Building social media influence is more than simply piling up legions of followers. It’s about making lasting connections, engaging in two-way conversations, and sparking interest through storytelling.
It’s the storytelling element that sometimes gets lost in the barrage of news feeds and hashtags, but building an engaging narrative is one of the most effective ways to cultivate a loyal audience. Joshua Leatherman laments that effective storytelling can be a challenge—and that’s for individual storytellers. Trying to personify a brand can be even more difficult, but when you do the rewards are tremendous. Here are some ways to build an online storyline that everyone wants to read.
1) Use pictures.
By now we’ve all heard about Pinterest, the little social media vehicle that could—and did. It’s an online pinboard of interests, and it’s growing at an astonishing rate. Use this service to map out your likes and interests in a visual format. Tumblr is also a great visual microblogging service. Stories need not be built on words alone.
2) Use a template.
Unsure of how to string your story together? Storify helps you build entire stories, linking bits and pieces of web content and visuals with individual commentary. For a more DIY approach, try creating a content map with your team.
3) Use humor.
The most memorable stories are often funny. If you don’t happen to be funny yourself (or your brand doesn’t offer a product with much humor attached to it) hand the metaphorical mic to your customers! You can upload videos of your customers to your company’s sites relaying their funny interpretations of your brand. For an added touch, retweet or reblog witty user comments. This practice not only offers much needed engagement, but allows a story to unfold organically.
4) Try transmedia.
Now a popular buzzword with the media crowd, transmedia storytelling is commonly defined as a single narrative that is told through multiple platforms. Although most often reserved for corporations with large budgets, multiplatform storytelling can be scaled down for any user. One easy transmedia trick involves starting a storyline on one social media platform, and then migrating it to another (i.e. begin a series of engaging tasks with your Twitter audience, then incorporate tasks that need to be completed by uploading YouTube videos). This not only expands your social media reach, it gives your brand a chance to measure the impact of a single message across multiple platforms.