Social Media Storytelling: Three Key Strategies for Success

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Everyone wants simple tips for social media success. While it’s unlikely to revolutionize your social channels overnight, we’ve pulled together 3 tips for social success that will always be worthwhile. (Perhaps some goals for 2016?)

1. Engage live

As most social media and community engagement managers know, scheduling apps like Buffer and Hootsuite are saviours for maintaining social channels. However, if you always write your social posts days or even weeks in advance, the channel will lose the personality and authenticity behind the brand – an essential for social storytelling. Always block out time in your calendar to work within your platforms live. This means you’ll have a chance to jump on fun hashtags, timely topics, and engage with your communities.

Example: OPI

It’s peanut-butter-jelly time! #nationalsandwichday Nails by @nailthataccent

A photo posted by OPI (@opi_products) on

Most brands don’t see weird celebratory holidays coming. That’s why it’s so important to engage live on social – when you see a trend, you can join in on the conversation. OPI Nail Polish did just that when they regrammed this shot for#NationalSandwichDay. It may not be the most on-brand look, but it sure shows they’re paying attention – plus, it builds a relationship with the regrammee (yes, we’ve made that into a word).

2. Create content that is unique to each platform

Though we strongly support repurposing content (“Create once, publish many times”), tweaking content to tailor it for each of your (potentially many) platforms will pay off. This can be as simple as adding hashtags and a tweet-sized image for a Twitter post, or embedding a sample of the story copy in a Facebook post.

Example: Vox

Consider Vox’s coverage of Donald Trump’s recent comment about “closing” the internet. Topic aside, Vox is a leader in terms of platform-focused content. Here’s how they posted the same information on both Facebook & Twitter.

Facebook: A link post, with an unflattering photo of Trump. There’s a sassy caption and a clickable and informative headline, but it’s also shareable as is – Facebook users like to share information to their own group of friends, and this post is built for that. You don’t even need to read the article to understand and share the message.

Twitter: A native video, link, and informative caption. This can be absorbed and engaged with in-app, or can be clicked to go read the article (perfect if the reader is not on Wifi or can’t turn up their phone volume).

3. Allow the platform to stand alone

Just like social content should always be created with the platform in mind, it’s also important to empower platforms to tell their own stories. An example could be creating a unique Instagram-based version of your key brand story that’s designed for at your Instagram audience (this fancy concept is called distributed content, and should be your next skills upgrade). This empowers the social audience to interact with content within that platform’s environment – minimizing the opportunities for the user can leave your content.

Example: Lululemon


For brands on Snapchat, the options are limited. Without Discover’s robust opportunities to experiment with the platform, brands are restricted to what they can capture in a live, iPhone video or photo – plus whatever embellishments they add with emojis and limited text. That’s why it’s so impressive that Lululemon has managed to create a compelling Snapchat channel. It stands alone, drives no traffic, and likely costs almost no money. It’s a fun way for fans to gain a sneak peek into the making of the brand’s editorial content, in a way that’s casually on-brand. Is it perfect? Definitely not, but they’re experimenting with the platform in the right way. Keep watching this channel as Snapchat continues to develop its platform and audience.