Tell me a Story
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.
By Tessa Wegert
Does that line sound familiar? Kids have been expressing their interest in stories for centuries. Through their devotion to books, movies and TV, so have adults. Modern storytelling also encompasses digital media, but online, stories take a slightly different shape.
Brand stories needn’t be epic and costly branded films that seem just as at home in a movie theater as on a laptop screen. They can be succinct nuggets of content that are easy to create, to experience and to share. And social media is the ideal conduit for delivering them.
Stories in seconds
High on the list of most popular social platforms for brand storytelling are Vine and Instagram video. The brevity of their clips resonates with busy consumers, but the need for condensed messaging also requires an increased level creativity from brands. Samsung Mobile US found a way to make it work: The tech company launched the first branded Vine created for an Android operating system. Through animation and the use of three separate phones to deliver the short social video the effort told a delightful dual story of customer and brand innovation.
A GIF is worth a thousand words
If you thought limiting yourself to 6 or 15 seconds was a challenge, try conveying a story through an animated GIF. Holiday Inn has done it on its Tumblr page. To promote its $1 billion dollar hotel relaunch, the brand coupled guest testimonials with GIFs of travelers surrounded by their belongings. These simple visuals offer a glimpse into the kind of stay guests can expect, while helping viewers to picture themselves packing up for a trip of their own.
The value of visual tweets
Forget 140 characters: increasingly, brands are using Twitter for visual marketing rather than text-based tweets. The microblogging network recently introduced the ability to post four photos at a time to create an image-based collage, and it’s currently testing a one-click video format that will allow brands to promote multiple pieces of video content within a single tweet. A number of companies are already using the feature, including Budweiser, which employed video-enabled tweets to tell the story of its Made in American musical festival lineup shortly after the feature went live.
A timely brand history on Facebook
Many brands have fleshed out their Facebook timelines to provide followers with an easy-to-follow look at their history, but this is an area where even more content equates to a much better experience. Images, anecdotes, and intriguing facts can turn basic timelines into rich explorations that both preserve and celebrate a brand’s history.
Observe Italian soda brand Fanta’s Facebook timeline, which goes all the way back to July 1940 where it begins with the words, “How did Fanta get its name? It’s the stuff of legends, really.” Included are early ads from around the world, shots of vintage product packaging, commercial spots, and a Facebook-based branded game. The timeline is a time machine that tells the story of the brand while reminding fans why they love it. It’s also perfectly in keeping with the brand philosophy expressed in the Fanta tagline, “More Fanta, less serious.”
Shaping your brand messaging and heritage into something entertaining and accessible doesn’t require a Hollywood-sized investment. As long as you’ve got a story to tell, social media is ready to help you tell it.
Tessa Wegert is a journalist, blogger, and former digital strategist whose articles have appeared in USA Today, Mashable, ClickZ, Contently, and ChicagoNow. She manages communications for award-winning digital marketing agency Enlighten. You can follow her on Twitter at @tessawegert.
Want to write for Social Media Week?
We're looking for individuals around the globe to contribute articles on marketing, media, technology, and more.