; because they drive traffic and engage the target audiences simultaneously.

Make references to popular culture (The Avengers, ridiculous social issues, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, music stars, etc.) tastefully and tactfully, and you'll be surprised at how much people like it -- as long as its really funny and it's something everybody relates to, of course...

There's also inside memes. Jokes that revolve around your niche are a good way to catch your audience's attention.

Just Take It from Influencers

And when you go back to the root of it all, just take the time to learn from the experts of social media influencing and the basics of marketing…

A lot of mega influencers know how to play their marketing games, and how to engage the audience so flawlessly.

  • By 2019, there will approximately be 2.77 billion social media users worldwide.

  • 84% of consumers make purchases after reading about it (Scrunch).

  • 83% of consumers trust peer recommendations over branded advertising (Nielsen).

They’re not exactly influencers for nothing!

What kind of story do they tell, you ask?

They tell stories of their lives with every social media post. With every life update… In every vlog they do, they tell stories. In some cases, they even stir up drama. And what does the internet do? It consumes it and everybody participates.

I’m not saying you should start a brand scandal or drag an opposing brand to start drama to generate engagement and attention.

The main point I want to drive home is the importance of storytelling…

In Conclusion

Telling your brand's stories on social media is commonplace, and it's everywhere! Storytelling is that kind of entertainment format that hasn't diminished in quality (only increased). Moreover, it's transcended time, and will continued to do so in the generations to come.

A lot of brands nowadays understand that a lot, and everyone is called to constantly adapt. So what's the key?

For 2019 and beyond, storytelling on social networks is the thing. And doing it effectively comes with audience research, creativity, and clever strategizing.

5 Ways Social Media Can Wreak Havoc on Your Business

The following is a guest post by Diana Smith. Diana is a full time mom of two beautiful girls covering the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she is not being to serious and busy she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

It’s not until a brand starts experiencing customer wrath on social media that it would even consider this godsend of a marketing tool to be a potential risk to your business. Unfortunately, as with many things in life as well as business, it’s a double-edged sword; one with the potential to help you conquer the realms of your industry, and one to gloriously self-destruct in the effort to succeed.

The potential benefits and profit that your brand can earn from a solid social media approach most certainly trump the potential poor outcomes, but knowing how to handle or preferably prevent some of the issues may actually be the key to help your brand thrive.

Before one of your novice social media managers causes a company-wide fiasco, or you come across a particularly feisty customer publicly ruining your reputation one post at a time, read on and learn about the best ways to prevent disasters in the world of social media and what to look out for.

Negative reviews

Mind the plural, because a single poor comment on your Facebook post, or a customer with a mildly dissatisfied tone will not truly be any cause for alarm. These simple, somewhat common situations are relatively easy to handle if you have a contingency plan in place, and a way to repay and apologize to the customers in question. More often than not, such a gesture is enough to make things right; even if they might not be a return buyer for your brand, at least there is no permanent damage to your image.

On the other hand, if negative posts, tags, comments and reviews start getting disseminated quickly, this can turn into a wildfire that may just be the one to turn your brand to dust. An ignored complaint can transform into a rant in an instant, while a single unhappy client may cause an uprising in social un-follows for your company. You need to be prepared and your social teams educated to handle complaints and negative reviews, otherwise they are bound to backfire.

Poor branding

With the rise of memes, animations such as gifs, and the relaxed tone of voice that is prevalent on many social networks (sometimes even LinkedIn), there is a time and a place for everything. Depending on your company’s list of services or products, your own language and types of posts can vary from slightly quirky to completely informal, but they should still retain the essence of your brand.

Your business social profiles are not the appropriate channels for expressing personal beliefs, as that will most likely lead to alienating your customers. A great (or terrible is more like it) example would be the KitchenAid tweet during a presidential debate, which was mistakenly posted from the brand’s page, not the personal one of the employee. While they mitigated the crisis quickly, it’s a valuable lesson for many brands out there to keep their professional and their personal thoughts separate.

Ignoring social mentions

It’s commendable that a brand should spend ample time on crafting, fine-tuning, and delivering a slew of consistent, well-branded posts, and make sure that the company is posting such content on relevant networks for their audience. Providing value should be the first and foremost goal of any social media strategy, but even the most experienced of companies should embrace the learning curve and hear what their customers and users have to say. Not doing so can actually result in missed opportunities, mishandled issues, or ones not handled at all.

The fact that approximately 60% of Australia’s population is on Facebook caused brands Down Under to begin implementing their social listening strategies more wisely, and the rest of the world follows suit. The sheer volume of active individuals using social mention monitoring tools can prevent full-scale crises and make the most of any brand mentions across the social realm.

Timing can be everything

While there’s no indication that an institution such as the NRA can get shut down after a poor social media move, there is so much any other commercial brand can learn from them when it comes to social blunders.

With a whole record of poorly-constructed tweets, some of them posted right after another mass shooting, or in an equally sensitive moment for the nation and the world, they are the perfect example of when not to post self-promotional, insensitive posts. It’s not just about following trends and taking care of being up to date with the latest events, but also delivering a brand image that will resonate with your values.

While there is a multitude of “dos” to utilize social media to do good, support your brand’s growth, and help your customers discover your business, it’s equally vital to know the “don’ts” imposed by common sense, as well as best practices on social media. Master them, and you’ll be able to prevent numerous crises, ensure long-term relationships and inspire loyalty.

The Quick and Easy Way to Get More Social Media Followers

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Buy them.

If all you care about is followers, they are not hard to get. There are companies that exist to get your follower numbers up. You can contract with them for hundreds and thousands and millions of new followers.

In addition, if all you care about is followers, you can pay to find them. You can promote posts on Facebook and Instagram that say “follow us”. You can spend as much money as you can find to show your ads to more people and send those people to your Facebook page.

If all you care about is followers, you can promise people who follow you all kinds of things. You can give them free stuff, and send them on luxurious vacations.

If all you care about is followers, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to get them.

But if all you care about is followers, you are doing something wrong. Because successful marketers and business owners care about more than followers. They care about outcomes. And the only reason they care about followers is because there is a strategy to turn those followers into customers, and customers into advocates.

And if you care about outcomes, like you should, there is no quick and easy way to get more social media followers.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after them. If success on social media was easy, everyone would do it.

The companies that succeed in gaining traction and engaging with people on social media are the ones that take the time to think through their strategy. They know who they are looking for, and how to find them. And they have taken the time to develop resources, content, information, etc. that is valuable to those people.

When you give your prospective customers something that they want or something that they need, you are earning followers. And you are earning followers that will support you – by buying your stuff, or telling their friends.

Turning social media into an effective marketing channel isn’t easy. And so if part of your job is doing just that, be prepared to put in the time and the energy required to do it right. Or just buy a bunch of followers and wait to get fired.

10 Types of Visual Content on Instagram that Get Shared Like Crazy (Guest Post)

The following is a guest post by Nika Goddard. Nika is a psychologist, writer-freelancer, traveler and just creative person, lover of world cultures, languages, food, wild spaces and urban places by nature.

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The fact that we’re living fast-paced lives is no longer news for anyone. It’s enough to look at a friend or relative and see how crowded their daily schedule is and you will understand that things have changed a lot in the past years. Either if it’s natural or something that came along with progress in technology, one thing is certain: we don’t have time to waste. And that affects every aspect of our behavior, including the way we react to social media posts. It’s no wonder that visual content has 40 times more chances of being shared that any other type of content and the reason behind this is very simple. Seeing an image is very easy to process, understand and choose what to do with it.

Now, that we’ve established that visual content is the one with most chances of being shared on Instagram, is time to see exactly what type of visual content gets the most chances of being spread.

Inspirational Quotes

This is, perhaps, the most shared content ever, since the beginning of internet, something that can even take on cat videos and win. It’s hard to explain what is it about these quotes that make people want to share them. It might be the fact that they give people a warm and fuzzy feeling, inspiring them to take action or something like that. One thing is certain, they work and will always work as far as you can tell.

Human Portraits

There a statistic that shows a post with a human face in it is probably to get up to 40% more likes than a post that does not contain a face in it. But where does this increase in appreciation comes from when dealing with a human face? It’s probably because it can create a personal connection and also taps into emotions of the viewers.

Scenery and Landscapes

It’s no wonder that we, in the digital age, appreciate nature so much. And that’s also applicable to Instagram as well. Posting a breathtaking landscape or a spectacular scene improves the chances of your post to be shared on Instagram. The great thing about landscape photos is that they don’t necessarily have to mean something since every viewer will gave them their own meaning.

Food Photos

Just like the one with human portraits, posting photos good-looking dishes and food in general, will definitely boost your engagement and people will press that share button like crazy. It’s something strongly related to our basic needs and that’s more than enough for our brains to identify food images as positive and likeable.

Photos with Historic Events

Not only historic events but something that has happened in the past, have a way of creating a nostalgic effect on people, leading to reflection and sparking some emotions that stay latent in our subconscious. It’s a very effective theme you can adopt if you want to boost the number of shares on your Instagram account.

Extreme Situations

This has something to do with the previous photos including beautiful landscapes, however, it has a little twist. Every post with you on top of a mountain, rafting or very close to the edge of a waterfall will be automatically liked by any viewer on the Internet since it taps into our adventure need that, for some, are locked down deep inside.

Animals

Yep, of course you anticipated this. It was very clear from the first comparison with cat videos that animals will take their place in this top. And it’s very simple, the world is filled with animal lovers that appreciate seeing pets or any other animals being promoted on social networks.

Backstage Photos

Perhaps this one is a bit surprising for you, however, people always felt the need to discover what’s behind the scenes. To take a peek behind the curtain of a show, rock concert or even a political dispute. This is why, any time of backstage or behind-the-curtain photo has great chances of being shared a lot.

Using Actual Trends

Even though this is a very dynamic aspect of social media, using real-time trends can boost your engagement a lot, as long as you choose your trend properly. For example, you can make your post related to a blockbuster that’s about to be launched or Pokemon.

Video Stories

Still photographs get a lot of attention but videos are on the rise nowadays since they’re a lot easier to follow and they also add the element of unknown that makes you want to click play. Almost every social network awarded priority to video content and it will help you boost engagement as well.

Conclusion

Instagram is still growing and it’s a great opportunity for boosting your engagement, no matter if you’re representing a brand or simply for your personal profile. The best way to proceed would be to combine all the above-mentioned methods in an original way. 

Social Commerce – A Pathway to Success [INFOGRAPHIC]

Electronic commerce is so popular at the moment that people are starting to wonder what the purpose of actual stores is. Considering how much time internet users spend on social media, it comes as no surprise that ecommerce and social media have developed a new way for us to shop online. 

Who doesn't like finding a Walmart shopping discount and saving some money on a great product?

A social media user can tell you how many times he has bought something purely because it seemed enticing on Instagram stories. Brands that advertise on social media can influence us to the extent that we buy something we have no real need for.

If you are looking for a simple, yet effective way to boost sales, consider social media marketing.

Social media marketing involves posting related photos for the sake of promoting products and creating a buzz of conversation, as well as live stream videos, links and short status updates.

The fundamental importance of social commerce is the ability to provide social media users with a faster way to shop. Long checkout lines and faulty websites are not what shoppers are looking for. They need a provider that'll deliver high-quality goods at low shipping prices.

Most social shoppers are aged 35-44 and these people know what they want.

If they seek professional services and advice, they frequent LinkedIn. They can find the best pet supplies and jewelry offers on Facebook, and the visual nature of Instagram is the best for selling makeup products and apparel.

Do your research and define your target audience. Aim for the social networks that are mostly frequented by an appropriate audience for your brand.

There are so many ways to utilize a social marketing strategy to grow your conversion rates and globalize your brand. You have to find the right way to please the tastes of existing and potential clients.

Check out the infographic below:

Social commerce