Stand Out in the Crowd on Facebook with Effective Storytelling

Facebook is the most widely used social media outlet with over 55% of marketers using the platform for their promotion efforts on some level. Second place is not even close, with LinkedIn at 18% of professionals citing that they use this medium on a regular basis.

With 1.79 billion monthly users, organizations and brands should be very intentional about their strategy to create effective engagement on Facebook.

So how can you make your Facebook marketing stand out amongst all of the white noise of content competing for space on user timelines?

Visual storytelling has proven to be an effective strategy for creating memorable marketing campaigns that resonate.

Everyone knows that visuals such as images, video, infographics and other graphics result in 180% greater engagement than posts containing just text.  This does not mean that if you start using some of these elements all  of the sudden your organic engagement is going to magically increase.

In the crowded and noisy online digital world you have to begin with the end in mind and plan your storytelling strategy carefully.  Below is a straightforward graphic from Visual Matters that lays out the elements that challenge marketers today.

Overcoming the massive increase in the volume of content being produced, coupled with a decrease in user’s attention is the $64,000 question all marketers are trying to answer.

Boosting posts and paying for ads is not a magic bullet either.  Throwing cash at a poorly constructed post or marketing campaign is a waste of time and money.

Content that is authentic and reinforces your brand’s story is the foundation you need to build on.  This will result in organic engagement with people who are fans of your cause that will sing your praises and help promote you within their circle of influence.

Here is an infographic by Neil Patel which shows the primary elements that will dictate if your posts will end up in your followers’ news feed.

He went on to mention a few other things that you should NOT do to keep your content from coming across as inauthentic to your audience.

Don’t strictly follow a content calendar

Be flexible to change content daily to support your storytelling based on relevant current events or the mood of your targeted audience.  Keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening by listening to what people are saying in their comments and respond to them to drive further engagement. Yes you need a plan, but be agile.

Don’t be in constant selling mode

You will wear your audience out quickly if you always feel the need to promote a product or advertise a sale.  Less is more.  The majority of your posting should not be directly selling your product or services. Focus on telling the story of your brand and the sales will take care of themselves.

Don’t try and buy “likes” to build your audience

You would not go out and try and buy new friends in the real world, right? Remember we are talking about being authentic and growing organically. This can take some time so be patient and be consistent.

Visual Storytelling Strategies to use on Facebook

Images

Yes a picture is still worth 1,000 words, but now it has the potential to be seen by millions of people.

After three days our brain only remembers 10% of a plain text message, but when paired with an effective image that retention soars to 65%.

Carefully curating the right images and combining them with text can drive the narrative you are creating and make for a more memorable user interaction.

This image is typical of what you will find throughout Patagonia’s Facebook page.  Amazing images of people using their gear to pursue outdoor adventures.  Rarely do the posts mention a specific product, they mostly reinforce the lifestyle and the brand’s commitment to protecting the environment.

Video

In January of last year Mark Zuckerberg reported that over 500 million people watch over 100 million hours of video every day on Facebook.

Over the past year the use of video has continued to explode and offers a dynamic opportunity for brands to tell their stories to users.

Did you know? 85% of all the videos that are watched on Facebook happen with the sound turned off.

While music and voice-overs can add depth to a post, make sure that the storyline of your video still makes sense to the viewer without sound. Provide captions on screen to help the viewer follow along and stay engaged.

Grab the box of tissues for this one. This video was an ad Apple ran that received over 20 million views on Facebook over the first 9 days it was posted.  It was shared over 28,000 times and is an example of top-notch storytelling.

Going “Live”

Facebook Live took the platform by storm in 2016 and is poised to garner even more eyeballs in the coming year.

We mentioned early on in this article the declining attention span of users on all mediums.  Facebook Live has reversed this trend as viewers spend 3x more time watching something “live”.

To keep viewers engaged, storyboard your live session and think about the camera shots you want to present as your live event unfolds.

It also helps to have someone on a computer posting in the comments of the live feed session that can encourage people to participate and respond to questions, etc.

BarkBox was an early adopter of Facebook Live and creates strong engagement by featuring specific breeds and getting local customers to come out for the live sessions to talk about their dogs and how much they enjoy opening their BarkBox each month.

User-Generated Content

Having your customers post reviews, images, or videos about their experiences with your brand are highly engaging to other users and further endear someone to your brand when you share their content.

Many lifestyle brands do this very well by creating unique hashtags and asking their followers to share their stories of adventure using the product or pursuing the lifestyle niche your brand occupies.

Infographics

The use of infographics can create a powerful visual impact when used to help tell a story, especially when dealing with abstract ideas or large data sets.

If you search Google images for “infographic” you will find an endless stream of examples that come in many different forms and create strong visuals that draw the reader into the story.

Related:  The Best Infographics of 2016

Infographics are liked and shared on social media 3x more than any other content. This example from National Geographic had already been shared almost 4,000 times in 16 hours since it was first posted.

There are many powerful tools out there, like Visme, that have hundreds of templates that make it simple for people who are not graphic designers to create professional and engaging infographics, presentations and social media graphics.

Keep it Real

So do you know what is the authentic story of your brand that needs to be shared consistently with your audience?

If so, then utilizing a healthy mix of all these strategies will allow you to find the combination that creates the most engagement with your targeted demographic.  Your content will come across as authentic and you will see organic growth and strong emotional responses to your storytelling.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Payman Taei

Payman Taei is a designer and Founder of HindSite Interactive an award winning web design and web development company. He’s passion for democratizing design has led him to develop Visme a Do It Yourself platform allowing non designers to translate boring data into engaging presentations & infographics.

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