The Power Of Storytelling In A Social Media World

By @TheMarkDalton

Yesterday I wrote about how the Social Media “free lunch” for businesses is over. Want to gain the absolute maximum exposure on your social media business pages? Start investing in ad campaigns. Simple as that. However, someone on Facebook pointed out to me yesterday that people may not have the money to burn on a trial and error system while they try to figure out what works in ads and what doesn’t work. He is absolutely right.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Customers want to actually feel a connection to the brand they are communicating with.”]

Now, let me start by saying that I still think you need to have financial resources allocated to spend on marketing and adverts. Business 101, don’t go in expecting to get the maximum return with no investment. I completely understand you may be cautious of spending money on ads if you don’t see a return you hope however you need to have money there and you need to strongly consider working on social media ad campaigns. I am not talking about blowing thousands here, start with a small budget and see what works. However, that is enough about ads. As I said yesterday, organic reach now is limited unless you get lucky and find that ‘viral moment.’ Trust me, you could wait forever for that moment and it will more than likely never arrive. So how can you start maximising your organic content reach if you are using a small budget?

Storytelling. What keeps you coming back to books, TV series or a movie? A good story. When people ask you about your kids (if you have kids) what do you say? Do you tell them your kids are 5ft 4inches with brown hair and green eyes? No. You tell them stories about your kids, you tell them what your kids have been up to and how they have been getting on in life.

You can go and create social media profiles for your business today and start sending promotional content endlessly until you are blue in the face. I promise you won’t have a whole heap of success. However, if you humanise your brand and tell a story to your potential customers then I promise you will be able to maximise your organic reach as much as possible.

When brands started jumping on the social media train initially it was all about promoting and pushing what you were doing. However customers now show little interest in spam from businesses and brands, why would they be interested in that? Developing a brand online is completely different to developing the brand offline. Storytelling has become so powerful because people want to buy from people. Customers want to actually feel a connection to the brand they are communicating with.

Most social media platforms will give you context to tell a story. Some will do it much better than others, there is a reason why I have started getting loud about Snapchat recently. Snapchat is an excellent form of story telling with high levels of content consumption and engagement. Facebook is also good and storytelling and Twitter even has a role to play despite being limited to 140 characters. Lets have a look at some of the ways you can build effective and compelling storytelling to help you stand out from the crowd.

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Consider the target market.

Social media has given us the ability to put our stories in front of potentially millions of people. However just because you can do that doesn’t mean its the right tactic to adopt. Use social media efficiently to reach the right 1,000 people and try to target people who you know will be interested in your content. Engage with them and pull them in. This means taking into account the demographics of your target market before creating a story, if your target market is teenagers then you need to create stories which are specifically related to that audience.

Make the story shareable. 

When you start telling your story on whatever platform you decide to use you need to make sure that you connect with consumers on their level. Think from their perspective (this can be hard for some people to do but try hard) and look back at your story. As yourself if you would like and share the content you have created if you were a customer on the outside.

Involve your customers in the story, make it about them. Don’t talk constantly about what you are doing and about how great you are. Instead, tell customers what you can do for them. Tell them how your product can help them and refer to customer testimonials to show how you have had a positive impact on other people’s lives. It’s not about you, its about them.

Video will be king.

Video is becoming king, in particular live video is becoming king. You know what that means? Start getting used to getting your mug in front of the camera if you can. This is something I am still trying to get used to myself, honestly you can adopt your own style and voice everything from behind the camera if you want. However if you can get your face in there instead then you will be able to reap the rewards of more personalised content. Video is taking off at a massive rate at the moment and engagement is through the roof, it will be the future of a lot of content so start using it.

Find a platform that works for you.

Again I am going to bring up Snapchat. They are killing it when it comes to telling stories and the timing is right to get on there before the platform becomes crazy oversaturated in about a years time which is what is going to happen. Trust me, if you are not on Snapchat now and you decide to jump on board a year from now you are going to find it a lot harder to break through at a later stage. Get it out of your head that you could be too old for Snapchat, that was a valid case about a year ago but in the past year the demographic momentum has shifted big time.

Still not convinced? You can tell your story on Facebook and even Twitter. I will talk about each platform as a storytelling tool at the end of this piece.

Be you.

Just be you, be real and behave like you would as per normal. Be true to your brand and your brands values. Take inspiration from others but don’t feel like you need to copy them or their style. You do you.


Facebook:

Using Facebook as a storytelling tool can be done by creating long form content. Instead of just posting links, stick a bit of copy in there. So for some of my articles that I now post to my page I will put a bit of copy in there talking about what I have written about and what I will discuss in the article. This provides context and makes it appear and feel more personalised. Remember to engage when people start connecting with you!

Twitter:

Twitter can be more of a challenge. You are limited to 140 characters. They way I do this is I post my new content 3-4 times in the same day when it goes live. Sound like a lot? Twitter has a noise problem so it is not as much as you may think. You need to compensate for their noise problem. However what I do now is I change the copy for each tweet.

So when this article goes out it will have the original copy, then I will re-tweet it back out again 2-3 more times today with different copy in the tweet to help engagement and appeal to more readers. Try to not churn out the same copy with your tweets when you are trying to promote your content.

Snapchat:

I have spoken about Snapchat above so I won’t dive back in again however all I will say is that the storytelling prowess is in the name of one of the core features…Snapchat Stories…you want to really develop and nail effective storytelling for your brand? This is the platform to do it on so all I can say is download it, start exploring and start testing it out.

Other platforms:

There are of course a range of different platforms you can use as well such as Periscope, Musicly, Peach ect. Think about your stories and how you want to convey them. Happy storytelling!

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