Article

Elizabeth Victor
Elizabeth Victor 18 April 2017
Categories Content, Social Media

Keeping Your Brand Up with the Trend of Digital Storytelling

One of the hottest trends for business is storytelling. Storytelling is becoming a vital part of any company’s marketing strategy. Here are some tips for turning your social media strategy into a social storytelling strategy.

One of the hottest trends for business is storytelling. Storytelling is becoming a vital part of any company’s marketing strategy. It is the natural progression of marketing with social media.

First we saw the trend emerge to show the personality of your business through social media which has led to personalisation and now, storytelling. What it comes down to is that we all love a good story. It is human nature to want to know what happens “behind the scenes” of a business. Stories help consumers better understand a company and know whether or not they want to do business with that company.

Companies can share stories through social media, thereby contributing to the social aspect of social media and also adding to social media engagement success when your social media posts make that “social” connection. Here are some more tips for turning your social media strategy into a social storytelling strategy.

Craft Stories in Your Social Media Posts

Part of your social media strategy should be transformed into telling stories. Since stories are innately social, the two go hand in hand and can make a great fit while providing a way to enhance your social media campaigns and increase engagement.

We are moving away from the “broadcast era” and so much of our corporate and company communications are now interactions and social in nature. Stories are so much more engaging and can also help improve your consumers’ sentiment toward your company. Stories can be more memorable, persuasive, and emotive. In addition to that, telling stories can make your brand messages stick better, be more engaging, and can lead to more when a call to action is embedded in the story. Some ideas for crafting stories into your social media posts include:

  • Feature employees
  • Tell the story behind a product or a service
  • Ask for reviews with stories from your audience
  • Create stories about the life cycle of important pieces of your company
  • Using social media as an outlet for customer service

Five Elements of a Good Story

Even though you may not be writing a book or a movie script, you are still telling a story in small parts as social media posts. You can always supplement additional information in a biog post, web content, or in articles if you need to tell more details of your story.

Here are five elements that are needed for a good story as found by a study at Georgetown University. Think about these five elements when you are creating story lines for your social media posts:

  1. An effective character: This can be a featured employee; but a product or a service your company offers can also be a main character in your stories. Of course, you should also consider your audience as a main character in your stories, and even place them in the hero role of your stories.
  2. Trajectory: In storytelling, the trajectory is an experience, a journey,or a discovery. In your social media storytelling, the trajectory is similar, but is an important component that might often be left out in shorter, social media posts limited to 140 characters. Keep the story going in your social media campaigns and be sure to include the trajectory.
  3. Authenticity: Of course, being authentic and true to yourself and others is a vital component for companies and the way you are presenting your company on social channels. Most of the time, the way that you can convey authenticity is by showing it not telling it. In other words, convey the trajectory of your character instead of just discussing it. Drop industry jargon and acronyms to bring your audience into your story and show them who you really are without any questions.
  4. Action orientated emotions: Emotion helps your social media stories become more shareable. Action and emotion both make your content more effective and engaging.
  5. A hook: The hook is a vital part of social media today because your audience has such a short attention span. The average attention span of adults is somewhere around 6 to 8 seconds. That is a very short window of opportunity and thus, why the hook is so important. You have to find a way to quickly grab your audience’s attention and then use the rest of the storytelling social aspects to keep them interested and engaged. Your hook can be written text, an image, or a video, but it has to grab attention almost immediately. Test what works for your company and your audience, but emotions are a good way to start.

Takeaways for Your Company
As with any marketing initiative, social media storytelling needs to be tested to see what works best for your audience and your company. If storytelling isn't working for you, then you should try another approach, but do not abandon the concept. It is a growing trend and is becoming an important part of any company’s marketing plan.

It might be more challenging for some industries, but there is always a story to be told and you just have to find the way to make that connection that is interesting and engaging to your audience. If you are having trouble finding your company’s stories, brainstorm with your employees and customers and think about what is talked about at the water cooler. Then, test which social media channel is best to start introducing those stories. Maybe your stories need to be on video, on your blog, and just highlighted with “previews” or teasers on your other social outlets.

The best way to use social media storytelling to connect with your audience is to use media monitoring to help you discover what works best with your audience through testing, analytics and social listening. When you know what your consumers are saying and how they are reacting socially, you can react and help improve your results.

Bela Schweiger
Bela Schweiger

There are few good examples where character based languages allow to express significantly more than in alphabet based ones. Using 140 characters in Japanese, (e.g. coffee would only be two characters) you are likely to be able to tell a short story. Since the majority of the articles and analysis about today's digital and connected world is written in English, it is almost inevitable that we consider English, the lingua franca of the internet.

Elizabeth Victor
Elizabeth Victor

I wouldn't say that it is exactly easy to convey a story in just 140 characters, but you can certainly throw out a hook to get your followers interested in clicking through to your blog or website where they can read the story. The most important thing is to cater to your audience and use social to communicate with them in the way that results in the most reactions you are looking for.

Julia Bramble
Julia Bramble

I love the whole storytelling thing and think this is a really useful blog - thank you! But I don't think I've ever seen effective storytelling in a tweet - do you have any examples, please? Thanks!

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