Let me tell you a story…’. The moment the keynote speaker is phrasing this, the people in the room change the way they sit—and more importantly—the way they listen. You can see this happen! Stories are the oldest form of communication and oldest known mechanism of learning. No wonder the digital version of storytelling is finding its way on social media!

More impact

People find no meaning in 74% of brands. But storytelling can increase the value of a brand 20 times. Take the way Nike is telling their story of dreaming further. Everybody has dreams. Everyone needs encouragement to reach them. The better you are able to tell your story online and connect your story to the people you want to reach, the more engagement and impact you will have. The more credibility you will receive, and… as you probably remember from previous articles: that’s one of the magic words in social media!


Stories always played a big role in engagement, all of the world religions are based on passing on a (THE) story. Stories help people to see patterns in their own chaos or can give meaning to life’s events when things look random. Apart from the spiritual side of storytelling - that is connected to religion - there is a big psychological side to it as well. The stories we find in the Bible are not only historical, but they also teach us a lot about life and the nature of God and Jesus for example. Without those stories it’s almost impossible to share our faith.

Emotional drivers

Online storytelling is booming. WHAT you have to say and the WAY you say it needs to be connected, be in sync with each other. This link needs to ‘feel’ right. People on social media operate by feelings, make choices based on their emotions. Research shows 95% of purchase decisions are made unconsciously (see 9 elements of using digital psychology). For instance reaching their dream makes people want to engage and share (your story). Now you understand the Nike campaign! Those emotional drivers are crucial in strong online storytelling. A story connects a message to an emotion and makes you understand truth in a deeper more holistic way.

More than words

Telling a story isn’t always about a lot of words or a video, even one picture can tell a story that people want to engage in. Though it’s been years since he was in office, we can learn from Barack Obama’s two ‘one-picture stories’ that went viral big time! Both were about hugging somebody. On one picture he is hugging his wife and on the other picture he is hugging an ebola survivor. One picture was so much stronger than 1,000 words. Don’t fear the ebola survivor!

Connect dots

If you are able to connect the story of your organization to the emotions of your persona you are half way there. Of course the story needs to be genuine and in line with the mission of your organization, but if you are able to connect all those dots, you will see that your persona is getting more and more involved with the core of your mission. We call this engagement.

Read on to see how to connect with your target audience.