Once upon a timeline: social media storytelling


There’s no doubt that social media has changed the marketing landscape significantly within the last few years. There’s always something new; a new social networking site this year, a new app tomorrow, a new feature next week, a new enhancement next month…social media is constantly in flux. I think what makes it so successful is not only it’s ability to re-invent itself, but it’s ability to re-invent itself while keeping its core proposition intact – social media, for brands, for marketers, for individuals, helps tell a story.

What is social media storytelling?

The concept of brand storytelling is not a new one; it’s just also been re-invented to social media storytelling. Brands aim to take their consumers on an emotional journey by connecting with them, to create a demand by appealing to a consumer’s wants, needs and desires. That is the essence of social media storytelling. This connection is very important and partly the reason why social media has emerged as the ideal tool to tell the brand story and connect, more personally and more emotionally, with existing and potential customers.

Take a look at the new Facebook Timeline for example; it’s essentially a storyline. A storyline driven by the brand and enhanced by its followers. It’s about generating and amplifying stories, and because of this, timeline helps brands become better storytellers. How does it do this? Well getting people(followers) involved for one, they can help bring their own unique perspective to your brand, and helping facilitate that emotional bond between brand and consumer. But its layout is really what sets its ability to tell a story apart. Timeline speaks to a story about a brand’s history and its present but it’s designed with the future in mind. The bigger emphasis on visuals makes more impact – images often make better stories and the Millstones feature helps highlight important dates and facts that are essential to the brand’s (hi)story.

Pinterest, for example, is based on visuals. It tells a brand story through images, and how far can a brand go if the only images they feature are product images? With Pinterest, brands must show the bigger picture (pun intended). What inspires the brand? What type of lifestyle does the brand fit into? Pinterest is about going beyond the product and about creating a more complete story around a brand, visually.

Let’s not forget Twitter. It’s immediacy has been the reason brands have had such success with it – it helps brands tell quick and interesting stories while connecting with followers on a more personal level. I, for one, love when I tweet about a brand and they immediately acknowledge it by commenting or retweeting – I feel like they care about my story and how it fits into theirs.

Every brand has a story, and social media is here to help tell it in a more engaging way. How do you help contribute to the brand story through social media storytelling?

 

About the author

Madi Secareanu Madi brings a fresh perspective to the 3H Communications team. She is a creative go-getter with a background in social media, copywriting and global marketing communications. She has an affinity for powerful writing, social media and creative direction. Subscribe to Hoopla to get Madi’s and our 3H perspective.

3 Comments + Add Comment

  • Very interesting topic, Miriam. I see social media as part of a marketing recipe. A cup of research, a tablespoon of communications, two teaspons of advertising. In a large cast-iron pot combine ingredients with your social media mixture. Heat, stirring constantly till everything gels.

    I agree that the different types of social media can have different roles based on your goals. It is something many clients are just starting to understand.

    Great article, thanks for posting.

  • By the way, I posted this on the 3H blog before registering that the author was actually Madi. My apologies, Madi. Great article.

  • Madi Secareanu

    No problem Brian – thanks for your comment! I like the recipe analogy…it’s very true that all of the “ingredients” must work well together to create a cohesive marketing strategy. Social media is definitely a key ingredient – a key part of the story.

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