How to Use Brand Storylines to Spark Social Media Engagement

December 3rd, 2014

Brand-Storylines-That-Spark-Social-Media-Engagement

Image via EladeManu

Bland, boring tweets and Facebook updates aren’t of much value, but that’s what many brands are sharing.

The companies follow the routine. They take the steps suggested by social media consultants and experts. Their brands have a presence, but the content is lacking.

It lacks energy. It lacks interest. It lacks a soul.

As a result, these brands do not cultivate vibrant, engaged, and growing social media groups. But when a company takes a stance and sparks engagement, its brand stands out like an orange tree in an evergreen forest.

A great example of this is Spin Sucks. According to Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich (and an active member of the Convince & Convert community), “Spin Sucks is one of the top three PR blogs in the world, and it has afforded us the ability to compete with the largest agencies in the world.”

Spin Sucks is an outlier, and what makes it a Sticky Brand is how Gini and her team engage their community in conversations.

Conversations Spark Engagement

It’s easy to ignore companies that don’t engage with you, but it’s hard to ignore a conversation. A conversation is a two-way dialogue to share ideas and opinions. And that spark of engagement can shatter the trap of indifference that so many companies face online.

An average post on Spin Sucks will receive twenty-five to fifty comments, and some posts will catch fire and generate hundreds of comments. Entire discussions happen around each and every post. This makes the Arment Dietrich brand both visible and engaging.

Conversations build relationships, demonstrate your firm’s expertise, and generate top-of-mind awareness. They are a powerful method of pulling your brand out of the indifference trap.

Not All Conversations Equal

Brand Storylines are unique, because they are not just conversations about the weather or sports. They are conversations crafted to engage your marketplace and keep your brand top of mind.

Gini says, “We’re purposeful with the Spin Sucks brand, and have a vision. Our vision is to change the perception that people have of the PR industry, and everything we do goes to that.”

The Spin Sucks tagline is “Fight Against Destructive Spin!” This is the kernel of Arment Dietrich’s Brand Storyline.

For example, one of their weekly posts is titled “The Spin Sucks Inquisition.” Every week Gini posts interviews with experts from their industry. At the end of every interview she asks, “Why Does Spin Suck?”

The question is brand relevant, but also portable. Everyone has an opinion. In Jay Baer’s interview he wrote, “Because in an age where everyone is connected to essentially all the world’s information at all times, it is almost impossible to bend the truth or put lipstick on a pig. So don’t try.”

The Arment Dietrich team doesn’t have generic conversations with their community. They are having conversations clearly tied to their brand and vision. And they are having conversations anyone can participate in.

Three Elements of a Brand Storyline

Brand Storylines are effective marketing tools, because they are crafted to connect conversations with your brand.

A Brand Storyline has three fundamental elements:

  1. Expertise: It’s a topic you and your team know well, and draws from your company’s core expertise.
  2. Strong Opinions: It’s a topic your company is passionate about. You can take a stance on it, and boldly share your opinions.
  3. Point of Sharing: The topic resonates with your target market, and encourages others to participate in the conversation.

The three elements function as a three-legged stool. If any one of them is missing, the Brand Storyline is unsustainable.

For example, Strong Opinions without Expertise is a rant. Expertise without Strong Opinions is boring. And without a Point of Sharing, you’re talking to yourself.

Wrap Your Content in Brand Storylines

Any company can post on social media, and most do. It’s odd today if a company doesn’t have a social media presence.

To stand out, your company has to go further. You have to find ways to spark engagement and keep your brand top of mind in this very cluttered marketplace.

Gini says, “The Spin Sucks blog drives 80 percent of our growth.” It’s the conversations that are moving their sales needle.

Brand Storylines shift the customer experience and plant the seeds of a relationship, because they start with a conversation. The conversation opens things up. They let you share ideas and engage your market in a dialogue. And they let you have conversations with purpose — conversations clearly linked with your brand.

What conversations can your brand spark in your market?

Look for two to three topics where your company has Expertise, Strong Opinions, and a Point of Sharing, and craft them into a Brand Storyline. Once you have packaged the storyline, push it through your social channels. See which storylines resonate, and which ones keep your brand top of mind.

Those are the ones to hold onto. When you have one to three effective Brand Storylines, you will grow a Sticky Brand.

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