Telling Stories in 2014

Last Thursday I saw a Q&A with author, speaker and social media strategist Gary Vaynerchuk. He was in the UK to promote his new book and took a lot of questions from the floor. He was funny, anecdotal, energetic, swore a lot and made a number of observations on social media marketing, most of which resonated with me…

  • Can’t automate the human touch. It takes time to build a relationship. You can’t apply email marketing techniques to social media.
  • Social media is a marathon, it takes time to build engagement.
  • Every business is now in the media business, the only way to compete is to become an authority on content.
  • Stop thinking of social media as a distribution channel, think of it as a storytelling channel.
  • Storytellers are controlling the conversation and making the money.

My last two blogs have been about the importance of content, blogging, brand journalism and story telling, so it was good to hear many of Gary’s takeaways refer to the same topics. As with much social media marketing wisdom, it’s the simple principles that many seem to find difficult to grasp – yet the notion of conversation, relationship building, give before you ask, speak with an authentic voice are all part of the basis of meaningful human interaction and should be second nature to a marketer.

The creation of content and building of authority may be something that comes less naturally, particularly to businesses used to pushing out one way messages, but the concept that Gary mentions of everyone being in the media business is one that is recurring. This recent piece on IBMs predictions for the top social media trends of 2014 observed:

They have a reported 40,000+ content producers and brand journalists within IBM, some of which are writing for their industry’s most well-known publications. IBM is becoming a powerful media house and does not rely on the media to tell their story

For businesses from all sectors and industries there can be no excuse for not embracing storytelling and developing customer relationships that rely on conversation and engagement rather than telling and one way dialogue. As Gary says:

Your core story must remain constant. No matter how you tell your story, your personality and brand identity must remain constant, too

And for those still unsure there’s no better place to start than this slideshare on Storytelling in 2014…

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