Posted 03.07.2024 by Josh Krakauer

What Is Social Media Storytelling and Why Is It Crucial for B2B?

The who, what, where, when, why of storytelling on social media.

Seven years ago, we published the original version of this article under the title “Storytelling on Social Media”.

In it, we explored the topic of social media storytelling and looked at a couple of short videos that stood out as good examples of it.

The social media landscape evolved quite a bit since then.

A quick recap: Instagram Stories got widely adopted, TikTok became a powerhouse, and video storytelling (particularly YouTube) skyrocketed.

We’ll use this opportunity to share the latest available information on social media storytelling, including:

Ready to learn what great social media storytelling looks like?

What is social media storytelling?

Social media storytelling is the strategic use of narrative and content on social media platforms to engage and connect with audiences.

In essence, it’s about crafting stories that captivate, inspire, and drive action using the formats, structures, and tools supported by the main social media platforms.

While storytelling in social media pursues the usual marketing goals (lead generation, conversions, brand awareness), it does so by building deep emotional connections through – obviously – stories.

And of course, storytelling usually has its place within a broader social media strategy.

Types of social media storytelling

Social media stories can be grouped into two major cohorts: Fiction and non-fiction.

Fictional stories are almost always commercials, while non-fiction stories show more variety – from customer success stories and behind-the-scenes videos to user-generated content and pop-up events.

Then, there are different types of plots, which of course are inherited from “regular” storytelling, such as comedy, tragedy, horror, fantasy, coming-of-age, and epic (i.e. hero’s journey, voyage-and-return stories).

Stories can also be categorized by their extension.

Even in social media, you can go loco and do a 50-post thread on X if you want to (although that’s probably not the best course of action).

In any case, extension serves as a classification method – you can publish long stories on social media, but also do short ones, and even vignettes (use a single, short, descriptive post to tell a story).

Social media storytelling examples

To keep things brief and easy, here are three examples of storytelling in social media.

1. Dis-loyalty’s mini-chronicles

The travel and food membership company Dis-loyalty has made a habit of posting short video chronicles of what a day trip in a given city would look like according to them.

social media storytelling example - 1

The result? Soothing mini-guides that follow a classic structure and walk you through a travel plan that’s attractive and doable (what to do, where to eat, where to sleep).

Through images, video, and music, these short stories tell us that a good, classy trip is always at hand thanks to the discounts and recommendations shared by Dis-loyalty.

2. Fiverr’s freelancer testimonials

The leading freelancing platform tells a lot of relevant stories as well: The ones of the people that make up their talent network.

These are presented as testimonials, following the classic format of “a day in the life of”.

Storytelling on social media - example 2

These stories are often short (1-minute videos), and walk the audience through the outstanding aspects of a particular profession, as told by a professional in the field.

On top of putting a face to a title (which is always nice), the stories help the greater public understand what different professionals do, bringing them closer to the talent network as well.

3. Catawiki – The story behind collectibles

Catawiki is an online auction platform for buying and selling special items and collectibles – not a household name in the US, but the #1 platform in Europe for that purpose.

From time to time, they share short videos where an expert in a category of collectibles tells the story of such collectibles, as well as the reasons why these became valuable over time.

Storytelling on social media - example 3

The image above belongs to one of the installments, where a sneaker expert walks us through the story of Nike brand collaborations that resulted in items that became iconic.

In short, we are left with nice little stories that help us understand why some products are worth collecting.

Why is storytelling important?

The very essence of storytelling has evolved into a dynamic ecosystem where authenticity, interactivity, and emotional resonance reign supreme.

This is not exactly new, as stories help explain the world we live in, and add meaning to our lives – they’re part of the greater human experience.

This applies to our relationship with brands as well, as stories help guide people through the customer journey.

Even if it’s a journey that takes them two years from brand recognition to finally making a purchase, the story that you share on social media will influence how the customer decides to convert.

Stories help you connect to your customer throughout many touch points in their lives— not just a single sale along the way.

How has storytelling changed in the social media era?

When we published this article in 2017, the focus of this section was…Facebook and its “save for later” and auto-running videos with captions features.

That in itself is a pretty telling sign of how storytelling has changed in the social media era, and how it keeps changing at a fast pace.

Since then, the mediums have evolved: Facebook has dropped in the rankings, X, Instagram, and TikTok have become the top platforms, and video has become more important than ever before.

While the medium has evolved, the mindset of a great storyteller has stayed the same.

Whether you’re shooting with a cell phone or a camera, editing or live streaming, narrating, or captioning, a great content creator always asks, “What is the story here?”.

What are the elements of an amazing story on social?

Whether you’re creating content for your brand or yourself, there are some key elements that stories usually include:

  • Characters.
  • Character development.
  • Plot.

There’s a hero, there’s a villain, and there’s a guide.

The best, most epic stories have all of these elements. You want your customer to be a hero, and your brand to be their guide.

Moreover, if you can instill your brand’s morals and values in the stories you’re telling, they will come to expect that from your brand.

They will trust your brand and be more likely to become an advocate of your brand as a result.

Social media storytelling for B2B brands

B2B storytelling is all about conveying complex solutions, industry insights, and thought leadership content in a compelling and relatable manner.

By humanizing their narratives, B2B companies can engage with audiences personally, and start building relationships on shared values and mutual understanding.

From thought leadership stories to YouTube explainer videos, B2B brands can leverage storytelling to educate, inspire, and influence their audience.

Here at Sculpt, we see storytelling as an indispensable tool for B2B brands – it makes the difficult digestible, the complicated easy to understand, and the neutral memorable.

Have a story to share on your socials and still don’t know how to? Drop us a line, and let’s start unriveting it together!

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Josh Krakauer

Josh Krakauer is the CEO of Sculpt, that B2B social media agency you just discovered. Josh has launched social media campaigns for best-selling books, publicly-traded corporations, and early-stage startups. Josh works from Washington, DC, but still thinks Iowa City is the best city on earth.

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