TL;DR: Social media gives brands the opportunity to tell their story across multiple touch-points. Developing a compelling narrative ensures that audiences are connecting and engaged with your brand throughout their consumer journey. We have five tips to help successfully shape your brand’s narrative on social.
Trying to reach your audience on social? For many marketers, the tried and (not so) true method has been jumping straight to the call to action, but the way audiences consume content is evolving. In a world where people want to feel connected to the brands that they buy from, the expectations are high. Users want a story and a narrative that is compelling and relevant enough to draw them in and keep them engaged at sub-sequential touch-points.
Standing out in busy social feeds means going from selling to storytelling. Here’s how.
1. Start with Social Listening
There’s no better way to understand your audience than to go straight to the source, and social media makes it easy. Auditing conversations about your brand across social channels allows you to put momentum behind inherent sharing behaviors and purchasing motivations in a relevant and impactful way. Prioritizing the audience first will ensure that your narrative is working to influence bottom line behavior.
Start by leveraging the positive sentiment of your brand advocates. Always emphasize their point of view so your narrative is feeding their opinions — not merely your own.
2. Develop the Narrative
Storytelling is the art of translating your marketing message into a compelling narrative. Like any good story, it has a beginning, middle and end. Your narrative shouldn’t rush to the call to action, but rather it should take the user on a journey. What emotional response will it trigger? Who is the protagonist? And most importantly: Show, don’t tell. This isn’t your opportunity to sell.
3. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Social listening will help you understand your desired audience’s behaviors and expectations. The platforms they are active on and how they consume content should inform your production and distribution plan. For example, a long-form video living on a website might be excellent in terms of production quality, but who will you realistically reach there? You may have a better chance of reaching them through a series of short-form cinemagraphs in users' newsfeeds followed by a video series on Facebook Watch where users are actively seeking out content. Think of your content as immersive experiences that match consumer expectations and behaviors on social at multiple touch points rather than isolated call to actions.
An example of effective sub-sequential messaging is the I AM ATL campaign Sparkloft executed for the Atlanta CVB. The campaign featured local artisans, chefs and creators who attribute the success of their craft to the city. We filmed their stories and created long-form videos that lived on the Atlanta CVB website. We optimized the video content for social by cutting it into 30-second video edits, animated stills, Facebook Canvas Ad and Instagram Stories. We brought our narrative together with a 360 degree video that followed four Atlanta locals on a journey through the city.
4. Take Advantage of Social Targeting
As more people and brands compete for space and attention, compelling creative supported by a targeted paid media strategy is key to breaking through the clutter. Your content creation and distribution plan should work together. Social targeting makes it easy to reach your audience in an authentic, relevant way as well as keep them engaged at subsequent touch-points. Use targeting methods to strategically serve content to your audience wherever they are in your storyline.
For I AM ATL, we initially cast a wide-net through interest-based targeting and shorter-form content on Facebook and Instagram to introduce our desired audiences to the story. Once we had a large audience engaged, we retargeted them with our longer-form, more immersive content like canvas ads and the 360 degree video. Our delivery helped guide our audience through the funnel and the entirety of the I AM ATL narrative.
5. Don’t Build an Audience. Build a Community.
Your campaign narrative might end, but the conversation doesn’t have to — and it shouldn’t! Utilize tools that facilitate conversations about your brand indefinitely. This can be as simple as implementing best-in-class community management tactics to maintain relationships with industry influencers and consumers. On the other end of the spectrum, there is huge opportunity in investing in Facebook Groups, where ideally you will serve as more of a participant in the conversation about your brand rather than the leading the conversation. Let your biggest fans do the bragging for you.
Not sure how to tackle social listening, or need support with narrative ideation? Get in touch with us!