Telling stories has been a part of human culture since the beginning of time. It is not always about the length of a story or the longevity of the story that makes a tale memorable. It is more about how a story makes one feel. Do you remember it? Does it make you question what you are doing right or wrong? How about, does the story make you want to be different?
The world of online media, branding, networking, and selling is a new world for everyone. There are few written rules and guidelines to follow for creating your brand’s story online, whether it is a personal brand or a company’s brand. In no particular order, here is a list of important ideas to cover when developing your brand’s story for an online setting.
It seems odd that Google alone would make the list; however, looking further into Google+, we discovered the significance and importance behind this seemingly small social network. Google+ has progressively been getting better; as it should, being part of the one of the largest online business communities in the world, Google. Utilizing Google+ for your brand is important because of the SEO factor. Though Google does not come right out and say having a Google+ page will help search engine page ranks, it is an unspoken rule.
An aspect of Google+ that few people understand is that the events on Google+ are all centered around the entire event process not just the event itself. This is an up-and-coming feature in Google+ but we see a lot of benefits to it so far. The events will allow you to promote your personal or company events. Then during the event, guests can post their pictures directly to your company page. There is a lot of room for engagement through Google+ and the events tab is no exception.
- If your company has a newsletter, add your Google+ link to the newsletter. This will allow readers to add you to their circle and keep up with the latest news. This can be used for Bloggers as well.
- Engage with people on other pages, not just your own (this works best for your personal brand). If you are a company, connect and interact with other companies. You never know who is managing their social media and you may find a great company partnership.
- Use Google+ to gain insights on your network or customers.
- Do not be afraid to host a hangout.
- Stay curious and try out the countless features on Google+.
When you design your personal or company’s brand strategy you should want to match personalities across the platforms. There are some thoughts that a voice can differentiate across platforms but a social network should look uniform to the other social platforms. A person should be able to identify a company’s social networks just based on their brand identity. Profile pictures, cover photos, backgrounds, and background information should all be similar (not necessarily identical) in color, images, shapes, logos, and other brand features.
If you are going to create a brand personality video you need to be consistent across platforms. Another tip we picked up was finding something to make your company shine and seem unique. You do not want to create an informational video about your brand, no one will watch it.
“There is no such thing as a boring product, just boring marketing.”
Finding out your Personality:
- Ask people in your industry what they think of your brand.
- Determine your brand’s voice across your current platforms and determine what your overall voice is. It is crucial to determine your brand’s voice and pick a main one.
- Talk to people around you and determine key words and phrases that are used to describe your brand.
3. Creating your Personality (the 4 aspects of Social Media Brand Voice):
- What will your character/personality be? Are you going to be warm, friendly, inspiring, professional, authoritative, or playful?
- What tone are you going to give your voice? Will it be a personal, humble, honest, direct, clinical, scientific, direct, or honest tone?
- When you do address things, what language will you use on social media? Is it going to be complex, savvy, insider, simple, jargon-filled, fun, whimsical, or serious?
- The most important thing to plan is your purpose. Is your purpose of being on the platform to engage, entertain, delight, amplify your brand, enable, inform, or promote yourself to an audience?
Though Pinterest is not for every brand or everyone, it does work for brands that are primarily targeted towards women. Pinterest allows for its users to generate their own brand/image/story through the use of pins and boards. You can tell who a person is (or who their online persona is) through their Pinterest Profile. Pinterest is great for personal branding and company branding because it allows you to get more exposure for your own brand’s stories; as well as, pin other interesting things you see as representative of your brand. Another factor with Pinterest is that you have two chances to grab an audience, catch them with an image that leads to the story or catch them with the tags that lead to the link.
Pinterest is rapidly growing in popularity and is a tool that marketers are just beginning to see and leverage its full potential.
There is a rapidly growing trend in the United States, infographics. Infographics fix a timeless problem for marketers, bloggers, story tellers, researchers, and other detail oriented people, how do you communicate a lot of information into an eye-catching and easy-to-understand way? The amount of information to convey on infographics is virtually limitless. Infographics are extremely important when marketers want to share information on Pinterest. People like visuals and that is an extremely important fact to remember when marketers create a story online.
“An infographic helps to address the short attention span of the casual internet user.”
How to Make an Infographic Story:
- Choose a subject that can be made into bullets, stats, graphs, and visual images.
- Make it related to your brand.
- Link the image to your website.
- Promote your own infographics.
- Do your research and make sure everything is accurate from the facts to the colors.
Checking out your competition is extremely important. You want to make sure that your brand story is different. You can vary your platforms, your colors, your content, your voice, and your image to differentiate yourself. If your competitors are utilizing a mobile app you should look into what a mobile app could offer your brand; however, you do not need to jump on the platform. Every social platform you join needs to serve a purpose and that is where careful planning comes in.
Social media has the power to be reached at anytime of the day, week, or year. It is important to have information that is relevant to your users that they can find at anytime. Think of it this way, as a marketer you need to combine the following things:
- Take your social voice seriously, but not too seriously.
- Social media is the fastest way to reach consumers.
Few companies have utilized the power of the three facts above about social media. When put together campaigns can be memorable and engaging. The best example of this in react weeks was Oreo‘s campaign during the Super Bowl blackout.
“So how did Oreo put their own twist on the lights-out scenario so quickly? Turns out they had a 15-person social media team at the ready to respond to whatever happened online in response to the Super Bowl — whether it was a mind-blowing play or half the lights shutting off. So not only did they have a regular commercial run during the first quarter, they also had copywriters, a strategist, and artists ready to react to any situation in 10 minutes or less.”
Being creative and having teams at the ready is becoming more and more common with the rise of social networks. Joining live coverage of big events is a way for brands to interact and join the conversation. Just as Oreo joined the Super Bowl conversation, any brand can join an event conversation. It is the chance for publicity and a chance to generate viral content.
Having a strategy that is specific to your brand and each platform is important for any small business, company, or personal story. Having a strategy raises credibility and trustworthiness. People trust established plans and plans put into action. A brand story can be a symbol of your promise. It allows your users, consumers, buyers, or readers to understand who you are and what the meaning behind your ideas online are.
The best companies in our groups opinions that are utilizing different social networking platforms to their advantage to create engagement and a real online brand personality and story are Nike and Chobani. Both of these companies have created a united and cohesive campaign across all of their online media including their website, official Twitter, Facebook page, and in Chobani’s case Pinterest.