Updated: Jan 24
Social media marketing is the new big thing for all brands in all industries. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube help people connect with their friends, their favorite celebrities and brands. And businesses make the most of this new channel of communication to raise brand awareness, as well as sales. But how exactly do you create your social media content strategy? Do you rely on measurable data or do you focus on writing stories to attract your audience?
The Social Media: The 21st Century Meeting Place for Everyone
Decades ago, people had favorite pubs and small restaurants to meet their friends. Centuries ago, there was the welcoming fireplace with comfortable chairs and a roaring fire. These have been the traditional meeting places where families and friends got together.
At the present, social media platforms have replaced these physical meeting places. Barriers like distance and even language disappear, thanks to the automatic translation feature offered by Facebook, for instance. This is a huge opportunity for brands to engage in conversations, especially with the younger generations – millennials and Generation Z.
According to Facebook, by next year these two generations will represent 30% of all retail consumers in the US. Also, these are the most tech savvy generations. They practically grew up together with mobile phones and social media networks. And they have very precise demands from their favorite brands. They demand personal, authentic and meaningful interactions. This means writing stories for them, where you wrap your data and brand values in a way that is appealing to your audience.
How Should Brands Start Writing Stories for the Social Media?
One of the most influential social media experts, Gary Vaynerchuk, social media stories should provoke a reaction. The user must feel compelled to do something: like the post, comment on it, share it. Or, on a most important level, they should feel compelled to click on a link or a CTA button and do what the brand wants them to do:
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Writing stories for the social media is not easy. Your content competes with millions of posts published almost at the same time as yours. Users have myriads of options to be informed, entertained or find help for their problem. Why would they choose your story?
It has to do with three main aspects:
The context (platform)
The match between your content and the interests of the audience
The rules of social media listening.
The Context Shapes Your Style of Writing Stories
Consider this basic story: you are about to open a new store. How do you package this information for the social media? On Facebook, you create an event and invite your followers to join it. On Instagram, you publish a series of behind the scene photos showing how you prepare for the great opening. On Twitter, you share updates with a dedicated hashtag.
If you flooded your Facebook followers with tweet-like updates, they would probably get annoyed. And if you simply shared the photos without creating an event, your followers wouldn’t understand what you want from them. Thus, the context and the platform change the meaning of your story and your data.
Are You Writing Stories for Your Audience?
This is one of the biggest reasons why some companies do not manage to create long term relationships with followers and clients. Their brand voice is not familiar to this audience. It is not a match for the way they talk, their interests, their pain points and the problems they want to solve. It does not offer solutions they can act on and improve their lives.
Do You Follow The Rules of Social Media Listening?
Social media connections between brands and consumers follow some unwritten rules. It is not just about writing stories that inspire, but knowing when to post, what to post and whom to address it.
As Entrepreneur points out, some of the key rules for social listening are:
These rules show that the most successful brands on social media are those that invest time in building meaningful connections with their followers. They are writing stories and supporting them with data in order to create high quality content that has value for their followers. Last, but not least, they are always proactive in identifying and rewarding their most active and loyal followers.
Where Do Stories End and Data Begin?
We go back to the crux of this article: should you be writing stories or sharing data on the social media? The answer is both. Consumers use both their emotions and their logical thinking when they decide to make a purchase.
They trust businesses that have great, relatable brand stories, but which also offer the data needed to assess the truthfulness and value of these statements.
If you look at your social media content strategy from the point of view of the sales funnel, a good strategy looks like this:
Top of the funnel: writing stories to familiarize users with your brand;
Middle of the funnel: stories backed up by data (case studies, client success stories);
Bottom of the funnel: data is foremost, supported by stories (tutorials, targeted offer).
However, everything depends on the specifics of your target audience. Your content strategy must permanently adapt to their needs and demands. Thus, while writing stories, never forget to make the best use of measurable, verifiable data, as well.