This post is based off the Digtial Campfires talk that the ever insightful Frank Chimero gave at Webstock 2011. I’ve taken some of his main ideas and put them in the context of social media because, well, this is a social media blog.
Social media is a revolution and brands know it. You’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t have a social media presence. There is a ton of information about “How to do Social Media Right” or “What Social Media Can do for Your Business.” Tips, tricks, pointers. What I think we need to talk a little more about is: What’s the goal? Too many brands these days jump into social media because they think they should, with out any real idea of what they’re trying to do. Now, I don’t want to talk about how social fits into your overall brand strategy. We’ve written about that before. I want to talk about, once you’ve decided it’s time to dive into social, what are you trying to accomplish? Get lots of followers? Sell stuff? The proper social media answer is, “We want to get people to relate to our brand and start having a conversation.” That sounds great! How?
Brands know they want interaction, but have no idea how to get it. Most brands, no matter how big they are, can’t just throw up a Facebook page and start having good interaction with their consumers. Brands have to start the conversation. This usually comes in the form of content. Links, deals, recipes, news, updates. Stuff for their followers to talk about. Here is where the biggest problem lies. Content is, by definition, cold. It describes what something is, but not how we relate to it or how we feel about it. Brands can post content to their page all day and no one may care. We have to give our followers a reason to care. Help them to relate to us and our brand. How do we do this? By telling a story.
Telling a Story
Stories are the base of much of our interpersonal communication. We tell stories about our day, our life, about the things we love and the things we hate. Stories help us explain to others, and to ourselves, who we are and how we’ve changed. If I hand you a self-help book are you more likely to read it if I just say it’s good, or if I tell you about how it helped me? When you’re going to share something to your followers, don’t just throw it out there and hope it sticks. Frame it in a way that helps people relate to it or makes them feel something about it. This is advertising 101, but for some reason we seem to have forgotten with social media. We sound like robots, firing off updates and deals and content.
Let’s See It
The Red Cross shared a story from one of their employees on their Facebook page:
so after my shift at the Red Cross, i went to eat some sushi at a restaurant nearby.
as i was about to leave, i thanked the waitress by my side.
she then looked at my badge, smiled and said “Thanks for your work.”
and so my heart smiled.
and that walk back home in the pouring rain did not bother me at all =)
The post garnered 100+ likes and a slew of comments. Even better, it spurred multiple people to share their own stories right there in the comments. I found a post on Ford Motor Company’s Facebook page that showed a picture of three dogs in the back of a fan’s Ford SUV. Instead of just saying how cute it was, they said, “This week’s Featured Fan Photo was uploaded by Mandy Barlett-Troncale, who’s three friends look like they’re ready for an adventure.” They framed it as a story, three dogs ready for an adventure! The comments are full of other people telling stories about their dogs in their Fords.
Stories are key to communication and social media is no exception. Think of ways to frame your content as a story. Move your content from being cold and robotic to warm and meaningful. Show people why they should care and they will. This is only one half of the picture though. Well told, relatable content is a great way to gain followers, but that’s not what social media is about, remember? We need to get those followers talking, telling their stories. How do we get people to tell stories? We’ll talk about that next week in part two.
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