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6 Ways Brands Tell Their Stories Through Social Media

Matt Peters
November 25, 2018

Telling stories is the basis for how humans naturally communicate ideas and persuade each other. When it comes to brand marketing, stories are also at the forefront of how to talk about brands in a compelling way. Content marketers are in many ways just storytellers with a purpose and adapt storytelling techniques for their own goals. Today, much of this storytelling is done through digital media.

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The era of digital storytelling was made more complex by the rise of social media. While many of the same principles for telling a story apply regardless of the medium you tell the story on, social media storytelling has the added complication of having an overwhelming amount of content available at the touch of an audience’s fingers. Because of this, in order for a brand to tell a story effectively, they need to engage their audience in just a few seconds. Luckily content marketers don't need to face this problem alone and can implement technological tools, like artificial intelligence, to help them tell their stories most effectively.

Read on to discover 6 ways brands are telling their stories across social media:

1. Original Content

The original content that a brand puts out is one of the primary ways that brand stories are told. Both the amount of content and types of content have increased by huge margins over the years. Now a days for brands to effectively tell a story they produce over 10,000 pieces of content a year over 19 channels. The onslaught of social media storytelling has played a significant role in this increase in content.

Content Scale

In addition to the quantity of original content, brands also need to produce quality content that effectively tells their story. In our Step by Step Guide to Telling Your Brand’s Story we discussed how brands use content to convey their brand story through the use of brand narratives, signature stories and historic stories.

2. User-Generated Content

Social media allows more marketers to be storytellers. Individuals can share a brand story to their personal social networks with the content they create.


User-generated content about a company tells an organic brand story and can increase brand awareness. By analyzing user-generated content brands can better understand their authentic story from an audience turned storyteller perspective.

Understanding the importance of the story being told through user-generated content, AB- InBev chose to use artificial intelligence software to analyze the user content that had to do with their brand. They worked with Cortex to look at how the organic story told by users on social media backed up the idea of Bud Light being the most “social” beer. Using machine learning and visual intelligence Cortex identified that the photos that had Bud Light in them contain 25% more people in them, 10 times the number of females and receive 38% more engagement per photo when compared to other beer companies. With this information Bud Light was able to understand how the story being told by users on social media interacted with their own crafted brand story of being a beer for the many.

The onslaught of social media changed the idea of storytelling as part of a marketing strategy. Marketers now have to think about the story you are crafting for yourself and the story others are crafting about you. While this can be an extremely humanizing thing that allows brands to seem more like people you can interact with verses an inanimate idea, it also adds another aspect of storytelling that brands need to consider. By understanding the story that is being told about them over social media, they can make choices about how to morph their crafted and organic brand story to tell the same overarching narrative.

3. Showing Behind the Scenes

Some social media channels allow you to show temporary content. A form of content that tends to come across a little more authentic and genuine is “live” and “story” content. Instagram and Snapchat stories tell a story tell a story that lasts for 24 hours. Instagram and Facebook allow you to post a live video. This more casual method for posting content is perfect for showing behind the scenes of a brand story.

One of our 6 ways you can make a brand character feel more human is by focusing on the minutia of the character. These temporary stories may not add much in terms of large important brand messages, but they do fill in the spaces between large ideas. These little behind the scenes moments can do a lot in making your brand character come off as 3 dimensional, which is important in brand storytelling.

4. Linking to Their Website

A big part of a brand story is told through a company website, which contains everything from product information to general knowledge about the company, to core values. This is especially important for e-commerce type brands. Social media comes in as a powerful method to drive traffic to your site, increasing the click through rate. Technology can play a vital role in optimizing this process. Artificial Intelligence, when used to create the most engaging content possible can be responsible for helping drive click numbers. In the case of client Heidi J Jewelry the yearly click through rate to their company website increased by 3,403% from Facebook alone while using Cortex to optimize their content.

5. Visual Storytelling

Interacting with followers starts with the content a brand puts out. When it comes to storytelling there are many visual accompaniments brands can choose that can possibly have different effects on their audiences. Especially on social media, where there is so much content available, in order to tell a story effectively you first need to capture the attention of your audience. Knowing what creative choices your followers find interesting is a key way that you demonstrate you understand them and get them to engage with you. The first step in visual storytelling is the actual content creation process right down to what you choose to photograph or create to add to your story.

As the skiing tourist season began, Visit Utah was concerned about the best way to share their ski stories with their audience on Instagram in a way that would get them to pay attention. Utilizing artificial intelligence, we analyzed a large amount of their visual content and external visual content that catered to skiers. Through cluster analysis we identified key elements that make up the most engaging photos and created a content brief for their photographers to create the most appealing content of their own ski mountains.

Analyze the creative choices that go into a photo or image such as colors, text, or other elements to find the type of content that your audience likes best can be an extremely time-consuming process. In addition to being time consuming, human analysts are less effective at identifying underlying patterns than technology can find. Using AI systems brands can analyze the content their audience like to engage with for thousands of elements to find the combinations that are best suited for their target audience. It’s not enough just to have a good story, you need to capture the attention of your audience.

6. Interactions with Audience

Social media is also an ideal place to interact with brand followers. How brands communicate with followers and what style of voice brands have helps develop a brand character. Whether they communicate with audiences through a tweet or by responding to a comment that interaction helps develop their persona.

Different social platforms have different means of communicating with audiences. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow brands to communicate directly by responding to comments. Facebook and Instagram live allow followers to engage with brands in real time, which adds to a conversant feeling. Pinterest allows you to share your ideas with people and vice versa. A large part of social media strategy isn’t just about the content. but also how you interact with people who engage with your posts.

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