Everybody loves a great story. People devour books about the boy who lived. We anticipate the next season of a TV series to find out how the exiled heir returns to the iron throne. Even in video games, there is a story behind every hero—heck, Mario wants to save Princess Peach!

We love a great story because either we see ourselves in it, or see what we aspire to be, even if it’s a story with dragons, orcs, and wizards. The ability of stories to connect with people is what makes it such a powerful medium of communication, something that the Davao social media management scene (or anywhere else for that matter) should learn from.

But how exactly do you tell a story with social media?

Create Your Own Kingdom

Build a Campaign

Most local entrepreneurs stick to creating a single ad and stop there. Half the time, the ad doesn’t even have a story to tell. It’s usually just a simple announcement that says, “We have a promo! Drop by our shop, would you?” or “We have great food. Come on over!”

While that works sometimes if you have great images or graphics, it can only take you so far as the short-term. It doesn’t really engage your audience or help in attracting loyal customers. A good social media campaign has its own version of a Hogwarts—its own world and theme to be engrossed in. And it’s revealed through multiple waves of ads.

It’s either an anthology of thematic stories (such is the case with the Jollibee Valentines commercial ads), OR a story arc with a beginning, middle, and end (just like KFC’s search for the First Filipino Colonel).

Both Jollibee and KFC have a loyal following, with people constantly sharing and engaging with their posts.


Introduce a Hero

Build a Relatable Protagonist

Stories are about people. Even fables are about animals that have the qualities of a person—they cry, they laugh, they rage, and they love. Harry Potter is a very relatable character. Scrawny kid, bullied, and only has a handful of friends? Sounds like most kids or teenagers who feel like they don’t belong anywhere.

Your ad needs to center on a character that people will sympathize with. Or better yet, you can make your audience the main character. Dove did this effectively with their Dove Real Beauty Campaign by focusing on every woman’s struggle with imposed beauty stereotypes. They featured real people from diverse backgrounds and made them (and in effect everyone they represented) the subject of a story.

dove beauty campaign


Be A Poet

Build a Strong Brand Message

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

—J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

Nah, you don’t have to write something like this. But you do need to come up with a powerful message. A great slogan helps your audience form an emotional connection with your brand. It doesn’t even have to be a slogan. It can be the words in a conversation.

Take a look at SMART Telecom’s gay-themed ad, one of the most effective ads (in my humble opinion) this country has ever seen. Apart from the shock factor of making an LGBT character the focus of a story (a rarity in Philippine media), the message is profound and heart-wrenching, and the punch line delivered as a bull’s eye. It was perfect.

Of course, all the great social media campaigns you’ve seen weren’t made overnight. They are a product of audience research, strategy, and creativity. And, emotional ads aren’t always appropriate. Sometimes, funny ones work wonders too.

I’m looking forward to the rise of great stories in the local scene. Digital marketing in Davao is growing, and there are great storytellers among social media agencies in the city.

And if you need a boost in your business’ social media, we’ve got just the right blend for you.