People remember you by the stories you tell. They’re how people connect to you, what they find most interesting in your blog posts, and what they love to see on Instagram. There are more than enough pictures on Instagram with new products, and while that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be posting pictures like that, you should also post pictures that tell a story.
Don’t underestimate the power of telling stories because they’re what elicit feeling. Seth Godin, the author of This Is Marketing, said, “We sell feelings, status, and connection, not tasks or stuff.” People remember what you made them feel, or what you made someone they love feel.
He also stated that, “When you’re marketing change, you’re offering a new emotional state, a step closer to the dreams and desires of your customer, not a widget.” You offer the new emotional state by sharing a picture and giving them words that tell a story that gives them a glimpse into what their future could look like.
While your followers love the pictures of your newest product, they want the story they’ll be able to tell themselves and others. They want the feeling your product will give them.
Apple, for example, gives elegant visuals of their products, then they create a story around it. Take their latest commercial–the one with Billie Eilish’s song, “come out and play.” That’s easily one of the best commercials we’ve ever seen.
In their animated ad, they show not only their MacBook Pro (with sticker decals to make it more relatable), but they’ve also created a compelling story. The story is of a young girl who creates all day long, but is always afraid to show her work. By the end of the video, her art has accidentally been exposed to the people in her town, and they love what she’s created. She’s happy. By the end, they share a message: “Share your gifts.”
It’s like watching a small movie, and I’ll remember it for a long time. Now, the shy creatives of the world will connect and buy an Apple laptop to share their own gifts. They’re not buying the laptop, they’re buying their success.
In Seth’s book, he talks about marketing in general, but we’re taking these rules and applying them to Instagram. Seth gives three rules:
- Watch people
- Figure out what they dream of
- Create a transaction that can deliver that feeling
If you’re reading this it’s because you want more Instagram followers. You’ve probably been studying them to figure out who they’re following, what they like, what they engage with, etc.. You’ve gotten to know your followers, so now that you know what they want, give it to them. They love you, but how do you get them to engage, get them from Instagram to your website, and gain more followers?
You deliver the feeling they want by telling a story with your pictures and the caption.
How to Tell a Story With Your Instagram Posts
You tell a story with your Instagram posts by taking a picture that elicits a feeling. Then, you write a caption that brings home the idea of “this could be you,” or “this could be your child,” or “these could be your students,” and so on. Plus, the caption is where you finalize, “If you would like to buy these, click the link in my profile.” It’s where you give them the action step.
Example of pictures and captions:
You’ve launched a new product
The story Lululemon is selling here, according to both the picture and the caption is, these outfits make you look fantastic and allow for movement to run faster. When you see these outfits, you want them because they look good and you want to look as good as the models, yes, but you also want how it’ll make you feel. It’ll make you feel good and confident, thus your workout seems better.
You’re promoting a new blog post
Sade Solomon used this picture to display how she’s always on the go and ready to get a move on. With a coffee from a shop in hand, and her big coat, she’s getting ready to go somewhere. If you take a look at the caption, she’s promoting an article about eight of her go-to apps that all bloggers should have for when they’re on the go. (She’s also uploading this because of a trend– #NationalAppDay, so bonus points!)
Any busy entreprenuer or blogger can relate to this image and the topic, so they’ll be likely to go to her bio to click the link.
You’re trying to sell a comfy product
If you read the caption, the seller Zuri_House is promoting her neck pillows! While she’s probably posted pictures of the neck pillows by themselves, she decided to share a picture like this. You can see the story. Her little boy is comfortable, and his room looks cooler with those pillows. Every parents want their kid to look as comfortable as he does, and have a room they can imagine in.
She’s selling not the pillow. She’s selling the comfort and possibilities. Any parent would be eager to buy this.
You’ve just released a new book
The caption reads, “Our only wish is cuddling up with a book while enjoying some hot chocolate,” and the picture displays a book and a hot chocolate on top. Doesn’t that look warm and comfortable? Now you want to cuddle up with book and warm drink, and you don’t even have to think about what to read because there’s a recommendation right in front of you. What do you do? You buy the book.
Promoting a new video
The best way to promote a video is to share a small clip of it. Gary Vaynerchuk is constantly doing this. He gets a clip from one of his latest videos, and shares great value that empowers someone, makes them feel motivated to take action, and that action is to watch the rest of the video. He tells his story through empowering messages that he knows people want to hear.
Do you see how all of these tell a story? They’re sharing the feelings, and that’s what they sell. Not the product. So, go.
Tell the stories your followers want to hear (and see).