An Essential Key to Social Media Influence: Tell Your Story Well

Posted on February 10th 2012

An Essential Key to Social Media Influence: Tell Your Story Well

On October 16, 1869 workers digging in a field in Cardiff, New York unearthed a startling specimen; the petrified remains of a 10ft tall giant man.  The owner of the land, George Hull, set a tent over the remains and charged visitors .25 cents to view it.  Droves of people flocked to this tiny farm field in New York - so many in fact, that in just 2 days Hull was able to raise the cost of admittance to .50 cents.  Visitors gazed in thoughtful silence at the twisted and contorted remains, they were transported in their imaginings to an ancient world where giants walked the planet.  It did not take long, however, before archaeologists presented evidence that the giant was no more than a stone carving created by Mr. Hull, and stained with acid to give the appearance of age.  Yet, despite the evidence, many people defended the validity of the giant, unwilling to believe that this beautiful story was not real.

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We love stories. 

Actors, movie studios, publishers, video game creators, and, yes, social media connections, are some of the most prevalent influencers in our lives because of their ability to move us.  Those who tell stories well are rewarded commensurately.   Those who can't tell an engaging narrative burn out quickly. 

The greatest predictor of social media success is also the most challenging to master; it is the ability to tell a story well in very few words.  A narrative must be intentionally developed and every post must become a building block that deepens and widens the story.

Those who succeed in social media, those who have the ability to influence the behavior of others, are master storytellers.  They have learned how to graft powerful words together that pique emotion, stimulate a need, elicit a vision, and produce engagement

Some of the best stories are being told on social media.  And so are some of the worst.  If your story is disjointed, perhaps you have not yet developed your narrative.

Consider in advance how every post fits into your story, and whether it is consistent with the narrative that you're intentional cultivating.  PiqueStimulateElicitEngage.

We can outline effective social media strategy all day.  However, even the most accomplished music theorists will fail if they try to sing without first having exercised their voice. 

We must find our story and tell it well.

Joshua Leatherman is the author of If Social Media is a Game, These are the Rules: 10 Essential Rules for Building a Profitable Social Media Strategy

joshleatherman

Joshua Leatherman

Principal/ Owner, shuandi

Joshua Leatherman is the author of If Social Media is a Game, These are the Rules: 10 Rules for Building a Profitable Social Media Strategy. Joshua is the Director of Marketing at Service Express, Inc (SEI) and is a founding partner at shuandi, a marketing and communications firm in Grand Rapids, MI. His articles on marketing, productivity, and best practices have been shared thousands of times on social media. Find out more about Joshua at http://joshualeatherman.com

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Comments

buildingbytes
Posted on February 10th 2012 at 6:58PM

Great post especially liked the importance of powerfull story telling. It is so right that a powerfully told tale can engage consumers as has been happening throughout history. It is not easy always to find the story but the extra effort is worth the time spent and I believe every person or product has its own unique story to tell , that will resonate with their audience. I liked the way you talked about social media and how alot of powerfull stories are being told through social media which by its very nature is an excellent platform to share stories.

Lisa Ann Landry
Posted on February 11th 2012 at 11:20PM

Nice. I've never thought of it this way - that we are telling a/our story in Social Media. As a trainer I tell stories all the time during my programs. Some of my stories I've turned in to poems (see an Ode to My Evo) some I've turned into case studies that are used during my training. It should be a natural transition to move that ability into the social space. Seems to me if the big brands were more effective at telling their storie than pushing their product (you know the one's who say that Social Media stuff doesn't work) they would totally be all into all things Social Media.

Lisa Ann Landry - Social Media Marketing Trainer
Licensed Coach - The SNCC Way
I’m an exuberant force of light… Come light up your life
Alconcalcia
Posted on February 14th 2012 at 5:24PM

So a story about a man deceiving people for money is a good example of a social media ethos? Not for me. Believability is one thing, but honesty should be at the heart of any communication, rather than the ability to simply spin a yarn that fools and cheats people.