Social Media Storytelling: Definition and Certifications

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 29, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Using social media can help you increase the reach of your brand awareness and may strengthen your marketing campaigns. One way to make social media content that can attract large numbers of potential customers is to use strong storytelling concepts. Understanding the principles of storytelling and how you can use them in social media posts may help you create more engaging content.

In this article, we explore what social media storytelling is, list some suggestions to help you develop your storytelling abilities in a social media setting and discuss a few online courses that can help you improve your storytelling knowledge.

What is social media storytelling?

Social media storytelling is the process of using content on social media, such as posts, pictures, videos or interactive content, to tell a story about your company, product or brand. This can include short-term storytelling , which lasts for one piece of content, or long-term storytelling, which takes place over multiple pieces of content and over a period of time. Many companies use storytelling concepts on their social media accounts to connect to their audience, promote their brand and increase awareness of their brands and products.

Related: The Importance of Social Media in Marketing (With 8 Benefits)

Tips for social media storytelling

Here are some suggestions that you can use to help you improve your overall storytelling abilities for social media:

Think about the brand

Considering the company's brand identity may help you make storytelling decisions when creating content for social media. For example, if you work for a cosmetics brand that specializes in environmentally friendly products, you may want to focus your storytelling on environmental impact. When creating your social media story, try to think about the company's brand and the kind of image that you want to portray.

Related: What Is a Brand Story and How To Create One

Understand your audience

You may want to tell different types of stories depending on your target audience. For example, if your cell phone company has a largely older audience, they may care about different features than if you want to attract a younger population. You can use research to determine your target audience and modify your storytelling to appeal to their interests.

Related: 20 Targeting Questions To Understand Your Target Audience

Use a variety of tools

When you use multiple different tools and platforms, you may reach a wider audience which can increase your overall sales. For example, if you want to advertise a new shoe store location on social media, you can take pictures of the new store, host giveaways, create videos about the opening and publish this content on different platforms. Consider using different techniques and platforms when developing your story.

Include your customers

Customer interaction can improve their loyalty to your brand and can help you generate content for your social media storytelling. For example, you can use customer reviews when advertising your products or create interactive posts, such as questions or contests. This interaction may help you connect with your audience, which can strengthen your storytelling and increase your social media presence.

Related: What Is Customer Engagement? Definition and 4 Engagement Strategies to Implement Today

Consider reasons why people share

You can strengthen the popularity of your social media stories by thinking about the motivations behind why people share content. For example, a customer may share a particularly funny cat video with friends. Understanding why someone may share a piece of digital storytelling can help you create a narrative that others want to spread.

Focus on recent changes

One way to help you determine what kind of story you can tell is to think about any recent changes to the brand. For example, if you develop new seatbelts at a car company, you can create social media content that helps highlight this new feature. Audiences often like to hear about new changes, which may increase the number of views your storytelling posts get.

Use visuals

Adding visuals to your digital posts can help you tell a more immersive story and may allow you to more efficiently convey your message. For example, if you make a social media post about how fun your company's pogo sticks are, you can add photographs of people looking happy while using your pogo sticks. Consider adding pictures to your social media posts, or creating image-centered story campaigns.

Related: How To Use Social Media Branding

Social media storytelling certification courses

Here are a few certification courses that can help you improve your storytelling for social media

1. Storytelling for Social Media, Candid

Candid is a learning platform for fundraising and nonprofit organization professionals. It includes several courses about social media and marketing, including the Storytelling for Social Media program. This self-directed course usually lasts about two to three hours and covers common concepts that can help you develop your storytelling abilities on social media, such as ways to identify audiences, storytelling best practices and methods for promoting messages.

2. Storytelling: learn the power of storytelling, Udemy

Learning course website Udemy provides this digital classroom that teaches how to create a story to promote a product or service. A one-time purchase grants you lifetime access to learning materials and two hours of video instruction. After finishing the course, you can receive a certificate of completion that you may place on your resume.

3. Powerful tools for teaching and learning: digital storytelling, Coursera

Coursera is a hosting site for multiple different types of educational courses, many of them made by colleges or universities. This digital storytelling course is created by the University of Houston and features around 14 hours of self-guided content. Throughout the course, you use digital storytelling concepts to create your own story. The course is free, with the option of purchasing a certificate of completion.

4. Brand Storytelling, East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee University hosts a four-week certification program that teaches you about the history of brand storytelling, ways brands communicate and some storytelling strategies. It features a new industry professional instructor each week and includes video lectures, digital office hours and learning activities. There is no exam at the end of this course, though you still receive a certification at the end of the program.

5. Viral marketing and how to craft contagious content, Coursera

This Coursera program, created by the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on how to write content that tells a strong story and attracts a large audience. The self-guided course includes four separate sections about how to make popular content, with an average completion time of one hour for each section. You can earn a certificate of completion at the end of this course for an additional fee.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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