by Ryan Bozeman
September 28, 2017

Stories are powerful. As kids, our parents might read us stories before we go to sleep at night. As adults, we might get cozy with a book before turning off that lamp on the bedside table. Then we wake up in the morning read more stories in the news or read stories about your friends on social media.

The point is — stories are engrained in our everyday lives. Our life itself is its own story in our heads in which we are the hero. Stories connect with us on a deeper level than lists of features, benefits, or logic. Your marketing should reflect that fact.

Using storytelling in marketing is a strategy that is nearly as old as time itself. So, why then, do so many companies overlook the power of storytelling in their marketing?

Let’s play a game.

Pull out some of your company’s latest marketing materials. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be your homepage, a blog post, or sales letter.

Now ask yourself — what story is being told here? What picture is painted? Effective stories in marketing allow the reader to see themselves in the shoes of the antagonist. This is why every weight loss product commercial features stories about the middle-aged mother who just wanted to be able to play with her kids without running out of breath.

Storytelling is an extremely powerful tool for Fintech companies. Stories in this space are even more powerful than in other industries. Why? Because Fintech companies are selling financial responsibility, and financial responsibility means freedom. There are an unending number of stories that can be told that can connect with the audience.

Social media is a natural choice for sharing stories. It cuts out the middleman and allows you to connect directly with your audience.

For Fintech companies, the best storytelling social media platform might be Instagram. If you haven’t started establishing a presence on Instagram, there is no better time than now to get started with Instagram marketing.

Instagram Marketing is a Long-Term Investment for FinTech

Source: eMarketer

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, there was a lot of movement in social media. Facebook had already supplanted MySpace as the de facto network of choice among teens and twenty-somethings. Twitter was firmly securing their position, too. But, we were still in the midst of the rise of Instagram, SnapChat, FourSquare, and a host of other social media sites vying for position.

Larger social media companies bought smaller ones. Sometimes, they integrated them. A few ended up closing their doors unexpectedly. It made it difficult for companies to know where to best invest their resources.

Those questions don’t apply to Instagram anymore. Today Instagram has more than 700 million users, and their growth is actually speeding up. More than half of those users are active every day. Instagram marketing is demonstrably lucrative for companies in many industries.

Most importantly for FinTech companies, a majority of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-29 — prime prospects for fintech.

Let’s take a look at how various FinTech companies have embraced storytelling on Instagram in these Instagram marketing examples:

Tell Customer Stories

Telling customer stories is the low-hanging fruit of Instagram marketing. Any good marketer knows the power of testimonials and case studies – but Instagram’s minimalist style helps you to grow their reach.

Here’s a great example from CreditKarma.

CreditKarma #mymoneystory

This is part of a series of short videos that CreditKarma uploaded to their Instagram account. This particular example focuses on money and the issues that it can cause in relationships. They interview a handful of customers who share their experiences.

The underlying point that they are driving home is that financial responsibility improves relationships, something that everyone wants.

Here’s another great example from ActiveHours, a company that offers paycheck advances to hourly employees for a low fee:

ActiveHours customer spotlight

This is one of a number of “customer spotlight” features that the company has published on their Instagram account. It tells a story that any young parent can relate to. It tugs at the heart strings. It shows that the company is doing some good in the world.

Right now the post has 135 likes and 57 comments — by far the most engagement of any post in the last year for the company.

That’s a lot of eyeballs for telling a very simple story.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Personal

Millennials distrust financial institutions. To many, banks and credit companies are big, heartless conglomerates that care very little about the average person. Why shouldn’t they feel that way? In most cases, those feelings come from their own experiences.

For that reason, FinTech startups need to take steps to separate themselves from that stereotype. People often lose sight of the fact that there are real people behind every company with the same problems and concerns that they have.

Don’t be afraid to be personal on Instagram. Telling stories about your employees and company as a whole will help your audience to relate to your teams and work toward seeing you as something other than “your average financial company.”

Let’s look at how some innovative FinTech companies are already doing this. Betterment’s Instagram page is a good place to start. In the last six months, more than half of their posts have been part of their “Employee Spotlight” series, which shares a pictures and tidbits about a member of their team.

Betterment Employee Spotlight” series

Your customers want to know that there are real people behind the companies that help them to manage their money. Letting them get to know your team can be a very effective way to drive that point home.

Share Triumphs

When it comes to stories, we are drawn to success. We don’t want to hear about the guy that tried for his whole life, failing over and over again and never reaching his goals. Would you read that book? Probably not.

We want the hero’s journey. We want a story about overcoming the odds, learning from our mistakes, and blowing past the barriers that had at one point held us back.

The same is true for the businesses that we work with. No one wants to trust their finances to a company that is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. They think, “If they can handle their own finances, what qualifies them to manage mine?”

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should start posting pictures of your CEO posing in front of Maybach’s. But when your company does have something to celebrate — as a team — don’t be afraid to tell the world.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Here’s CoinBase, a cryptocurrency trading platform sharing their 4th birthday with the world:

CoinBase 4th Birthday Instagram Post

The beautiful picture combined with the mind-blowing facts in the description paints a picture of what a grand achievement it was.

Storytelling and Instagram Marketing

Telling compelling stories is the most powerful tool that marketers have at their disposal. Whether you are sharing a story about how you helped a customer, letting people get to know your employees, or sharing a monumental achievement, stories give you the best chance of making a real connection with your audience.

To keep it simple — when your company does cool things with cool people, share it with the world. Tell stories about how it happened. You might be surprised by the response that you receive.

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