You may not realize it, but you’ve been mastering storytelling techniques your whole life. We all remember being little kids explaining to our parents the elaborate stories behind the squiggly lines we drew on a piece of construction paper. Or sitting in our middle school English classes learning about the trusty storytelling arc: origin, conflict, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. And then growing older and perfecting this technique to keep our college friends on the edge of their seats with stories from the night before.
Fast forward to today and think about your business for a second. Maybe you have an awesome product or service but you aren’t getting much attention for it. Or you haven’t quite figured out yet what will make your audience want to fit your offering into their lives. Well, what if I told you that there are specific visual storytelling techniques that you can start using today as powerful tools for your brand?
With all the media platforms available to us, it’s easier than ever to get your story out there. And the best part is you are already well on your way. We just established that you’ve had a pretty long time to perfect your storytelling talents – now use that natural ability of yours to tell a compelling story for your brand. Read on for how visual storytelling techniques can take your brand to the next level.
Why Using Visual Storytelling Techniques is Important for Your Brand
It Builds a Community & Brand Loyalty
Storytelling by nature connects people. Social networks are social and are made up of people searching for others with likeminded interests, tastes, style or humor, including brands. Tap into that. Find where your audience is hanging out and realize that your product or service can serve as a way to unite people of common interests. Creating a close knit community means loyalty to your brand, your products and your ideas.
So how does one do this? Well, the best way to build a community is to tell your story and be consistent about what exactly you’re telling. And while it’s important for your brand values and stories to evolve, don’t pull a 180 on your customers. Always stay loyal to what your overarching message is.
It Creates a Cohesive Image Across Platforms
There are many visual storytelling techniques that can seriously amp up the overall image of your brand. How amazing would it be if someone saw one of your Instagram posts, tweets or pins and immediately knew that it was yours without even having to read your account name? That comes from a commitment to consistent and deliberate storytelling so take time to nail down those colors, aesthetic, and style that really showcase your brand’s personality.
It Generates Conversation
It just takes one blog post, photograph or video to spark a dialogue. Your content gives you the chance to evoke emotions in your audience, and these emotions are what motivate your customers to visit your site or buy your product or service. Generating conversation can also help build your community by connecting people in comment threads and allowing you to engage with your customers directly.
How Your Brand Can Utilize Visual Storytelling Techniques
What does your brand revolve around? A lifestyle? A product? Your customers? Fit that into the story that your brand has to tell. Don’t be afraid if you’re a one-woman/man show, people love to see small businesses and the ways that they’re hustling. Be transparent and authentic and use creative ways to tell that story through photography and video. The attention span of the average person is short so take the time to create content that will get you noticed.
Photo Editing & Design Apps
Use apps such as VSCO, Canva or Adobe Spark to create images for every type of platform you’re on and be mindful of using the same filters, graphics and colors. This helps create an on-brand curated feed for visual platforms like Instagram. Your audience will feel much more comfortable navigating your social media sites when they see familiar colors, graphics and types of images.
Typography may seem like a small detail, but it does have influence on the overall image of your brand. If your brand tone is whimsical or funny, you wouldn’t use a bold, gothic font to portray that. Spend some time on free font websites like Dafont.com to create graphics and images or Google Fonts for your website (just make sure that whatever font you choose, it renders properly across all systems).
Every great character starts with an origin story and your brand is no different! Share your beginnings through Instagram posts, blog posts or email campaigns and especially on the “About” section on your website. Be honest, be transparent and share what you think makes your brand special. It sounds like a silly tip or common sense but people respond to real, honest stories. At the end of the day, any brand or business activity is human activity and customers want to know that there’s a trustworthy face behind the product or service they’re buying or the words they’re reading.
You don’t have to tell this story everyday but recognize that your customers want to be reminded of who you are and not just what your products are. Take Burt’s Bees for example. They’re continuing to tell their story on social media even though their company has been around for more than 30 years. Here, Burt’s Bees remembers its roots and features a call to action at the end of their caption to involve their followers.
Feature User Generated Content
Let your customers tell you and the rest of your followers how your product or service fits into their lives. Repost content that your customers or followers tag you in (don’t forget to ask permission or properly credit any content that isn’t yours). Or consider using a branded hashtag to encourage photo submissions on Instagram. These kinds of efforts can increase awareness of your brand. It also involves your audience and helps your social media exude authenticity and a sense of community. Make your brand a tight-knit community that people want in on.
Herschel Supply Co. constantly features their customers’ best travel photos showcasing their products on their Instagram feed. You can see how it emphasizes Herschels’ identity as a company that creates products to travel the world with. It also encourages its customers to post pictures with their products which is always a good thing.
Regardless of the size of your brand or what products or services you provide, visual storytelling techniques are essential. Telling stories is at the foundation of human interaction. And it drives the kind of social media that we all love to scroll through countless hours everyday. Stand out in everyone’s Instagram or Pinterest feed with eye-catching visual content. Then pair that with a captivating story and you have a perfect post.
Finally, when it doubt, go back to the basics: our trusty storytelling arc that you learned about years ago. Share your origin story. Portray what the conflict is. For example, what service or product you want to provide to solve some issue you encountered. Or what inspired you to create your product or service. Create beautiful images showcasing your service or product. Show your resolution through user generated content showcasing satisfied customers and members of your brand’s community. To top it all off, do this with cohesive colors, graphics and fonts that show off your brand’s personality.
Ready to get started? We’ve created a trusty resource sheet and checklist to help you hit the ground running. Download for free here.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any other questions or tips to share.