Rebekah Radice, a Social Media Strategist, says that there are 7 Golden Rules to Social Media Success: 1. Listen, 2. Understand, 3. Engage, 4. Collaborate, 5. Educate, 6. Communicate and 7. Connect. We think that they can be all summed up by just one word: Storytelling.
Stories matter. They are much more memorable than data. They add meaning, help us understand and relate to the world around. Stories are universal and timeless language people COMMUNICATE with, CONNECT to and through, with each others. “A story can cross the barriers of time – past, present, future – and allows us to experience the similarities between ourselves and through others,” says Andrew Stanton, a filmmaker at Pixar.
Every single person has a story. We CONNECT with that person if this story means something to us. The same applies for brands. Brands that create compelling/meaningful narratives elicit much more social conversation and engagement. Why? Because their message is good enough to be talked about. The most successful brands are often the best storytellers. What to know how they do that? Here are the 3 Top Storytelling Strategies to Win Social Media and Build a Powerful Brand.
3 Storytelling Strategies To Win Social Media with Your Brand
1. Make People Feel a Part of The Experience
The rise of social media has allowed and empowered everyday consumers to speak on behalf of brands and deliver a brand’s message even more effectively than the brand itself. We already know, that user-driven content can be a lucrative investment for social media strategy, but how to generate it? Dannijo, a jewelry brand, knows exactly the secret. And that is to make people feel a part of the experience.
Danielle and Jodie Snyder, the company’s founders, created a unique retail space. A showroom of the brand’s jewelry that combines a cafe, installations, and host talks often touching unexpected and yet brand-related subjects like health, fitness but also sisterhood and philanthropy. A key element of that space, though, is a dedicated selfie booth for people to take photos of themselves. “It enables your customers to participate in the experience, adds a new dimension, and makes it more dynamic. It’s a way for people to become part of the experience and share the experience with others,” say Snyder.
Dannijo is a fashion brand that stays at the forefront of the social media/digital movement. By making their customers be a part of the brand’s picture – literally and metaphorically – Snyder duo ENGAGE their audience into an authentic dialogue that generates a lot of excitement and digital interactions. And they do it well, as brand’s prominent roster of fans includes such names as Beyoncé, Lupita N’Yongo, Zosia Mamet, and Sarah Jessica Parker.
2. Listen & Create a Relevant Context
Today, to sell a pair of shoes it is not enough to tell people “hey, I sell shoes” paraphrasing JR Little, an author of “Listening Brands – How Data is Rewriting the Rules of Branding“. You need to tell people a compelling/meaningful story about these shoes that they will UNDERSTAND and CONNECT to. JR Little points out that social media has changed the way people meet and interact with brands. “Brands are so accustomed to talking about their category (…) I have a running shoe. My running shoe is the most affordable (…) but that’s not really how we interact with brands anymore – he says – We see them in Instagram posts, or we see them in our friends’ Facebook pictures. So, there’s a little bit of a change there in that we’re interacting and meeting brands in cultural scenarios and not necessarily at the shopping mall in a category context”.
Social media has created a new brand category – a listening brand. In order to stay connected and communicate with your audience through social media (where the interactions actually happen), you need to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND what they care about, understand their life context. And only then you can use this context to bring up your brand message through social conversations.
Look how a skillful listening brand Adidas is. The images Adidas U.S. post on Instagram bring up a diverse range of topics from same-sex relationships, skateboarding, up to the International Woman’s Day – relevant for their public and yet not necessarily so closely related to the core product they provide – shoes. Above a picture celebrating the International Woman’s Day with a bold statement “When extraordinary is your ordinary, it’s worth celebrating”, a dedicated hashtag #heretocreate and a contest for the followers to catch their attention and amplify further social conversations. Easy to identify with, isn’t it?
3. Showcase Your Values
Brand stories are not just ads. They are not sales pitches. A really good brand story sells a brand without even letting the audience realize they buy it. This kind of story creates a brand experience by communicating its values and beliefs rather than pushing its products. Dove, the beauty giant, mastered this lesson perfectly. They created an EDUCATIONAL campaign to tell all the women “You’re More Beautiful Than You Think”.
Dove recruited seven women of different ages and backgrounds and COLLABORATED with an FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora to create two types of composite sketches of the ladies. First – based on their own descriptions, and second – based on other women’s descriptions. As you may suspect, the two resulting drawings of each woman differ significantly as women tend to see themselves with much more critical and harsh eyes than they are actually seen by the others.
Despite the obvious commercial intentions behind this campaign, Dove’s message aimed to EDUCATE and break with what mainstream female-targeted ads consider as “beauty”. They concentrated on brand’s values and beliefs – they did sell the product but the point of view, a way of life that women might want to join and follow.
Shortly after the release, the Dove’s poignant video has been viewed a staggering 6.5 million times on the brand’s YouTube channel. But what is even more striking here is the fact that Dove name does not appear not a single time during the whole movie!
Over to You:
To tell a brand story that works is to care about the message you send as much as about the product you sell. A good story makes people build a product into their lives without even letting them realize that. In the digital realm, it means to 1. Listen 2. Understand, 3. Engage, 4. Collaborate, 5. Educate, 6. Communicate and 7. Connect. We have just used all these 7 social media success words to tell you this post story. Can you duplicate it in your social media strategy?