3 Tips for Successful Social Storytelling

Every brand has its own story to tell. Yet, when it comes to social media, many companies still struggle to find the right words.
Social Media

Every brand has its own story to tell. Yet, when it comes to social media, many companies still struggle to find the right words. Though most organizations are well aware of social media's value and importance, many still employ such networks as marketing vehicles, which ultimately fail to facilitate engagement. Social media now stands as an opportunity to spark conversation and build brand advocacy, however, as these platforms allow brands to share their unique voice, thereby inviting consumers to become part of the extended story.

During last week's Social Media Strategies Summit in New York City, panelists explored the key elements behind creating and writing powerful stories that resonate across all social networks. Speakers included:

- Ahna Hendrix, CEO and lead social media specialist at ARCH Digital Agency
- Emily Butler, digital marketing consultant and social media marketing professor at UCLA
- Mindy Stockfield, senior vice president, consumer marketing for MTV Networks

Audience members learned that, while social media continues to gain momentum, success will only come to those who understand their followers and communicate on their terms. Here are three key takeaways that all companies must keep in mind when building their social media strategy:

1. Embrace the Human Element

Hendrix explained that, because emotion drives both online and offline actions, brands need to humanize their strategies in an effort to differentiate themselves from the competition. Organizations must infuse their approach with elements that go beyond the surface to develop stronger, more valuable consumer relationships. However, companies shouldn't hesitate to look to their competitors for inspiration, as it's smart to explore what already resonates with audiences.

2. Surprise and Delight Followers

Butler noted that, as with all other facets of the customer experience, companies should actively attempt to surprise and delight followers at every turn. Social media has become an ideal way to engage audiences because it allows consumers to express their thoughts and impact brand strategy. Ultimately, brands must clarify why they are telling their particular story, so they can ensure all subsequent communications help further their mission and add value to consumers' lives.

3. Determine the Proper Channels

Stockfield emphasized that, while social media may initiate many interactions, brands must look beyond these networks when establishing their voice and communicating with consumers. Every contact channel feeds into one larger conversation, so companies must decide where such messaging will resonate best. If something doesn't make sense for the given brand, strategist shouldn't waste their time, for brands need to dedicate all available resources to tactics that work.