Write Short Stories on Social Media for Better Clicks
The Ultimate Goal: You want your social media content to convert.
The Obstacle: all your competitors want the same. With over 90% of American companies that have at least one social media profile, it’s never been more challenging to engage users and turn them into loyal followers.
When users don’t trust ads and when engagement on social media becomes the core metric, you need to think about alternative ways to stay on top of algorithms and users’ mood changes.
Your mightiest tool? Emotions.
Users come to social media for a positive emotional response to content that would align with their values. So, concentrate on their needs rather than your product. Engage with branding social media stories they would want to click.
The Mightiest Tool to Trigger Emotions: Words
There are many forms of engaging content. Most of them are about visual and interactive elements to grab attention in today’s world of content shock and short attention span. With that in mind, marketers forget about one of the mightiest tools to trigger emotions from consumers: Words.
In 1839, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton nailed it, “The pen is mightier than a sword,” indicating that written language (meaning power of an independent press) is a more effective tool than violence.
Suitable and tailor-made words can encourage the desired action from people. Today, we know this tactic as an “emotional narrative,” crafting sales content and social media stories with specific stylistic elements to sound more persuasive and personal.
Appeal to Basic Human Instincts
According to psychologists, we respond to social media content (click, like, or share) when this content acts as a reflection of ourselves, or of how we want others to perceive us.
- 68% do that to “give people a sense of who they are.”
- 69% do that for self-fulfillment.
- 84% do that to get the word out about issues they care about.
In other words, people click and share the content satisfying their subconscious needs.
Here are the three basic human instincts:
This instinct is about physical well-being: food, health, safety, secure environment. Any content helping to achieve that will resonate with the audience. (Ever wondered why food and fitness blogs are so popular?)
How do you write social media stories with this instinct in mind?
Even if your brand is not about food or health, you can use so-called “tasty” words in posts: “yummy,” “juicy,” “sweet,” etc. Many blogs combine their topics with something “delicious” to grab more attention from readers.
This one is the most powerful, and it’s about attraction and seduction. Give the audience social media content about people, adrenaline, or connections — and they will respond.
This instinct might be responsible for why we better react to human photos, doubling website conversions!
How to write social media stories with this instinct in mind?
- Use lust power words, such as “sensual,” “kiss,” “passionate,” etc.
- Sure enough, support your text content with high-quality visuals, attractive and intriguing for users to click.
But it stands to reason that you need to remember about your brand nature. Know your audience, and make sure your tone of voice and stylistic items reflect their values and your brand’s mission. Stay authentic.
This one is the instinct of connection, action, social role, status, and approval. People crave fame and success, even if subconsciously, so give them content that proves they are fantastic.
Just make sure to use short sentences and active verbs when describing the idea behind your social media content.
How do you write social media stories with this instinct in mind?
- Invite them to act – Create the illusion of presence with your content. That’s why interactive content becomes more and more popular: it satisfies our need for action. Tests, quizzes, contests, giveaways, slides (carousel) — they all work.
- Help them find answers – Users emotionally respond to content that solves their problems so they could become better and interact with the world successfully. Help them by writing about lifehacks, strategies, tools, tips, secrets, and insights.
- Show they can do it – Most people believe they are different from others and they can do everything. The tiny detail: They look for easy ways to do that. Use “you can do it” verbiage in your social media content; show the audience they can succeed.
Neuro-Copywriting: Craft Mental Hooks
First explained by legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman as “the ability to mentally process the information and transfer it to a sheet of paper for the purpose of selling a product or service”. It’s about the psychological effect of particular words and sounds on the human brain.
Basically, you write certain words in a definite order to craft so-called mental hooks to get inside users’ heads and trigger them to respond.
In social media content, neuro-copywriting is about:
- compelling headlines with odd numbers
- sentences with beneficial adjectives
- questions and quotes to hook readers
- stylistic devices such as repetition, metaphors, and contrast
- active verbs and transitions
- content supported with data
- negative meta language when appropriate, to appeal to the dominant human motivator (it’s fear of loss, failure, or missing something worthy) and trigger them into action
Another detail that can help is choosing particular phonemes for your short social media stories to trigger desirable emotions and associations. It’s the theory known as phonosemantics, claiming that each sound has its meaning. So combining them in specific orders, you can influence users’ perceptions and emotions.
You want them to “see,” “hear,” and “feel” your words.
Connect with Storytelling
Storytelling is compelling because it’s not about data. It’s about experiences and feelings. People don’t retain information through cold facts; 70% of the info comes to the brain through stories and 95% — through emotions.
In other words, if you want social media users to listen to your marketing message — tell them a story. For business, storytelling is a combination of marketing and fiction, a chance to build a brand identity, and a personal connection with customers.
The Power of Narratives in Business
Your narratives help consumers see the world through your eyes.
Stories grab attention, engage, trigger feedback, help users remember you, and motivate them to follow you. And to make stories work on social media, you need to be specific:
- Focus on stories that reflect your brand nature.
- Think of stories that reflect the way you want users to perceive your brand.
How to write stories on social media?
Be concise – They’ll see the first two or three lines and decide if they want to “Read more.”
Hook from the very beginning – Make the visible part of your social media story eye-catching or even eyebrow-raising: a question, a strange word, a controversial fact or quote
Remember about the structure – Every story needs a hero (you, your brand or product, or your customer who solves a problem thanks to your product) and a plot with a set-up, narrative arc, and conflict resolution.
Also, your story needs to relate to the real world so readers could recognize themselves there.
This “Aha!” or “So true…” moment is what makes users like, comment, and share your social media stories. It’s about the combo of emotional content backed with wowing visuals.
Consider different genres:
- Share a personal story
- Post interviews with niche influencers in podcasts (storytelling dialogues)
- Remember about video storytelling
- Photo storytelling also works
The golden rule of storytelling is “one story = one idea.” Think of why users might need your story and how they can use it. Add it to your work plan for implementing your social media content strategy.
Appeal to the Five Senses
Bare facts or statistics don’t work well on social media. Try crafting your message with words that allow users to see, hear, smell, taste, or even feel your content. Captivate your audience and add personality with sensory words that relate to our five senses:
- Sight – defining colors, shapes, and appearances
- Sound – hearing, describing, or mimicking sounds
- Taste and smell
- Touch – defining textures and abstract concepts
- Motion – which are active words that describe movements.
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