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Storytelling is both an anchor and compass for social media marketing.
Good stories can help to enliven your brand. Great stories can thrust you into the dizzying heights of social media stardom. (Well at least until the next big thing comes along.)
However, what sort of stories should you tell, and who should you focus your attention on?
The Story Strategy Blueprint
Her nifty blueprint for storytelling ticked all the important boxes for brand storytelling success:
- It puts your customer right in the middle of your narrative
- It sets the proper context of what your customer’s day is like
- It highlights the importance of empathy
- It considers how your product could meet your customer’s unique circumstances
- It shows how your company and customer can co-exist in a harmonious ‘infinite’ cycle
Here’s how the Story Strategy Blueprint looks like.
Courtesy of The Meaningful Book
Let’s dive into each of its sections.
#1 Begin with Their STORY
Start with the top left-hand corner of the blueprint, and think of your customer’s story.
As you start to build your customer profile, go beyond the basics such as her demographics and psychographics.
Describe a day in your customer’s life as fully and richly as possible, and ask yourself these questions:
- What is her world view?
- Who does she care about?
- What are the issues which make her tick?
- How does she spend her days? At work? At home? Online?
- What problems will she encounter?
PS – a good way to mine your customer story is to look at what she may be posting on a regular day on social media.
#2 Develop Unique INSIGHT
Moving to the bottom right-hand corner of the blueprint, your next job is to document your understanding of what your customers truly wants – but can’t – and consider how your products and services can help her.
To develop a unique insight of your customer’s situation, consider how you can create the greatest opportunity to make the most difference to her life.
You should also think about your marketplace (both products and ideas), as well as your competitors.
Is the market already flooded with options for your customers? Or can you offer something that can meet an untapped customer want, need, or desire?
#3 Match with Your PRODUCT
Next, follow the loop back up to your product.
The information which you’ve obtained from the earlier Insight stage should inform the types of products, services and content which you create for your customer. This should be as closely matched as possible to the specific insights which you’ve garnered.
List them down and include the following:
- Rational and emotional benefits
- Tangible and intangible value
- How your features and benefits solves her problem
- How your product or service makes her feel
#4 Imagine Their EXPERIENCE
Lastly, consider how you want your customer to experience your product or service.
Here, you may wish to walk through your customer’s buying journey from awareness to advocacy, and consider how your advertisements, messages, and product experiences may impact your customer on every touchpoint.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How have your product helped your customer?
- How will her status or situation change after using it?
- What will she tell her friends now that she is a changed woman?
- Are there any tweaks needed to improve your product or your content?
Beware The Breaking Point
In the book, Jiwa warned readers about the ‘breaking point’ – this was where many companies failed to translate their insights about their customers into product features and benefits that truly serve them.
I believe that there are several ways for this to occur:
- Shiny Bright Objects Syndrome: This happens when companies become too distracted by the tech and the tools available that they lose sight of their customer’s story.
- Product Infatuation: All too often, entrepreneurs love their products so much that they cannot believe why nobody would beat a path to them.
- Ivory Tower Management: When the CEOs and senior managers of an organisation insulate themselves from the the everyday lives of their customers, they fail to develop empathy for their customers. This translates to poor product and service fit.
From Product to Social Media Content
Although Jiwa’s book focused mostly on weaving meaningful stories into your products, her lessons could easily be transplanted to the world of social media marketing.
The key thing here is to break your product stories into short bite-sized narratives that are written from your customer perspectives.
For instance, you could produce a series of short online videos using the Story Strategy Blueprint which goes like this:
- Describe a day in your customer’s personal or professional life (STORY);
- Identify and expound on the specific problems which she may face during her day. Make it vivid and visceral (INSIGHT);
- Expound on how your product meets her rational and emotional needs (PRODUCT);
- Highlight her post use experience, and how things have happily changed for her (EXPERIENCE).
This same approach could be used for different social media content formats (text, photo, video, live stories).
It can be also be deployed across social networks like blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other channels.
Case Study: GoPro
The story of GoPro never goes cold.
In the book, we learn how Nick Woodman planned a five-month surfing trip to Australia and Indonesia to work out how he could continue his entrepreneurial journey after the failure of his second online business in 2002.
The inspiration of GoPro (ie STORY) came when he couldn’t find a camera that could allow him to take close-up photos of himself and his friends while they were surfing.
Nick then tried to develop a wrist harness into which he could put a single-use disposable camera, but unfortunately, they could not withstand the water impact of extreme sports. Knowing that other surfers would want the same kind of camera setup (INSIGHT), he decided to build a camera company.
Nick took two years to find a waterproof camera from a Chinese manufacturer. Built with US$265,000 of capital, it got off the ground in 2004 and launched its first product (PRODUCT).
This went through several rounds of iteration and improvement, drawing on his customers’ experience (EXPERIENCE).
What I love about GoPro is how it constantly uses social media channels like YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to amplify customer stories. By tapping on customer created video content, GoPro is a perfect example of a company which interweaves its product offering with the lives and experiences of its customers.
Oh, and since we’re talking about GoPro, here’s one of their videos for good measure.
UPDATE: Apparently GoPro has got themselves into a bit of a financial fix. Well, I believe that is less of an issue with their storytelling than it is of leading and managing a large company. Hopefully though, they can pull themselves out of the morass.
Fit Your Narrative into Theirs
In summary, here’s what you can do to use Meaningful‘s Story Strategy Blueprint:
- Begin with your customer’s current story
- Find a unique insight which you can exploit
- Develop a product that meets that precise need
- Solve her problem and make the experience meaningful
By using this framework for social storytelling, you can shift your focus from knowing your customer to understanding her unique needs. This can be understood as moving from…
Awareness –> Attention –> Action
Attraction –> Affinity –> Action
To find out more, check out Jiwa’s website on the book here.