Leanne Leveaux is the director of Social Voltage, a new trailblazer of a social content agency and compadre of White Camino. Check out her musings on using social networks to tell great brand stories.
People often think that a brand’s social media is solely used to post updates about the business and promote products and services. And whilst this is true for a lot of brands, it shouldn’t be the only purpose of your social media channels. It actually runs a lot deeper than that.
In order to ensure your brand really connects with your audience, you have to put some work into your social storytelling. Showing the human side of your brand and building relationships with not only your existing customers, but potential ones too should be at the top of every social strategy.
But how can you make storytelling on social media work for you?
It’s quite simple really. As humans, we’re drawn to storytelling as we have been for hundreds of years, and social media storytelling is no different. (Well, besides the sitting around a campfire part).
We’re emotional beings and we like to feel connected to each other, and learning more about a brand’s story, their history, their people and how they got to where they are today are all rich content pieces to build a deeper relationship with your audience.
After Good Food channel closed, we had a big piece of work to do on Food Network to let viewers know that their favourite food shows were now available over on Food Network. Using fun crafted copy, bespoke TV promos that spoke directly to the foodie audience and entertaining talent-led social pieces, we were able to communicate the move effectively and ensure the transition was as easy as possible for viewers. The story telling was key to make sure that we educated viewers at every stage, even those that may have missed the initial announcement, we wanted to make sure no one was left behind.
So now you know a bit more about social media story telling, how do you apply this to your own channels? The three key things to remember are:
1. Understand your audience
You could have the best story and history to your brand, but until you understand your audience and their behaviours, your content simply won’t land. When working on the Really Channel we really got to know our genre audiences (in particular the paranormal audience) and understood the right language and tone to use in order to communicate with them. Once we’d figured this out and began interacting with them less like a brand and more like a fellow enthusiast, our engagements went through the roof.
2. Work on your tone of voice
This content should feel personable so try experimenting with using language that is more in line with what your audience would use. Yorkshire Tea are a really great example of a brand that does this well. They know which conversations to get involved with and understand the right balance between brand building copy and audience engagement and ensure their tone of voice is consistent across the board.
3.Every post doesn’t have to lead to sales
Whilst you need to keep your business sales in mind, this shouldn’t be your only goal when putting out content on your social media, particularly if you want to tell a story. Look at it more as building a relationship rather than needing to lead to sales.
It’s also important to remember that every social platform is different, and on each you’ll have a slightly different audience to another so your approach shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all model. You should really look into what has worked for you in the past, how your audience behaves and what type of content resonates where and use that as your skeleton plan.
Each platform operates differently, and everyone uses a number of different social media platforms so don’t assume that posting the same content across all of your channels is a sure-fire way to increase engagement. It’s more likely to have the opposite effect. Give you audience a reason to follow each of your channels, and think about what they can gain or benefit from doing so. As a starting point, think about how you use social. Do you follow the same brands across multiple platforms, and if not, why not? And if you do, what trends or patterns have you noticed?
Experiment and have fun with your storytelling. Why not try a longer Facebook post, similar to a blog post, to draw the reader in? If you’ve never dipped your toe in to Instagram Stories why not have one of your employees host a Stories takeover for the day and invite your audience along for the journey.
If you’ve predominantly used text and static images in the past, try branching out into video content to let your brand personality shine through and create an engaging post for people to watch.
For luxury lingerie brand, La Perla, we tapped into IGTV with a number of influencer collaborations and created a small series of digital styling videos that were working-from-home type content that was very recognisable during COVID-19 and also showcased a number of their products that people could click through to buy. It was the first step into IGTV for the brand and showed them in a much more playful and engaging light.
It may take a few attempts to land your brand storytelling right, but it’s important to continue to test and learn and listen to the feedback from your customer base. What do they want to see from you and how can you deliver?
But overall, this process should be fun. Gone are the days of brand social pages being used strictly for dry customer service and product posts, brands now can afford a lot more freedom and should be grabbing it with both hands.
So go forward and start telling your story, you might be surprised at what you learn both about your own brand and the people you’re speaking to.
Find out more about Social Voltage here.