How to Use Social Media to Tell Your Story

Avatars imageThe term social media has found its way into the buzzword dictionary of late.

It seems everyone is talking about it.

Google has even gotten into the game with its new Buzz, an add-on to Gmail.

There are dozens of posts and blogs dedicated to social media out there, so I hesitate to launch into too much of a how-to here. Mashable is one of favorite blogs on the topic.

But if you’re looking to tell your story, so to speak, through social media – here are three tips to make it easy. And guess what, these three tips tie closely into the first part of this series:

Your story must connect with its audience

That means knowing the users, visitors and customers you’re after. Look to similar sites and personalities in social media for tips and guidance. Listen before you start pushing out your story.

Good stories connect because of tension. People follow it because they want to know what happens next. So keep them craving surprise, but make sure that surprise isn’t completely unexpected.

Try contests. Mark Luckie of 10,000 Words is doing this on Twitter all week, giving away copies of his new book.

Hold weekly question and answer sessions. Allow your followers to have some control over your story. Maybe they select the next new product color?

These events offer expectations, but can yield something new. Be creative.

Create a character (or voice)

The Chicago Tribune created an online persona for its social media accounts, Colonel Tribune. You can too. Or simply engage in a creative way that is you being yourself or your company capturing its essence.

If your company values creativity, make sure that principle gets reflected in your social media accounts. Pictureframes.com, a company that caters to artists, photographers and creators of all kinds, has done this well. Their Twitter account and Facebook feed is full of great resources and thought-provoking posts. (Disclosure: I worked for them prior to going to grad school.)

Offer takeaways

No one likes to get to the end of a story and feel empty. Sure, you may not be able to do this in 140 characters, but make sure the content you’re linking to and/or posting has value. Your customers and followers will desert you if you fail in this regard.

Often, this translates into not just talking about yourself or what you’re selling. We are only interesting when point to why other people, places and things hold our interest.

So you see, social media represents just another way humankind does what we do best – tell stories.

Image courtesy of sxc.hu.

This post is the second part in a two-part series on social media and storytelling. Part one covered three things social media and storytelling have in common.