Marketing is about telling good stories. Social media marketing is about getting your customers to tell them for you. The value and freshness of your content and how well you tap the connections that tie users and businesses together via social networks directly impacts the effectiveness of your social marketing campaigns.
Connections are the key to making social business, well, social. But it’s good stories that fuel conversations, allow businesses to be a trusted source, and underpin the success of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. The content that tells a story is the content that elicits the most conversation and engagement.
How content is crafted and presented is a huge determinant of its social success. So how do you relate it to the reader so it resonates and ideally motivates them to retell the story and spread the word? Here are 6 ways you can practice the art of storytelling in your content creation to see more success with your social media networks.
6 Ways to Tell a Story With Your Content
1.) Tap user-generated content. The growth of social media and community-sourced content from citizen journalists and bloggers has exploded in 2011. But as we know, unfiltered user-generated content isn’t necessarily good content. Arguably, the explosion of community content has only created more demand for experts who can act as trusted advisors that route only the best stuff to its audience. Be that expert guide, and remember that the fact that it's user generated can often positively outweigh any editorial inadequacies you may find, but it's your job to keep the right balance.
2.) Talk about your mistakes. Social marketers who master the art of crafting stories have the opportunity to spark interest by creating a shared experience. And no shared experience is more endearing than sharing the mistakes you've made that your readers have likely also experienced. Telling this type of story humanizes your brand and makes you relatable. By sharing your mistakes, you'll find you become a special breed of influencer that becomes part of the community, versus just marketing to the community.
3.) Make content personal. What a generic statement. What does this really mean? It means you should talk about why you're discussing a topic, and why it's important to you. There's some reason you decided to create this particular piece of content; share that motivation with the audience so they know why they should care, too.
4.) Respond to news content. If a story is happening that will affect your audience, write about it with a spin that's specific to your industry. This takes the news story out of the abstract and makes it personal, relevant, and helpful for your readers. On top of that, you'll be rewarded in search engines with Google's freshness algorithm update.
5.) Use real life examples. Produce case studies. Highlight your customers' experiences. Find people who are doing it right, even if they're not in your network (a great way to make new friends in your industry, by the way!) If you can't find a real life example, create a use case in which you write your own characters who exemplify your audience's persona. Bringing your content into real life scenarios will have a bigger impact on your readers that makes your content more likely to be shared.
6.) Talk like a human. Enough with the business babble. Don't worry about sounding smart. It's alienating and condescending, and your story will be quickly lost on your audience. Talk like a human being that cares about making meaningful relationships with people. Clarity is more important than big, fancy words.