How a Compelling Story Can Give Your Company’s Videos a Social Media Edge

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Everyone loves a great story. Whether it’s Sherlock Holmes solving mysteries in The Hound of the Baskervilles or true love’s triumph in the movie The Princess Bride, stories take us to places and allow us to experience things that are only limited by our imagination.

Storytelling Isn’t Only for Entertainment.

Your company needs to find a way to leverage the power of story to engage and build rapport with current and potential customers. With so much content being created for the Internet, there is a huge need to find a way to stand out. Social media is old enough now that there is no excuse for boring content.

According to experts at YouTube, you only have about fifteen seconds to engage your audience. As such, storytelling is the best option for an introduction video for your website.

As an example, take a look at my favorite introduction video from professional sand sculptors. It tells the story of how a group of little girls helped save a surprise engagement. The story only takes twenty seconds to tell, though the total running time of the video is ninety seconds. The key point is, the audience gets a sense of who the company is just by seeing the story, and the story makes the audience want to stick around for the rest of video to learn more about the company.

[vsw id=”w2HWuVJh-30″ source=”youtube” width=”640″ height=”385″ autoplay=”no”]

Give Storytelling a Try.

I think one of the reasons this concept has been slow to catch on is that people think it is so simple that it couldn’t possibly work. The fact is, people make buying decisions based on emotion. Stories can affect people on an emotional basis in a way cold hard facts never will be able to.

So how can you incorporate storytelling into your videos? Here are some ideas:

  • Talk about what you know. For your company, it might be a story about how you went above and beyond for a customer and how that benefited them. You could also relate the story of how your company was founded, something that happened around the office, an accomplishment of one of your team members… the list goes on and on.
  • Consider your target audience. People react to different things. What kind of story will your target audience want to listen to?
  • Follow a proven formula. A good formula for video creation includes:

–      Illustration: Telling the story.

–      Information: Tell them what you want them to learn.

–      Application: Show them how it applies to their lives.

–      Call to action: Tell them what to do with this new information. You might win them over with your great story, but it will be all for nothing if they don’t take action with the information you gave them.

  • Don’t try to be funny. As hard as telling a good story is, telling a funny story is even harder.
  • Storytelling isn’t limited to one style of video. A story works for any type of video. For example, a training video can incorporate a story to illustrate a point then go on to explain how to do the task.

Video Is a Show and Tell Medium.

Remember, you don’t have to SAY everything; rather, let the images help tell the story. You don’t need to talk about a shiny red ball if people can see it bouncing on screen. The important point is to make sure you use the right combination of words and images to bridge the gap between your company and your target audience in social media.

Jayson Duncan
This monthly Social Media and Video column is contributed by Jayson Duncan. Jayson is an Orange County, California filmmaker and owner of the video production company Miller Farm Media. In 2003, Jayson began using video to help others tell their stories through his video production company, Miller Farm Media. He has created videos for Fortune 50 companies. In his spare time Jayson enjoys playing his guitar, song writing, and spending time with his wife, Gretchin.
Jayson Duncan


Orange County video production company. We create videos to explain ideas, business and products using the art of story.
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  1. says

    Great advice Jason!

    I believe that if you have made a well compiled video and that should concise and easy to understand that will work great for the site. Thanks for sharing :-) 

  2. says

    “Show AND Tell” – absolutely. It’s one of the first things I notice about a video – it’s either all talk, at which point I click to a different tab and just listen; or it’s all type/graphics, and usually I could just read that on my own much faster in a blog post (same w/ slideshows). The videos I actually watch have a good balance of show with tell, info with entertainment, content and graphics – and no ‘boring’ anywhere. FWIW.

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