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Why Visual Storytelling is the Best Way to Build Authentic Engagement

Why Visual Storytelling is the Best Way to Build Authentic Engagement

Humans are visual creatures.

Visual storytelling can do much more than just boost web traffic. It can be a huge factor in increasing the number of eyeballs on your brand in general. Incorporating this concept into marketing is a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down and social media has only added fuel to the fire.

Social Media Examiner’s 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that 85% of marketers make sure visual effects have a significant role in their efforts.

In a time when people are exposed to more brand messaging than we ever thought was possible, businesses and organizations need to do everything they can to make their content stand out. People these days need to be wowed. Storytelling is by far the most compelling way to accomplish this.

In this regard, there are some brands that have gone above and beyond in creating powerful stories that stick with people forever. The messaging has established an “it” factor that simply cannot be replicated. Here are some examples of how certain brands are encompassing this concept perfectly.

1. The Outbound Collective – Story-linked Instagram posts

While travel blogs are nearly a dime a dozen these days, the Outbound Collective discovered a truly unique way to share their stories with their fans. Their Instagram feed doesn’t only feature pictures aimed at stirring up wanderlust; each photo has a story and a link to a blog post that includes details and descriptions of each location and traveler.

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Each post dives deep into the story behind the individual traveler and opens up a platform for them to share their experiences. From tips for safe traveling to naming the top trails, to hiking in countries around the globe, the Outbound Collective has really found a great way to bring their content to life by sharing a story behind each picture.

2. Tasty Videos – DIY food preparation

It’s nearly impossible to go on Facebook these days without seeing at least one Tasty cooking video. The recipe clips are actually owned by Buzzfeed, and the page is on track to be one of the most popular accounts on Facebook, currently with over 90 million followers.

The truly addictive recipe videos make it seem possible for everyone to become a master chef by showing you exactly how it’s done. Since video content is shared 1200% more than pictures or text posts, these clips are mega-engagement drivers that people can’t seem to get enough of.

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This type of visual storytelling focuses on short-and-sweet clips that keep the viewer’s attention and provide something valuable. With each video averaging over 165,000 shares, Tasty is proof that giving your audience what they want will result in incredible engagement.

3. Charity Water – Journey episodes

While many non-profits know how to tug at the audience’s heartstrings, Charity Water uses visual storytelling to get everyone invested in the organization. Charity Water’s goal is to bring clean water to remote villages in third world countries, and they’ve completed nearly 25,000 projects so far.

On their YouTube channel, they use a series called “The Journey” to share beautiful (and realistic) stories of how their organization gets down and dirty to help those in need. The Journey shows how every donation goes straight to helping people in Ethiopia gain access to clean water.

One of the issues many charities face is being able to accurately convey exactly where people’s money is going. By using a raw form of storytelling, told directly from the front lines, Charity Water is able to communicate their intentions in an incredibly meaningful way that leaves an impact on current and potential donors.

When looking for “in the news” topics like this, social media monitoring can be a phenomenal source of inspiration. Social listening tools like Brandwatch enable you to track trending keywords in your industry, brand names, and even your competition, so you can jump into conversations, newsjack, and strategically contribute to popular events and happenings across the world.

4. National Geographic – Explore everywhere

National Geographic is the undisputed king of Earthly exploration. They have long been sitting on the throne of visual storytelling for over 120 years!

National Geographic is a brand that understands that spectacular storytelling these days is a task that involves many factors. Most importantly, they know that in order to produce the best stories, they need to invest in the best storytellers. For this reason, National Geographic makes it a point to collaborate with the most qualified journalists, photographers, scientists, and explorers to convey their messaging in a powerful way.

In terms of the visuals themselves, one glance at their Instagram page is enough to tell you that they know what makes a compelling picture.

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Another huge contribution to their success is they know exactly where their viewers are consuming content, when they are doing it, and how they want to do it. In recent years, Snapchat has been an extremely beneficial channel in their marketing mix – with millions of subscribers engaging with their content.

Most importantly, through all of their breathtaking visual effects, National Geographic stands for one common purpose: “Keep the planet beautiful.”

Their visual storytelling efforts have worked with a number of ambassadors aiming to address a plethora of environmental issues. Over the summer, they promoted World Oceans Day to raise awareness tforthe cause.

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At the end of the day, no one does visual storytelling like National Geographic. Their methods should serve as a template for brands trying to make a name for themselves.

Over to you

The concept of visual storytelling is at an exciting time in its evolution. The rise of 360 videos, virtual reality, and more are clear signs that great things are coming.

Brands are going to need to think even more outside-the-box to present captivating stories. From a marketing standpoint, the future of visual content is looking very, very bright! Do you think so? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Guest Blogger: Mark Gadala-Maria is the owner of Lucid Digital, a Miami based web development, and marketing firm.  Mark has been writing about cutting edge web marketing and development strategies online for the last 5 years.