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Effective Storytelling on Social Media

By: on January 16, 2017
Posted in: Brand PositioningCommunicationsSocial Media

Allow us to preface this blog by pointing out something insanely important – it’s really hard to tell a captivating story these days. That isn’t because there’s a lack of originality either, there’s just a lack of anything that truly impresses people lately. I mean, if we look back on 2016 for example – we’d be able to conclude that nothing comes as a surprise anymore. ANYTHING can happen. Within our society, we have almost become numb to anything newsworthy as of late. Does that mean you should give up and stop trying to create remarkable content capable of reeling in an audience? Absolutely not – if anything – now, more than ever, you should consider learning how to tell a proper effective story (especially on social media).

Before we get started, know that the content you provide on social media may be in the form of a blog, website page, article, lengthy social media post, social media profile (about me section especially), brochure, case study, and more. Essentially, just about anywhere you distribute content, you will also need to be aware of how to create captivation whilst doing so.

So pull up a chair, take a seat and allow us to tell you a story about… how to tell a story. 

Chapter 1 – Know Your Audience

Your company is tasked with marketing an online video game designed to help seniors retain mental sharpness and improve memory – and so the first thing you did was tackle a blog post and begin writing. Within your post, you draw attention to recent video games you had played personally (to fit the narrative, let’s assume you’re in your late twenties, early thirties perhaps) and begin listing relevant “video-game terms” and how these games have personally resonated with you. You’re hoping that your experience carries an air of inspiration that’s bound to encourage your target audience to follow in your footsteps and try this new video game. However much to your surprise, nobody within your demographic has the slightest clue as to what you were talking about. This was due in large to your lack of understanding your audience and what they would connect with. You were on the right track by talking about a relevant topic, but you fell short when you assumed the connection of your audience as opposed to taking the time to learn about their level of understanding and simply who they are.

How do you avoid this? — Start with baby steps. Determine your audience. Who is your target demographic? What are their interests? What is their age group? Are they perhaps an older audience that averts digital everything at all costs? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself before you start writing.  Answering these effectively will give you a pretty decent head-start. When in doubt, use trial and error (within reason). One of the best ways to find out what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t is to simply write something based on reasonable amounts of analysis/research and see how well-received it is or isn’t. If at the very least you’ve determined your demographics then the rest should come easily.

Chapter 2 – Know Your Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is the concept of finding a unique way to set yourself apart from competitors and making yourself stand out from the crowd. You may already have a predetermined brand position based on your consumer’s perception of your business – in which case one of the best things you can do for your company is knowing full and well what people think of you prior to publishing content. Nevertheless, one of the most best approaches that you can take in any case is creating original content.

Brand positioning is incredibly important when deciding on what to write and how to write it. If you’re viewed as a knowledge-leader, provide educational content and write stories that leave a customer feeling as though they not only learned something, but also achieved something in the process. If you’re viewed as a fun, customer-service oriented company – maybe opt to write a fun-loving and wholesome story about a customer experience that’s bound to evoke smiles all around. Perhaps before chapter 1 where you learn who the customers are, you should put effort into knowing who you are and who your customers view you as.

Chapter 3 – Would You Read Your Story?

When in doubt, ask yourself why you are writing your story. Are you writing for the sake of putting content on your social media profile in order to make it look as though you’re still around? Well, a customer is going to know that the second they start reading – when it feels like a chore, it reads like a chore. If you’re writing because you have valuable information to share, then put it all out there, but remember to make sure that it connects with the audience and is well worth sharing. Nobody is going to tell their friends that they read a blog/article/Facebook post called ‘how to count to 10′. You can make educated guesses as to what your audience does and doesn’t know (back to the trial and error point), but remember to respect them as well.

Always imagine things from the customer’s perspective. Is the content impressive? Does it resonate on an emotional level? Would you share it with a friend? Does it elevate your interests and make you want to learn more? Has the content taught you something you didn’t know? Once you have ticked off these boxes, your content is ready to share with your audience.

Chapter 4 – Get Your Customers to Talk About Your Story

Leverage the brainpower of your audience and allow them to contribute to future discussions. Your stories should always be a window to allow your customers to let you know how your business can or currently is creating positivity within their lives.

Why? Well, simply put – encouraging discussion is a way to not only let your consumers be heard and reinforce what you are currently doing well, or what you can improve upon, but it’s also means of empowering them and giving them a platform to help reinforce the resonation of your story. Most people have a tendency to remember things they have participated in as opposed to something they just watched. Though you may be disabling comments to avoid conflict or being “trolled” if you will, it is strongly encouraged that you facilitate positive discussion by allowing your consumers’ voices to be heard.

Chapter 5 – Be Consistent and Authentic

Have you ever had a friend tell a story at a party to tons of different people, and change the details every single time? This is far and away one of the most frustrating experiences if you’re there each and every time. Your audience on social media is present for every story, so you absolutely need to be consistent with your details or else you’re bound to create confusion or a loss of trust. Always be sure to outline the complete details of your story and maintain honesty and truthfulness in your story telling. We’ve all heard our fair share of “fake news” lately and want to avoid being called out on such to avoid a potentially tough or awkward situation.

Conclusion

Remember these tips, and develop a story that is truly narrative, interesting, worth sharing, and honest. It is important to keep your audience asking for more. Become the J.K. Rowling or Stephen King of blogs. Your challenge is to remain prolific, keep ideas coming and continue to inspire.