What is Instagram storytelling. Storytelling examples
Have you ever passed the bus stop while reading a book with enthusiasm? Or oversleep an important meeting, as you have been avidly watching the new season of your favorite TV show all night, trying to predict the final episode? Yes, it was all pure storytelling. And now this format is still relevant.
Storytelling is actively used on Instagram and not only to entertain followers. Its main purpose is to create emotional affection in the audience. Why are stories so exciting for us, and how to apply storytelling to business promotion? Let’s figure it out together!
What is storytelling
Storytelling is a special talent (don’t worry, you can learn it) to write stories in such a way that a person himself comes to the right conclusion. Companies using this format of storytelling become more human, and influencers establish an emotional connection with subscribers, luring the audience to their side.
Nobody likes straightforward advertising, which imposes its point of view on customers in a rather rude form. A person with enviable zeal resists other people’s judgments, making decisions only on the basis of their own conclusions. This is where storytelling rushes to the rescue, allowing you to convey information so that the user feels it and remembers it.
A well-written story is a direct path to empathy and empathy. It creates the feeling that you share the author’s point of view. In storytelling, there is no imposed opinion, value judgments and phrases from the category of “doing this is good, but doing this is bad.” There is a path followed by the reader, and he decides for himself how to perceive what he sees.
Basic storytelling rules
Here are ground rules to help you create a truly engaging and living story:
- Content matters . The material should be useful and interesting to the reader. Think about what’s new you can tell your audience. Use a pyramid of information to create a highly digestible narrative – statement (statement), argumentation, re-statement (conclusion). After you have projected the plot, think about how you can diversify it. Having multiple points of view and different contexts is always beneficial.
- Explore . Do not be superficial, work through the topic deeply so that the reader does not have any questions after reading.
- More beautiful pictures . People love with their eyes, which means that they also need to work on the visual component, because storytelling is like a movie that plays in the imagination of the reader. Hence, the pictures help to create the appropriate atmosphere. Think about what might help your story unfold. For example, it could be an infographic, illustration, photo shoot or stills from a movie.
- Don’t forget about headings . The headline should be speaking, but not flashy (this is already bad manners). A good headline is intriguing and concisely summarizes the topic of the article without skewing its essence. It is best to use headings with numbers, headings-questions and statements.
- No monotony. Think about what your reader will see and in what sequence. The presentation of the material should be varied. A good pattern (repetitive elements that help convey brand value to the target audience), used 10 times in a row, can be pretty annoying and annoying for followers.
- Unity and contrast . Large spacing between text blocks is not a big deal. Let the information breathe! When a large amount of space is reserved for text, it expands and becomes more readable.
- Metaphors and Comparisons . Use puns, epithets, and phrases to help the reader catch the vibe of your narrative and delve deeper into the story. However, you shouldn’t go deep into the artistic jungle.
- Don’t go overboard with details . Remember that the purpose of the story is not to surprise the reader with the flight of thought and the richness of your vocabulary. Details are very important, but the main thing is to feel the measure and not overdo it, since all the details should work in favor of conveying the idea.
Basic Storytelling Elements
Ok, now it’s worth talking about the ingredients of great storytelling:
- Main character . It is on the main character that the link between the brand (blogger) and the audience is based. You must make sure that the user empathizes with the character, identifies himself with him and can feel his emotions.
- Place and time of action . This is not the main element of the story, but it is the details and immersion in a specific location that distinguishes storytelling from a regular narrative post. You do not have to go into details and name a specific address, only indirectly hinting at the place where the events unfold.
- Conflict. This is the culmination of the story. In this block, it is necessary to describe the difficulties faced by the main character and the ways to overcome them. The reader should be interested in where the character’s attempts to resolve a difficult situation will lead. It is desirable that the hero make some mistakes (this will make the story look much more vital). If there is no conflict and no options for resolving it in storytelling, then this story will not have an instructive effect.
- Interchange . Every story must have an ending (good or bad – it doesn’t matter). At the end of the story, encourage readers to take some specific action. For example, you can ask them to share their own experiences or leave a reaction under the post.
How to distinguish a regular story from a storytelling
A story is a small piece of fiction, often describing one (or several) episodes from a person’s life. In a good story there is always a conflict, a solution and plot twists that grab the reader’s attention, then what is the difference between storytelling and a regular story, because their characteristics are almost identical?
The point is that storytelling is a narrative published with a specific purpose (to increase sales, attract an audience, advertise a new product). For example, if you start telling customers about the delights of a new vacuum cleaner head-on, they are unlikely to keep their eyes on a bland post for a long time.
And here is a fascinating story about a beautiful princess who got rid of the cobweb using a miracle machine – this is a completely different matter. Do you notice the difference?
Benefits of the genre
In short, the benefits of storytelling can be summarized in 6 points:
- encourages the audience to take certain actions;
- establishes a relationship of trust between the brand and the customer;
- storytelling is easier to grasp than a bunch of useless letters with two or three participles in one sentence;
- attracts and retains attention;
- makes dry numbers and facts more interesting;
- transforms beliefs and influences opinion.
Where can I use
Here are some ideas of where and how to use storytelling:
- Social media . Instagram is the perfect storytelling platform. Often stories are published in the format of short posts with pictures and links to the advertised product.
- On our and third party sites . Storytelling will help to present interesting ways to use the product or to gently nudge visitors to certain actions (buy, click, repost, etc.).
- In video . The video is more credible than the text, because the user sees the narrator with his own eyes. The author of the video can talk about himself, the problem he faced, and how a certain product helped him to successfully resolve the disaster.
- At events and webinars . No public speaking is often complete without colorful storytelling. Before the beginning of the main part, any speaker talks about himself, his path, the project led and his career ambitions. It is for the sake of such stories that people come to webinars. Think of at least one TED talk.
In general, storytelling can be used everywhere – in brochures and print ads, in groups on social networks, on Instagram, on websites and even on banner ads.
How to tell stories to be read
How to tell an ordinary story so that it will be read with delight? The good news is that not everything depends on your talent and ability to choose synonyms. If you analyze examples of good storytelling, you can identify ten main stages, covering the entire process from start to finish.
Why not deviate from this algorithm? Find out in the following sections.
The main thing to start with a story is the idea. A strong idea helps to tie together all the parts of the story and get the message across to readers. She must teach, show and explain.
Remember the golden rule of storytelling : You are not writing a story for yourself, but for the reader. Before starting to create a narrative, the author must clearly understand who will read it, what emotions it evokes and what thoughts it will inspire in the future.
Even at the stage of creation, you must think over three key elements – time, place of events and the main value pair, the charge of which will shift either positively or negatively.
Structure is a summary of how the character’s story develops. It helps to put things in order in the abyss of thoughts and bring storytelling to its logical conclusion.
Also, to create a structure, you should use ready-made plot templates from the world of drama. In his book The seven basic plots: why we tell stories, journalist Christopher Booker names seven basic plots:
- Overcoming the monster . The protagonist overcomes barriers despite the difficulties. In this case, history teaches you to go to the end, but not be afraid of defeat.
- Rags to Riches. These are almost all the stories of the formation of great personalities who grew up in not the most favorable conditions. A common example is Cinderella, who first served the evil stepmother and her daughters, and then became the wife of a prince and settled in the castle.
- Rebirth . The transformation of a negative character into a good character.
- Travel and Return . The main character finds himself in an unknown world and does his best to return home.
- Adventure . The character is waiting for a quest on the way to the desired one.
- Comedy . It is usually a light and lighthearted story based on misunderstandings and nonsense that ends well.
- Tragedy . And here the opposite is true. The negative character gets what he deserves, and at the end of the story, he realizes how bad he did.
The event that marked the beginning of the hero’s actions
An initiating event is a certain circumstance that literally throws the main character out of his comfort zone, forcing him to change his life priorities. It is this that prompts the character to take action.
Object of Desire
At this stage, the hero realizes that the initiating event turned his world upside down and now he needs to restore his usual balance. What is needed for this? An object of desire that will help settle everything.
So, in order to achieve the desired result, the character decides to take the first step, which should lead to positive changes (according to his expectations).
Naturally, life has prepared many surprises for the character, so the seemingly perfect plan is out of control. Certain circumstances, barriers and problems block the main character’s path to the object of desire.
Figuratively speaking, there is a gap between what the character expects and the objective reality, which significantly removes him from the result.
After the character is faced with reality, he has to take a more risky step, as a result of which he can lose everything. At this stage, the hero learns a lesson from past circumstances and, based on the analysis done, makes a second decision. More difficult, but one that will still help him reach the end.
The character’s efforts were not in vain, he becomes a winner, receives an object and returns life to balance in relation to value.
Instagram storytelling examples
Theory is, of course, good, but let’s move on to specific examples from the world of Instagram.
The public organization Charity Water uses storytelling to personalize the problem of untreated water in third world countries and clearly demonstrates the result of donations:
Lush Cosmetics is a popular cosmetic brand that creates interesting stories based on customer reviews and case studies:
And here is an example of an Instagram story about yourself:
Business storytelling example:
Airbnb is a prime example of beautiful selling through stories:
Bloggers often use storytelling to generate a reaction from the audience:
Ideas for stories
Storytelling is an unusual and effective business tool that allows you to build an emotional connection with customers. If you’ve decided to try this storytelling format but aren’t sure where to get your inspiration from, here are some proven ideas :
- Success story. Why did you choose this particular profession, what were the first steps, and what difficulties awaited you during business development. Tell your audience about mistakes without getting into boring details. You can also tell your followers about unpleasant situations with an instructive ending. People love to hear about obstacles, but with a focus on happy ending.
- Customer Reviews . User feedback is very important as it reinforces the company’s positive image in the eyes of potential customers. It is advisable for the person to talk about how they dealt with the difficulties using your product. This automatically gives +100 credibility.
- Personal judgment . To be closer to the audience, periodically share with it your thoughts, experiences, dreams. For example, tell us about your desire to expand functionality or open a branch in another country. Users should see that you are “on fire” with what you love, and not just run money off them.
- The main character of the brand . Come up with a key character who will act as a “bridge” between you and the users. It is always easy for a character to generate interesting situations that will eventually emerge victorious.
- Employee Stories . The business must be transparent and understandable. The sincere stories of the company’s employees will help to achieve this effect. They can freely tell about their mistakes, successful cases and funny situations.
Read Also: 10 Inclusive Instagram Post Ideas for Small Businesses
Tips and tricks
Want to make your story vivid, lively and memorable? Then use the following tips :
- Get in the loop right from the start. Have pity on the reader. Every day he sees dozens of headlines and reads a lot of texts, and yet he still needs to have time to put a like and sip coffee. What are we for? Don’t tire your audience with a long introduction. Start the action from the first lines and only then proceed to describe the area, characters, and so on.
- More details . Vapid storytelling with superficial judgments is doomed to failure in advance. To create a lively and authentic story, you need to brighten it up with details. For example, add some striking feature of the hero’s appearance that makes him memorable.
- Don’t forget the characters . In order for the story to evoke emotions, introduce a character into it (or better, several at once). Show how the person went their way, how their views were transformed, and what reward (or punishment) the hero received in the end.
- Give your hero some cons . There are no ideal people, so a character (or object) without flaws will certainly not evoke any deep emotions in readers. If in your story you tell about a product, do not be afraid to bring its shortcomings to the surface. This step will only increase the credibility of the audience.
- Create a conflict . Conflict is the engine of a good story, as it takes the hero out of his familiar state and prompts him to take action. Readers, in turn, want to know how the character’s confrontation will end. In this case, the conflict does not necessarily have to arise with another hero, it can be associated with the surrounding world.
- Don’t forget the visuals . Pictures in the context of storytelling are a powerful weapon in the battle for audience attention. A well-chosen visual range creates a special atmosphere and makes the text more voluminous.
- Natural language only. No clericalism, in-depth terms and complex constructions! For example, if your character is speaking in slang, you shouldn’t brush his speech shine. It should sound natural so that people identify the hero with their realities.
- Hint . This is one of the easiest ways to grab a person’s attention and make them finish reading a story to the end. Even rough formulations from the category: “He did not even suspect that Martha could do this…”. In some cases, you should use a foggy spoiler, hinting a little about the upcoming happy ending.
- Don’t share morality . For a story to succeed, the reader himself must come to a certain conclusion. Do not impose your point of view on people and do not overload them with complex conclusions. You are not a mentor, so let your users decide what the moral of this fable is.
Now let’s go over the main mistakes of novice storytellers:
- unclear purpose of the publication;
- grammatical and stylistic errors;
- focus on your own person, not on your readers;
- an abundance of abstruse words and terms;
- bland statement of facts (no emotional attachment);
- overly explicit calls to buy something;
- poor design (few emoji, too large paragraphs, lack of structure);
- jumping from the main topic to some side topic.
Now let’s summarize the above:
- any story should have an idea;
- come up with a problem and a solution;
- don’t forget about structure and main characters;
- do not use bulky constructions and complex terms;
- write for the reader;
- don’t be afraid to use different formats.
General rule – Don’t write history for the sake of history. Any storytelling must have a goal, otherwise the user will not finish reading your work to the end.