How to Use Storytelling in Social Media

Posted in How To on May 3rd, 2013 by

bad rhino meg adamsMeg Adams is a Social Media Marketer & Viral Publicist passionate about helping entrepreneurs harness the power of social media! Meg can be found at as well on Twitter.



Do you know how penicillin was discovered? Laziness. Okay, maybe there was a little more to the story…

Sir Alexander Fleming didn’t clean up his work station before leaving on vacation and returned to find a strange green fungus growing in one of his petri dishes containing bacterial cultures. Voila! This weird fuzzy growth turned out to be what we now know as Penicillin!

The story behind one of the most important inventions of the 20th century is what makes it so interesting, and most importantly, memorable. We share and engage with stories all the time – think “50 Shades of Gray,” the Harry Potter series, and the plethora of celebrity magazines.

Why are we so connected to stories?

You and I are inherently story tellers.  In fact, humans have been sharing stories for at least 27,000 years, or at least since primitive cave drawings were discovered.

We think in narratives. We create mini stories around every part of our life; from what we are going to make for dinner to what our boss really thinks of us.

What makes a story so powerful is that whenever we hear one we want to immediately relate it to our own experience. This is where the connection part comes so powerfully into play.

Storytelling in social media is one of the most effective ways to build a relationship with your audience. Storytelling for brands is beyond “selling.” It’s about creating a connection with your audience and the most basic and emotional level.

Storytelling helps people connect to and relate with your brand. Remember how I mentioned earlier that people immediately want to relate a story to their own experience? This is how you help them connect with your brand. In fact, your job is to help them create that connection!

5 ways to use storytelling in social media for your brand:

1. Uncover your brand’s own story

Uncover your brand’s core story. A great place to start is to write out how your brand got its start. Then move to your vision and mission statements; these will contain some great nuggets for you to build upon. Once you have your story created, use it as your guiding principle in all communication.

2. Understand “cause and effect”

Always remember that a story in its simplest form is all about cause and effect. Be mindful of the effect you are looking to elicit in your audience through your story.

3. Use the right tools

Online tools will help facilitate your storytelling within social media. Determine which tools you will use for the written word, video, images, and sound. Social networks like Vine and Instagram are prime outlets, in addition to the standard blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel (and the list goes on!)

4. Seek a personal, human connection

Storytelling is a human experience. Think back to sitting around a campfire and swapping ghost stories. Approach the story with the goal of connecting with your audience and NOT directly selling to them.

5. Optimize the tools and social networks you already use

Optimize the social networks and online tools you currently use for storytelling. Ensure your social networks’ biographies and profile pictures allow that point of connection. Keep your branding consistent across all channels and be aware of how your social network contributes to the telling of your story.

The best way to get started is by having a solid understanding of your brand’s “core story” and how it relates to the heart of your audience.

So, what’s your brand’s story?


Photo Credit: Flickr user Greyweed

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