Story telling narratives have been around for quite some time, but it is only recently that story telling has made its way into the spotlight of social media content strategy. Last year Coca-Cola revealed its roadmap to connect and stay relevant in popular culture via social media channels. Central to their approach, was dynamic story telling.
Story telling is the art of connecting the hearts and minds of your fans with a shared value and ideal that defines the sacred truth of why the brand exists, and who benefits from that existence. Story telling allows the customers to connect the outer value and reason the brand exists with inner values of the consumer.
A successful narrative taps into the mythical, the carnal and the base behaviours we were once taught in our village. This ‘story’ allows for a connection that goes beyond the traditional transaction. A successful narrative should remind us of something sacred, a deep value within ourselves rather than just promoting a product or service. It taps into those bedtime tales from our youth.
There are several tactics you can use when implementing this strategic imperative:
1. Allow the story telling to be your differentiator
Archetype themes resonate well with the lowest common denominator, take for example Apple and their ‘Think Different’ positioning which resonated with the ‘rebel’ archetype in the mind of the consumer. Your ‘Why we’re here’ positioning should resonate with fans, and that basis makes the story so much easier to tell.
2. Theme your content in a multi-layered approach, talking to human experience, life-stage of your fan segments, and then layer your brand communication on top of that
You should be walking with your audience on a journey, just as a story would. When the content matches on more than one level, the brand story starts materializing on those levels for the fan targets.
3. Hand-in-hand story telling
Instead of you telling your story, get the fans to tell it for you! After Ford USA re-acquired their logo, the social team realised that fans didn’t only want to hear from the brand, but also wanted to tell their own stories, so the platform (FordSocial) morphed into a brand and fan owned story telling portal.
4. Visual and multi-faceted story telling
Using visual and video platforms to tell your story. Luxury retailer Woolworths uses Instagram to showcase internal staff and culture. Internationally General Electric does the same as it takes followers through the journey of jet engine production. Vine allows video story telling and many fashion retailers are using the platform to showcase new lines just as they would appear in HQ. Remember, a multi platform approach might sometimes be necessary, and fans don’t only require text content. Help them imagine!
5. Personality is incredibly important
If we’re not talking in the right tone, and talking with the people we want to target, your message is pointless. Natural conversation flow and fueling the fire to your story (keeping people engaged once they’ve started interacting) is key to moving them up the ladder of brand advocacy and trust.
Even though story telling has been around for quite some time, the tactics and activation of these threads into social channels can be executed through different tactics. Simply think about how you’d get the message across if you had to talk someone through it at that point in time, and build the scenery around that core message.
Don’t let your “why”/ core value get lost on the way, as that is the core tie in for relationship building and the main message in your story.