The power of consumer stories in digital marketing

  • When making a purchase decision, consumer stories can deliver important information, influencing the decision and overall brand experience.
  • The immensely popular social media platforms have made stories a more powerful tool for shaping cognitive processing, brand value, and choice, writes Raghav Kansal, Founder & CEO, ET Medialabs.

Conjuring up memories and experiences are an essential form of human communication and often among the first messengers of cultural values and norms. What makes stories so important and effective is the fact that the human brain likes to encode, store, and recover information in narrative form.

When making a purchase decision, consumer stories can deliver important information, influencing the decision and overall brand experience. The immensely popular social media platforms have made stories a more powerful tool for shaping cognitive processing, brand value, and choice.

Consumer Stories as a Part of Digital Marketing Strategy

Relatively little is known about the power of stories and how the process works in digital marketing. Consumer stories are simply when customers share their own take on a brand or a product or post anything related to it on social media. These stories can add genuineness and authenticity that brands need to directly connect with their target audience and make them notice their brand. It can be a testimonial, a social media post, or their perception about the brand. Stories significantly increase consumers’ engagement with websites and indeed, brands

that are not offering experiences that leverage consumer input in brand-oriented narratives are missing out chances to connect with potential buyers.

According to a study by MIT, consumer-based storytelling can increase purchase consideration by 32% on average.

By making consumer stories a permanent part of digital marketing strategy, brands can improve brand awareness, achieve a broader reach, humanize themselves on social media, and improve customer loyalty.

Tips to Leverage the Power of Consumer Stories

1. Track Brand Mentions

To make the most out of consumer stories, you need to know where your target audience is. If the majority of your customers are on Twitter, but your brand uses Instagram primarily, then you might miss out on what your customers are saying about you. Start tracking your brand’s mentions in real-time on all the major social media platforms for anything worthy of a good consumer storytelling moment.

2. Customer Suggestions and Constructive Criticism

The great part about social media is that you get to see what your customers think about your products and services in real-time. Not only can you resolve customer queries quickly and improve customer satisfaction, but you can also take suggestions and constructive criticisms to refine your products.

3. Video Testimonials

Video testimonials are a great way to build trust among prospective customers, especially for SaaS and B2B companies. They can humanize your brand by showcasing how your services and products are directly helping end customers. It also gives a clear idea about what your customers think about your company as a whole.

4. User Generated Content

While your marketing team might be working hard to create engaging content and visually aesthetic graphics, the best way to increase engagement is by encouraging and resharing user generated content. Through UGC, you can let your followers know how they can tag your brand in a post and what hashtags they should use. Then, your team

can monitor the hashtags and share the best posts. By resharing the content created by your followers, you can share more posts with only half the effort. Moreover, it increases the virality of your brand’s hashtags without any expensive paid campaigns.

How are Brands Boosting their Storytelling?

Data driven storytelling i.e. using the huge amounts of data available to create highly engaging, visual, and targeted stories have proven incredibly potent for brands. By creating visually stunning stories, brands are grabbing attention and cutting through the raft of noise online.

With the increasing need for companies to consider fresh and innovative ways to connect with consumers, mini ads are gaining immense popularity. This is because people have become content weary and attention spans are getting shorter. From Facebook’s six second ads to Youtube’s ‘six-second story challenge’, mini ads are spawning a host of incredibly inventive results.

Further, immersive storytelling through VR is increasingly becoming an interesting tool for brands to convey their message. By immersing an individual in a sensory experience that forms the focus of your brand’s story, you stand to forge a meaningful connection like never before.

Immersive storytelling as of now is in its infancy but has a huge amount of scope to become a significant form of brand communication.

Summing It All Up

Reframing your digital marketing strategy and incorporating consumer to consumer storytelling can help you create more targeted campaigns which connect and resonate with your target audience on a more personal level. With so many platforms to share your brand’s story and customer experiences, there has never been a better time to connect with your target audience through an emotionally stimulating and focused brand narrative.

– This column has been authored by Raghav Kansal, Founder & CEO, ET Medialabs

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