• digital storytelling

5 Creative Tips to Use Social Media for Storytelling

Long before there was the internet, television or even radio, human beings sat around fires and told stories. Stories are a universal language and the thread that connects us.

There is little that people love more than a good story, as evidenced by the $100+ million that moviegoers will spend on a great movie or the millions of dollars businesses spend to tell their stories during the Super Bowl.

Every business has a story to tell and social media is a great place to tell it. Posting on social media differs from telling a story on social media.

Here are 5 tips for telling a great story on social media.

1. Details Matter

When actors are preparing to play a role, they get to know every detail about the character they are portraying.

In most cases the characters are fictional, but they can’t just make things up out of thin air. All the details have to align with all the legitimate information they have about the character.

For instance, the actor may determine that the character displays very strong Gemini traits besides traits of those born in the Pig’s Year and middle child tendencies. Or, they may exhibit the abandonment issues that point to the early loss of a parent.

The more minute the details the actor has, the more real the character becomes. The more real they are, the more relatable they are.

The more deeply and intimately you know every facet of the story you are telling, the more real and cohesive it will be.

2. Remember, Stories Have Arcs

Great stories are a roller coaster of difficulties, unexpected twists and turns and even moments where doom seems unavoidable. Then compare that to the social media profiles of most people you know.

To look at most people’s social media profiles, you might get the impression there are a lot of perfect lives out there!

People post pictures of themselves dressed up with perfect hair and makeup, not with a giant pimple on their nose or with their dress accidentally stuck in their pantyhose. Yet, those things happen all the time.

As a storyteller, your job is not to paint an image of perfection, but a real picture of both good days and bad days and everything in between.

Without the storms, there would be no rainbows.

We resent people (and businesses) that seem to be all rainbows with no storms.

Whether you want them to, the storms will come. What matters is how you weave them into the narrative.

3. Study the Human Nature

Psychologists are not the only ones who understand people deeply. Most great actors, writers, filmmakers and even advertising executives need to be psychologists and know human nature.

To truly tell a great story, understand what moves people, what makes them tick and what they connect with. Storytelling is about creating a connection, which is also what your brand messaging should do.

There is much that businesses can learn about how individuals use or abuse social media. Look at the behaviors of people you block from your personal feeds and you’ll know what behaviors to not engage in.

Yet, too many businesses use social media just as poorly. Conversely, there are individuals who have thousands and sometimes even millions of followers.

These are the people you want to learn from.

Storytellers create a world everyone wants to be a part of and then invite everyone into it. This is the key to what makes some top Instagram influencers so successful.

Everyone wants to be a part of the worlds they create.

4. Make A Comprehensive Outline

Unlike movies, television shows have story arcs, season arcs, and series arcs. Each episode has its own story arc that still has to fit in with the story arc for that season, which also has to fit in with the story for the entire show.

When something happens, that does not fit in with the overarching narrative of the show, it’s called jumping the shark. The point is, everything has to fit in with everything else.

It is highly important to keep your materials almost obsessively organized to ensure all of your content fits in cleanly with your narrative. Go deeper into your strategy by jotting down the yearly, seasonal and monthly goals and make sure their stories align.

Be meticulous and organize your storytelling. Keep a close tab on themes, dates, and channels.

Best way to do this is to via cloud storage and applications, which not only help you sync your storytelling across multiple platforms but also help you collaborate smoothly with other team members. Leverage the technology while working on a seamless brand message.

5. Keep Everyone On The Same Page

One of the vital aspects of brand messaging is consistency. Going back to point number one – the way you maintain unerring consistency across all platforms and channels is to know your story so completely and intimately, that it is impossible to stray from.

If you take commercials or advertisements from world’s biggest brands like Apple, Budweiser or Nike, remove any branding or logos from them and show them to people, chances are good they could still guess who those ads were from with high accuracy.

The brand messaging of some companies is so strong that you know who they are even without their telltale logos.

If you have more people assigned to marketing and responsible for telling a brand’s story across multiple channels and platforms, you need to keep them aligned. The more comprehensive your outline is, the more likely everyone is to stay on message.

Wrapping Up

Storytelling is an art form that some of the biggest brands in the world have mastered. They know who they are and as a result, so does everyone else.

What may be even more important is that they know who they are not. They know who they appeal to and who they do not appeal to.

This may be one of the hardest concepts for many brands to grasp. Not everyone will like you and that’s okay. You shouldn’t aim to be everything to everyone.

Instead of being a jack of all trades, niche down and find the audience you truly relate to. That may not gain you a huge following, but it will gain you a die-hard one.

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