This past week in my social media class, we discussed a variety of different issues, but one that I covered with my students was transmedia storytelling. I think this is a relevant topic of conversation for social media purposes for a variety of different reasons. First, it does focus on the content that you are wanting to communicate and share with your community. Secondly, it does present ways for you to consider thinking about the best way to frame and disseminate this information to your community that is relevant, meaningful, and inspiring.
However, one of the things we are seeing in social media is the fact that everyone now is a “storyteller” and that we all must captivate our audience with stories. While it is key to be authentic and inspiring, it is also important to not put all of our eggs in one basket. Storytelling is one component to strategic communications and one platform and medium we can use to effective share these stories is indeed social media.
I think that Michael Brito has been spot on when it comes to effective brand storytelling. He shared his insights on a white paper that was insightful and relevant to brand storytelling from Contently that discussed what are some of the components that make content more effective than ads. What I do appreciate from this is that it does focus on the content that sparks the emotional appeals and allows the individual to be part of the experience in the process. It’s very psychological and strategic in many ways – and sometimes we get caught up in the jargon or the trendy terms floating around cyberspace without taking a moment to think – why is this effective? How can we make this experience better?
So, how can we make brand storytelling better for social media strategy? Here are a couple of ways we can go about in accomplishing this:
- Focus on quality, not quantity: We have to consider that while it may be tempting to post as many things about our company as possible – really spend the time to focus on what would help inform and inspire our communities to act accordingly to our stories.
- Everyone has a say in the brand story: This is what social media allows communities to do – it is a combination of platforms that disseminate and co-create stories that involve not just one voice, but millions. This is to be expected, so we have to take this into consideration in social media strategy practices.
- Embody the values you present and share in your brand story: Think about what values and attributes you have already and make sure they are connected to what you are sharing with others. It is all about making sure it is consistent with how you act in real life. In order to do this, you have to be authentic with these practices and make sure you are able to sustain them appropriately.
- Identifying the right ingredients that makes a good story: You don’t want your brand to just say “okay, everyone has a story so I need to make sure I tell mine now” without thinking about the components you need to make the final product. To use another example, you can’t make a perfect French croissant without having the right tools and ingredients, right? The same goes with your brand story. Consider this as a scientific process and explore what attributes need to be there – similar to what some of these professionals have shared in their various TED talks about storytelling.
- Don’t just tell, go out and do it!: After all, good stories are told and shared due to the fact that they happened. The brands who are successful and great storytellers are the ones that actually did what was presented in the story. We want to make sure that we are actually doing the things we promise, share, and experience with our communities instead of just talking.
- Always be aware of the situation: Stories are good when they are presented at the right time and place, and you really want to make sure you share these at the appropriate time and be aware of what people are already talking about. Worst thing you can do is try to share your story when people are distracted or following other news and situations that have more importance.
In summary, storytelling for brands and organizations are going to continue to be a factor, but one of the things we need to consider and think about is the strategy behind these stories. We have to consider the specific plan of action before we jump on board with this particular form of communication as social media professionals. There is a time and place for storytelling, and we want to make sure we do it right.
Hope you all are having a great day!