Focus on ... Storytelling on social media

Charlotte Beckett, head of digital at Four Communications, looks at the common theme of her series of columns on online communications

Storytelling is the common theme of all social media platforms
Storytelling is the common theme of all social media platforms

Since we starting focusing on all things social 15 months ago, we've seen micro videos arrive and grow up rapidly, smart data and even smarter algorithms learning what content we really want and the usual rounds of mergers, acquisitions and predictions of demise.

But looking back over those 15 months, there is a common theme as old as human communication: storytelling.

Making charities' stories work on social media is as simple as Four Eyes - or, to be pedantic, I's:

Insight It's the obvious place to start, but we are often asked: "We've set up a Facebook page, how do we get likes?" We need to ask who our audience is, where they are, what they like, what motivates them and how they behave online.

Idea We know who we're talking to, so we need to plan what we're going to say. We need to think about our core message, a simple idea we can hang all our communications around. How do we want our story to make people feel? What do we want them to do? How social is our idea - can our audiences take it and make it theirs?

Implementation Now we can start planning which platforms we'll use. How will social media work with our other activities? Rather than creating a matching campaign across all media, how can we evolve our story across each? Will audiences be able to take ownership and push the narrative forward?

Impact From social shares to spikes in traffic to conversions, there's a raft of things we can measure, often in real time.

As well as clear objectives, we need to instil a habit of "make, measure, learn" - the more we test, the more we improve communications, the more impact we will have.

As Third Sector moves into a new, exciting phase, it's time to bring this column to a close. I hope I've covered the topics you wanted in the way you wanted. Feel free to tell me if I haven't. @LondonCharlotte

- You can read all of Charlotte's Third Sector columns here

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