Saturday 01 October 2016

Friday Five: The Dividing Line of Social Media Storytelling

Why It Matters by Casey Ernsting Diana Kelter

Stories, digital and traditional, involve a storyteller and a listener. The line that divides the two is where things get interesting. Social media storytelling has transformed the traditional roles of conversation between a brand and user, and it’s no longer about one person talking and one person listening.

Every platform offers a different line of division and today’s Friday Five takes a look at how thick that line really is on key social platforms.

1. Facebook

Facebook has allowed brands to participate in the social conversation with a keen focus on transparency, drawing a distinct line between brand and consumer within Newsfeeds and ad placements. Individuals often engage with the brand’s story (good or bad), rather than creating the narrative. Brands work to attract fans to their Facebook pages through likes, comments and shares, rarely releasing control of the narrative by bringing the conversation within the confines of their Timeline; an exercise supported through ad spends. Without a transparent separation of fans and brands, the social conversation would lose some of its luster.

2. Twitter

Twitter embraced real-time dialogue between brands and consumers from day one, facilitating conversations with noteworthy early adopters @TheRealShaq, @ComcastCares and @CNN. Twitter allows fans to grab hold of the conversation, including the trend of using branded hashtags in sarcastic tweets. With much of the conversation taking place on their fan’s pages, brands have had to scramble to manage their story on Twitter. But with advertising dollars continuing to boost amplification, brands have been able to adjust their storytelling, engaging with fans while maintaining their message.

3. Google+

Brands have been on Google+ just over a year and the line between who owns the story on the social network (nay, social layer) is still being defined. Much like Facebook, conversation is typically confined to the brand’s Google+ page, granting brand control of the story. The line is muddled when users incorporate Google+’s core features; Hangouts, Circles and Ripples and their latest dive into Google+ Communities. Users are able to organize their online lives and conversations through these features, controlling how the story approaches them.

4. Pinterest

Real-time has become a buzz word in social media lingo. Consumers are looking for real-time responses, answers and updates. Pinterest revolutionized this aspect of real-time conversations by focusing on three other factors instead: discovery, sharing and memory. With the announcement of Pinterest brands pages, the definition of a brand is starting to become clear. At the heart of Pinterest, if a user is looking for inspiration, brands want to be that form of inspiration. However, there is a reason repinning is 80 percent of activity on the platform. On Pinterest, it’s not who is controlling the story and when, rather, it’s focused on brands and users sharing a common vision.

5. Instagram

Instagram offers many of the same functions as other popular social media sites – the ability to like or comment on a picture. However, it doesn’t have a suitable comparison to the repin, retweet or share function that is so common on other social media sites. Instagram is focused on telling your individual story – regardless of whether you’re a brand or consumer. Whether it’s capturing the perfect meal or showing a behind-the-scenes look into a brand, Instagram forces brands and consumers to stop focusing on the big picture and look to simple moments of the everyday. Instagram proves that a narrative is not just about being the story teller or the listener; it’s about finding the moments, big or small, that matter most.

Thousands, if not millions, of stories are told each day across social media. As a brand or individual, every story has a place on social media, where do you look to tell your story?

Photo credit: kennymatic

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