From oral tradition to great written literature, the power of storytelling has not gone unnoticed. However, with the rise of the digital age, much of how we tell stories has changed. We have entered into a new era of creative storytelling.
From TV to social media, this change in how stories are being told has lasting effects on marketing and brand storytelling. In this new era of digital storytelling the best ways to handle creative storytelling with digital media is constantly evolving and storytellers need to keep up to stay relevant.
With multiple frames such as online, mobile, and even virtual and augmented reality to consider, digital storytellers need to be able to effectively communicate their brand stories in a variety of ways. Digital media has opened up new doors to what is now accessible to individuals. The role of brand storytellers is to use this accessibility to their advantage.
Social media is one of the primary ways that digital storytellers share brand stories online. Social media storytelling relies on the content a brand produces. Content marketing and transmedia storytelling go hand-in-hand on social media. You need to cater your brand message and aspects of your brand story to the different social media platforms and produce the most engaging content for each of those sites.
The varying social media platforms need different types of content. What is best on Facebook or Twitter will look differently from what is best on Pinterest or Instagram.
There are two key aspects of your brand story on social media. There is the written part and the visuals. The written content relies more heavily on traditional storytelling techniques. Things like masterplot, voice, and narrative style are important things to consider when writing the text portion to a post. Because of letter limits on social media platforms, most stories should be told with minimal text.
This brings us to the importance of the visual aspect of your content.
Visual storytelling has to do with how your visuals work with social media to A) tell a more complete story and B) gain the highest engagement possible from your target audience. The images you choose can tell a story within themselves, even a single photo can send a powerful message. A single visual can capture an authentic emotion or moment, which makes them key in getting the attention of your audience.
Another segment of social media storytelling is user-generated content. Because of the accessibility of social media, now everyone can become a storyteller. It’s important that you leverage the voices that are sharing and completing your brand's story.
User-generated content is content that the audience plays a part in. It’s when people write or post content that had to do with a brand. Often times brands repost user-generated content to make this authentic story content part of their official story.
Visuals can also be used to engage your audience more effectively. A good story isn't worth much if no one is listening to it. While the benefits of social media include the added accessibility of content, people have more access to all content, so getting your audience’s attention can be more difficult.
There are thousands of features that come together to form one piece of visual content, everything from topic, to colors, to object orientation. Whether the content creator is aware of these features or not, they play a powerful role in how an audience member will react to visual content.
You can choose to analyze your visuals using a few different methods including digital storytelling tools. You could ignore the individual visual features that make up an image and produce visual content based on what you feel conveys your story best. You could use data management platforms to analyze your audience engagement data by hand and guess what people might like to see. Or, you could utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, and predictive analytics to analyze these thousands of features to find which combinations are data backed to produce the best results.
Social Media is not the only digital platform that brands can take advantage of in this era of creative storytelling. Some brands are creatively using the film medium to move past traditional TV advertisements and create engaging videos that their audience is actually interested in. Brand films can be a great way to demonstrate your knowledge of your audience, from an emotional connection with them, or a brand narrative in an indirect way.
Augmented reality is an important new aspect of digital media. Some reasons we should be talking about AR include its implication on branding and brand storytelling. AR tools such as Amazon View and Ikea Place allow customers to “experience” products without leaving their home. Branded filters also help share a brand story in a social fun way that helps promote user-generated content.
Virtual reality could also provide a fully immersive storytelling experience. VR has the ability to make inaccessible things accessible and share a story like never before. Some brands have already begun using VR in their brand storytelling efforts such as National Geographic and Greenpeace.