This was a topic discussed on Talk Social With Wahine Media, a weekly radio segment on The Matt DiGeronimo Show.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…

Those words immediately pull us back to our childhood and visions of sugar plums and the jolly old elf himself. There is nothing more captivating than a story well-told, and that’s especially true for social media. Social media has changed how we create and consume our stories.

And speaking of stories, did you know that people see an estimated 5,000 marketing messages a day? How many holly-laden ads can you see before you reach for the eggnog?

What are brands doing to stand out? Amid the hustle, bustle and noise, they are earning the attention of their audience and making their brand memorable by posting content that tells a story to create an emotional impact — they make us feel. We are all captivated by the power of the story — it gives us a reason to pay attention and if it really moves us, we can’t wait to share.

Keep It Simple

When you think about how quickly content is consumed on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram from a mobile device, then you need to put content out there that can capture attention in about 1/100th of a second. – Gary Vaynerchuk

When it comes to social media storytelling, think creative, lightweight and hashtagged. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and you CAN tell a story in 140 characters or less. Have you noticed all the people talking in hashtags these days? You can tell a story using just hashtags too, and here’s an example of a tweet that is both fun and relatable:

Talking in hashtags

How many bins did you pull out of storage this year? Moral of this tweet, sometimes the most intriguing stories are short!

What’s In A Story

The goal is to create a personal brand that resonates with your audience & to do that, it is important that your brand tells a story. – Nick Nanton & JW Dicks at Fast Company

A social media story:

  • Simplifies a complex idea
  • Creates a connection with the consumer
  • Elicits emotion
  • Inspires action

Share what you’re doing, what you’re thinking, what matters to you, but say it using your storyteller voice. Every piece of content you post builds credibility and reinforces your brand. Think Whole Foods, who tells their story through organic recipes, and did you know they have a twitter channel just for wine? You can image the retweets they get!

Whole Foods on Twitter

Who is the hero? What is the plot? What is the setting? What is the conflict? Hootsuite‘s How Social Media Saved the Holidays video used one of our favorite characters, Santa, to demo their product. Brilliant!

[youtube_video] sXF92hXNTfg [/youtube_video]

A Few Ideas

  • Have a little fun and create a story using just hashtags
  • Post a play by play narrative, building anticipation
  • Use more than words to tell your story — think video (Vine, Instagram) Did you know blog posts with videos get shared three times more than text-only posts?)
  • Bring it together with Storify, a platform that creates stories by collecting tweets, photos, videos and media across the web

So as we approach 2014, it’s time to rethink your content strategy. While no one expects every Facebook post to be a Pulitzer-prize winning piece of literary excellence, you will capture your customer’s attention if you create meaningful snippets that ignite the imagination. Tell me a story.

Upcoming Class

If you want to learn why storytelling is potent and necessary to your content strategy, and how to easily weave storytelling into your campaigns, join me on April 12, 2014 for Storytelling for Social Media at Pacific New Media, UH Manoa. See you there!


How Twitter Is Reshaping The Future Of Storytelling | FastCoExist
Story as Strategy with Gary Vaynerchuk | Social Media Examiner
Infographic: Tips for Effective Storytelling |
Social Media Storytelling 1 | Hootsuite
5 Storytelling Tips to Make Networking Feel Good Again | Michael Margolis