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If you’re a brand or small business owner, there are two ways to think about Twitter. One way is to think about Twitter as just another broadcast medium, in which you blast out advertisements, promotions, updates and product information in a non-stop stream. A more effective way, though, is to think about Twitter as a storytelling medium, in which you use different forms of curated content to craft a compelling narrative for fans and followers. By doing so, you can help to grow your brand. Here are several tips for using storytelling on Twitter.
Make your product the star of different stories
One effective way to build momentum around a brand is to tell stories about it. For example, one common story is the “Founder’s Story,” which is usually the tale of how an intrepid entrepreneur came up with an idea for the company, and then struggled day and night to transform that passion into a great company. You could easily use Twitter to help share that story with a much wider audience, letting followers learn about the values that inform the brand. People want to buy products from companies that share their same values.
Another common story is the “Hero’s Tale,” which is basically the story of how a product or company comes to the rescue of a customer facing a very difficult problem, thereby averting disaster and making everyone’s lives wonderful. In this story, the product is front and center as the “hero.” On Twitter, that might involve showcasing real-world examples of how people are using your products to solve difficult business problems. Even something as simple as a retweet (RT) can be a way to highlight a great experience shared by a customer on Twitter. For example, Southwest Airlines recently re-tweeted how it came to the heroic rescue of a young damsel in distress:
Use stories to keep people emotionally vested in your brand
Most people underestimate the power of emotion to drive loyalty and satisfaction. Yet, think about some of the world’s most famous brands – like Starbucks or Harley-Davidson – people form very real emotional bonds and relationships with those brands, almost as if they were people. So take advantage of various tools that Twitter now offers to inject emotion into your online storytelling. Video, for example, is fantastic at building engagement and telling stories. Hashtags can be a simple way to make people feel like they are part of a “tribe” online.
Leverage different storytelling tools to showcase the people behind the brand
The most successful brands usually have a “face behind the brand” that people immediately identify with. Apple, for example, had Steve Jobs. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a celebrity founder – it could just as easily be a thought leader at the company, or a social media influencer. The good news is that Twitter offers plenty of options to tell stories about these people. Using Tweet Threads, for example, you can provide updates at live events, or provide an ongoing train of thought about a new product you are thinking of launching. Using Twitter Moments, you can collect and curate multiple tweets in one place, and use that to demonstrate your thought leadership on a certain topic.
Twitter, when used right, can be a very effective storytelling platform. It’s easiest, of course, to use Twitter as a broadcast platform. But if you invest time and energy into leveraging Twitter’s growing number of storytelling tools, you can create the foundation for very successful future business growth.