photo credit: x-ray delta one via photopin cc

Nostalgia makes us feel warm and happy. Even nostalgic stories set in times before our living memory  evoke these feelings. Tapping into this emotion can help people feel warm and fuzzy about our brand too. Here are four examples of businesses using nostalgia to tell their stories and some tips on how small businesses can replicate their ideas.


Volkswagen have taken the history of their most iconic car and turned it into a documentary. The film available to watch on an interactive website and on YouTube tells the tale of a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle that traveled the world three times. It’s still on the road now.

How To Use Nostalgia To Tell Your Social Media Story
The Volkswagen Story


The documentary isn’t a direct advert, it’s a moving film telling the stories of both the car and the people who drove it. It reminds us how a car can become the central part of our lives and makes us feel empathy with the brand.

How can small businesses recreate this?

This is a big budget production but even small businesses can tell the stories of their business. Try shooting a short video with a customer telling the story of when they first met you or about a time that they used your product.

RTÉ Archive

RTE is Ireland’s national broadcaster. They use their Twitter account to share snippets from their archives captured on Vine as well as historic pictures.

How To Use Nostalgia To Tell Your Social Media Story
Sharing the RTE Archives

This taps into their audiences nostalgia. The old films of Ireland seem to tell us about a simpler time that our parents or grandparents used to inhabit. We are reminded of RTÉ’s place in the history of the country and its position as a national institution.

How can small businesses recreate this?

Start creating your own archive. If you have old photos of staff, video or images taken at events start collating and sharing them. Choose 6 second snippets from your old videos and film them on Vine straight from the screen.

If your business is new start documenting now. Put together a file where you collect images, videos and stories as they happen. You should be the enthusiastic parent to your business always on hand to capture those important moments.

If you are feeling creative you could use the 1 Second Everyday app for Android or iPhone to capture moments from your entire year.

Titanic Belfast

The story of the Titanic is steeped in history and its tragic end somehow makes it all the more interesting. The ship was built in Belfast and there is a ‘Titanic Experience’ tourist attraction in the city. The Titanic gives Belfast a tourism hook that excludes the recent troubles.

The Titanic Stories website is a resource packed with snippets from the lives of the people involved in the Titanic both crew and the passengers. The ‘On This Day’ page shares historic Titanic moments for each day of the year.

How To Use Nostalgia To Tell Your Social Media Story
History and people of the Titanic


This site brings history to life and reels in it’s audience leaving us wanting to get closer to that history.

How can small businesses recreate this

The Titanic has a wealth of information on their website that is all shareable on social media. You can do the same with a blog. Share tips, news and stories from your business that others will want to share with their friends. As your audience learns more about you, your business and your expertise they will be more inclined to pay you a visit or hire you.

Glasnevin Museum

The Glasnevin Museum is based in the historic Glasnevin cemetery where many Irish heroes are buried. They use their Instagram account to take haunting pictures of the graveyard and local area. On the anniversary of famous deaths they share images of their gravestones in tribute. Many of these images are also shared on their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

How To Use Nostalgia To Tell Your Social Media Story
On This Day – Glasnevin Museum


Instagram is the perfect medium for this as the filters make the images look faded as if they were taken many years ago.

How To Use Nostalgia To Tell Your Social Media Story
Using Instagram filters to mimic nostagia


How can small businesses recreate this

The BBC have a webpage that lists significant news stories that happened on this day in history. History Orb delves further into the past. Take a look at these and pick out some events that you can relate to your business or industry. Create content that ties into those historic events.

Tapping in to nostalgia will help followers associate positive emotions with your business. These techniques will also help you tell stories that will make you more memorable. Customers will feel like they are part of your story and are more likely to tell their friends about you. Try it out and see if adding a bit of history to your business helps you engage your audience.

Have you used nostalgia in your social media marketing? Have you been captured by nostalgia from others? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your stories.

Master Social Media one day at a time with the We Teach Social Kindle book I co-authored.


  • greensideupveg

    Excellent post Amanda with loads to think about! I like the idea of the 1 second app, will be looking out for that one in a second. Certainly in the GYO world nostalgia is used a lot to promote it too – I’m thinking of all the war year posters etc. Not something I’ve used but you’ve given me an idea for a post, thanks.

  • Oh I’ll look forward to reading that one Dee. There must be a meme generator to make war posters, I might have to take a look.

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  • marieennisoconnor

    Terrific tips here Amanda. You really made me think of the possibilities for small biz marketing and the importance of starting to build an image and video archive

  • Thanks Marie 🙂

  • Excellent idea. When you think of the popularity of the programmes where they show footage from years past and the way radio shows do short slots on ‘On this date in history xxx happened, it’s a great idea for businesses to use it in their social media marketing. I’ve written posts on the history of farming and keep meaning to do more – must add it back to my to do list.

  • Thanks Lorna 🙂 Yes nostalgia shows seem to have been a huge success and I’m seeing more historic pics on Twitter and Facebook now. I wonder is it a trend or will it stay with us.

  • maryroselyons

    Good post, and you’re right – people love the nostalgia tip! A recent post on a client’s FB about retro toys went through the roof! They say people look back during times of recession, so let’s hope that the retro stories disappear real soon and we can all start looking forward again ; )

  • Good point. I’ve been trying to guess what the next trend will be, futurism?