HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA AFFECTED THE WAY WE TELL STORIES?
MORE THAN A STORY
“Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1440. The first radio transmissions were in the early 1900s. The television became commercially available less than a century ago. The Internet is not even old enough to have a drink (legally; at least not in the United States). Facebook and Twitter are just out of diapers, and the next big marketing tool is still in the womb or possibly just a twinkle in its creator’s eye.”
When most people think about marketing, these are the tools they think of: print, radio, TV and the web. None of these, however, are ingrained in us as much as storytelling. We’ve been telling stories for thousands of years” but with the introduction of social media, despite being fairly new, has still made a huge impact on how we now tell stories.
So how has social media changed the way we tell stories? Well, firstly your story can become interactive on multiple levels. It is also one of the best ways of building relationships. This is very encouraging, however just telling your story is one thing, living your story is another. So thinking that telling your story is enough… Think again.
“Storytelling has always been important in marketing but with social media there are so many more ways to reach people than before,” says John Sadowsky, author of The New Marketing: Social Media, Email and the Art of the Storytelling. “Today the campfire is virtual, and if you can involve your friends in telling their friends, your story can go viral in a way it never could before.” Once your story is told well, it’s remembered, you can tell it less, and your community will tell it for you. Once you succeed with your story telling you engage with your community to such an extent, they respond. This gives your story credibility.
“Before social media, it was brands just blasting out their messages,” Sadowsky says. “It’s not about that anymore. It’s about engaging your community and having them take over the conversation but with you helping to shape that conversation.” Montague thinks that just telling your story is risky. You can use your story in so many more powerful ways. In Montague’s new book, True Story: How to Combine Story and Action to Transform Your Business, he calls this new process STORYDOING. You advance the narrative through action, not communication, emphasising the creation of the experience through people. Sadowsky says a brand’s story should be five things: personal, authentic, simple, engaging and inclusive. It’s an easy formula to learn, but it takes time and effort to master.
Montague’s storydoing primary characteristics:
- They have a story
- The story is about a larger ambition to make the world or people’s lives better
- The story is understood and cared about by senior leadership outside of marketing
- That story is being used to drive tangible action throughout the company: product development, HR policies, compensation, etc.
- These actions add back up to a cohesive whole
- Customers and partners are motivated to engage with the story and are actively using it to advance their own stories
Using both Sadowsky’s and Montague’s principles when people encounter the story as well as the storydoing they will often want to tell all their friends about it. Both create fierce loyalty and evangelism. Their stories are told primarily via word of mouth, which are amplified by social media tools.
In conclusion… Storytelling isn’t dead, it’s just been told in a different way. Learn how to utilize the new tools we have at our disposal, and your story has the potential to reach millions in seconds.
- Harvard Business Review: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/07/good_companies_are_storyteller.html Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/capitalonespark/2013/07/23/the-best-social-media-marketing-tells-a-story/
- Post Advertising: http://www.postadvertising.com/2012/08/7-reasons-storytelling-is-important-for-branded-content/