I had a conversation yesterday about business, branding, marketing advertising and a host of other topics. The discussion centered around marketers and their ability to sell anything, no matter how crappy it is. I have a different view of that topic, for me, no amount of marketing can sell a crappy product. However, it was pointed out to me that marketing sells crappy product all the time.
In 4 months, I will be finished with my Master of Digital Media. I am currently working on my Major Research Paper. The topic for my research is “Analysis of Narrative-Driven Social Media Content Use Within Successful Social Media Campaigns Across Multiple Social Platforms to Develop a Campaign Strategy.” I am basically looking at how storytelling, in particular, transmedia storytelling, impacts the success of social media campaign in Non-Profit Organizations. My hypothesis in its simplest form is if you want to be successful on social media, ensure your content tells a story and reflects the overall narrative of your organization.
I was sitting watching Mcguyver on demand when I received a video from an acquaintance from one of the online groups I am a part of. The video was about a guy with some religious message, and I decided not to even bother to watch it. However, while I was posting an image on Whatsapp a few minutes later, the video started playing, and the guy started telling a story about a civilian that saved a soldier’s life. The story highlighted that the civilian’s mom wanted to abort him a few years earlier, and the mother of the soldier whose life he ended up saving sat with her and encouraged her to keep the baby. The story got me hooked, and I watched the entire video, even the message after the story.
That got me thinking; it validated what I have been working on for the past few months; storytelling is how Brands can use their story to grow their businesses. Gary Vaynerchuck stated that he day trades attention and build businesses. To him, the ultimate asset in business , in this internet led era in which we live, is attention. Therefore it is of utmost importance to find ways to get and keep this asset. I believe that to get the attention, we need to tell stories.
In January 2016, a tourist (Jessica Colker)was murdered while exploring a deserted beach while on vacation in Grenada. Note well, Grenada is my home country.The incident generated lots of international media interest; most of it negative. The coverage painted a picture of a dangerous, barbaric island with savage people and where rapists and murderers roam freely. Some literature even issued travel warnings and advisories.
As a Grenadian, Colker’s murder stunned me; particularly because Grenada is one of the safest and friendliest Caribbean islands with extremely low crime rates. I anticipated the coverage given the international ties of the victim, however, what I did not expect was the very negative image that was painted of Grenada and Grenadians like me. This sparked the creation of the #IamGrenadian counter-project to share the real stories of Grenada and Grenadians online.
Six months later, the Facebook page garnered 11,000 likes and massive engagement; that’s when I realized that storytelling was a powerful way to shape a brand’s narrative online. As part of my Masters Degree in Digital Media, I am currently working on the best way that brands can tell their stories across multiple platforms. I will keep everyone updated on my progress. I am not going to talk about the benefits of storytelling or the steps to create a story; these can be found with a quick search on google or by visiting the business of story website. Nevertheless, storytelling is the future, and I will be writing about the different ways a story can be created and shared across multiple platforms. Stay tuned for progress updates on my research.
A few months ago I started my Masters in Digital Media and I decided to blog about my experience and the way I view the world from the perspective of a Digital Media Masters student and a practitioner of Digital Media. One of the things ‘grind my gears’ is when I see entrepreneurs and personalities ignoring the most basics of Social Media Personal Branding. Honestly, I don’t think I am in the position or have the authority to judge per se since I too sometimes miss the mark .I am no expert, however, I think Social Media can have a positive impact on building a brand. Yet most people ignore it.
Personal branding expert, Karen Leland stated that there are three specific ways that almost everyone can benefit from social media
1- Enhance brand recognition and thought leadership– The more frequently you show up on social media, the greater your brand exposure and the more recognizable and credible your business become.
2- Increased trust through leveraged credibility– If consumers trust you they more they are willing to recommend you
3- Gives you a competitive advantage– If someone is looking to choose between you and your competition for a service and you have an active brand on social media, you will most likely be the one that gets chosen.
Below are three basic branding principles that, if ignored, most likely than not results in the creation of a terrible brand. Yes, I said terrible.
1- No or poor photo and brand identity– For some strange reason, some businesses and entrepreneurs believe that they do not need a profile photo. It doesn’t matter which profile you are on; this is a must have. A profile with a profile image will get more click than one without. Besides, people will trust you more when they can see you. If your profile picture is not consistent across all social media platforms, people may not trust you. Ensure your photo is up to date, no a pic of a dragon is not appropriate, just a headshot of the real authentic you smiling and looking forward.
2- No or poorly written Bio– Ok, so your profile picture may attract someone to your profile, but it’s your bio that will get them excited about you. Use up all your characters, don’t be afraid. Different platforms have different character limits so craft a bio to suit the different platforms. Also, show people who you are, if you founded a company; say that, if you spent five years helping companies sell online; say just that, be specific, not general. Don’t lie though and don’t fake your achievements; real recognizes real, and people will sniff out your BS from a distance. Use keywords so people can find you easily.
3- No Background– Ok, this one bothers me, most platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allow you to upload a background. See my different backgrounds below; I am feeling myself, and I got them done on Fiverr for five dollars each. According to Leland, your background is a visual display of your bio and a personal branding best practice. Use your background to promote your brand, customize it to suit you, if you are an author, put your books on there, just ensure it tells the story of who you are.
Ok, I will stop here, for now, these are some of the very basics of what I recommend for building a brand on Social Media. You can get fancier if you want to, there are a lot of information online that can help you build your personal brand.