Event Recap: Social Storytelling

Sourcing & Sharing Your Brand’s Best Stories

As long as there are people, there will be stories. During IABC’s first fall event, social media and marketing strategist Jess Columbo of Med|Ed Digital shared insights on the evolution of storytelling and what it means for communicators. In “Social Storytelling: Sourcing & Sharing Your Brand’s Best Stories,” Jess offered both strategy and tactics for this critical  aspect of connecting with customers, stakeholders and constituents.

Some highlights:

  • Be truthful in your storytelling. Eighty percent of consumers say that the authenticity of your content is why they like your brand.

    CJ Anderson, KJ McAllister and Jess Columbo

    CJ Anderson, KJ McAllister and Jess Columbo

  • It’s not just what your brand is, but who your brand has license to be. If you sell propeller hats, should your brand immediately offer thoughts and prayers regarding serious stories surrounding mass violence?
  • People want to share what belongs to them. When a story relating to your brand reaches a high sharing threshold on social media, it’s because the story belongs to your customers, not to you.
  • Use resources wisely. Creating all your own content is neither strategic nor efficient. Be ready to curate user content, as well as develop your own.
  • Avoid artificial asks. Jess noted Mark Zuckerberg’s famous quote from a November 2011 interview with Charlie Rose: “The question isn’t ‘What do we want to know about people?’ It’s, ‘What do people want to tell about themselves?’”
  • Be good to your employees. When a brand faces a negative story, employees who feel well-treated are three times more likely to share and advocate on behalf of that brand in comparison with employees who don’t feel that way.
  • Digital storytelling is still storytelling. Yes, it’s a new narrative stream that makes our brains work a little differently than with traditional story forms. But these new ways of telling stories don’t change people’s desire for a hook, a hero and a villain.

Delivered at the University Club of Portland, Jess’s energetic, engaging presentation, provided plenty of insights for attendees to discuss as they enjoyed lunch and networked with fellow professionals.