Thanks to mobile and the social web consumers now have more interests than ever. They can be engaged and exposed to their areas of interest whenever they want, and to whatever depth. It’s virtually impossible to keep up with the sheer volume of content being produced around every topic imaginable, and people are spending on average five hours a day consuming content.
So businesses are struggling to craft authentic, compelling stories and content to engage consumers online and inspire them to act. Yet consumers are far more fascinated by consumer-created content–it’s more trustworthy, there is a constant stream of it and it’s contextual–it’s where the consumer already is.
What’s a marketer to do?
How can you shape a story that will move consumers without coming across as cheesy? I asked Maria Sipka, CEO of Linqia, a tech company matching social storytellers to brand marketers, to share her tips.
3 Steps To A Compelling Story
Where does the recipient of your story spend time? Here’s what Maria thinks:
Search for keywords and phrases your customers are talking about, and determine what type of social communities and blogs exist (use Google blog search or Bing). Tap into social search functionality within Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social channels. You’ll start to see patterns across these communities, which will help you determine the characteristics to search for within more tailored community search tools, like Inkybee and GroupHigh, or lists like Technorati or bloglovin.
By immersing yourself into at least 20 communities and blogs, you will sense the types of conversations people are having, the problems they’re facing, solutions they are looking for, and the tone of the conversation. This is the starting point for your story.
It’s crucial to have your story told by a trusted person who is the voice and heartbeat of a social community–it’s the most effective way to be introduced to the audience you want to reach. And the last thing community leaders would want is to pimp their sponsor’s product or service; it would deteriorate the relationship with their tribe. What excites a community leader is to share a story supported by content that educates, informs, inspires, or entertains their tribe. Providing them full creativity within a set of guidelines enables a story to unfold that is genuine, nuanced to their audience, and makes them look good.
Accountability and results from social marketing and content programs include:
Now that you know the three essential steps to a compelling story let’s dive into the exact details.
Everyone from small businesses to large corporations are activating stories at scale and driving results. Here are some success stories:
Are you using storytelling yet? If so, how’s it going? If not, when will you start?