Social Media Marketing: Storytelling vs. Selling

social media marketing

Social media is no longer an online space reserved for your aunt’s political opinions or pet photos. Users are accustomed to seeing content from both household name brands and local boutiques in their feeds. Heck, as we’ve seen with social media influencers, practically every profile has the potential of being leveraged into a brand. Needless to say, the online space is crowded and it has become more difficult for small businesses to stand out while promoting their product or service. So… how does a small business owner go about making their mark in the digital sphere?

What’s the Bigger Picture?

Our Digital Marketing team understands the intricacies of each social media platform, its guidelines, and its algorithm — but we also make a point to stress the larger picture to our clients. As an agency, we always advocate the ecosystem approach. Simply put, all of your efforts should work towards the same end. And what is that end you ask? Your website or physical store AKA where you actually sell your product or service.

An effective social media marketing strategy introduces your brand with an engaging origin story, informs how this particular product or service will solve real problems for the user, and how they can go about purchasing said product or service. Simple, right?

The “Storytelling” Approach in Social Media

Now it’s time to put the above strategy into practice. So — you boil down your origin story to convey why this brand exists and you create some visuals to add value to your story. Let’s imagine it’s a high-quality 4-minute video introducing the founders and explaining why they created this new product. Actually, we don’t have to imagine — this video from MatchaBar embodies the “origin story” perfectly.

Don't Knock The Hustle: A MatchaBar Story

What do Ansel Elgort, Diplo, Billie Eilish & Von Miller have in common? HUSTLE! Join the Matcha Brothers on a journey to launch the world's FIRST Matcha Energy Drink.

Posted by MatchaBar on Monday, July 16, 2018

 

I’m a fan of this video and the “Storytelling” approach. However, imagine this was all they ever talked about on social media. What if there was never any mention of other benefits of the product? Or no new updates on where to buy it as it rolls out across the country? What if there was never any mention of additional flavors or new packaging? As potential customers, we’ll only search so far before forgetting all about the product we once “had to have.”

The “Selling” Approach in Social Media

Where the “Storytelling” approach largely appeals to both ethos (credibility/trust) and pathos (emotions) — the “Selling” approach hits the logos (logic). The above video subtly appeals to your logic when it highlights the crash other energy drinks are responsible for and overviews the health benefits of matcha powder. But as a viewer, you walk away feeling especially educated about the brand itself rather than the product they’re selling. This is intentional — welcome to the MatchaBar sales funnel. Now that you feel like you know Max & Graham (the Founders of MatchaBar), you find yourself searching them on Instagram and looking for a list of ingredients. You want to know what this product tastes like and whether it really has no crash. If there are no Whole Foods stores near you, you may be searching MatchaBar’s social or website to see if it’s carried elsewhere. If the brand is utilizing the “Selling” approach in their social media marketing, you’ll be able to find all of this information and then some. [Update: they are and you can! It’s now 2 for $5 at Whole Foods]!

Now, let’s imagine that this video never existed and all of their social content just talked about pricing and where to buy the product… Where a “Selling” approach on its own may work for local car dealerships — actually, it doesn’t. The car companies themselves invest in content for the “Storytelling” approach to convince you to choose a specific because of the ~lifestyle~ it implies. On top of that, shoppers do take notice of the local dealerships that do more than “SELL SELL SELL!Austin Subaru being a prime example as they make their partnership with Austin Pets Alive! a foundational piece of their social media content.

All this to say; both approaches have their rightful place in your social media marketing. Take the time and effort to get your story right, spend the money to create high-quality visuals that add value to your story, and include clear CTAs (calls-to-action) for your audience to learn more about your product or service and where they can get it if they have to have it right this minute. *drives to Whole Foods*

If you need assistance doing any of the above; ironing out the story, creating the perfect logo, building the website customers can buy your product from — we can help. Tell us a bit about yourself here.