Do you love stories? Me too. I enjoy tales spanning all media: books, comics, movies, television shows, video games and more. As technology advances, so do our methods for storytelling.
It’s said that everyone has a story to tell. Fortunately, platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made telling “Stories” an easy way of engaging friends and followers. Using this feature, we have daily opportunities to share the anecdotes, narratives and, sometimes, milestones that celebrate our everyday lives.
Did you know there are rules for effectively telling stories — always have been — and some of those rules can carry over to those we tell on social media?
In fact, we can stand on the shoulders of time’s greatest storytellers and learn from their methods to hone our social media storytelling skills. Think for a moment about the narratives that have engaged you, kept you binge-watching shows on Netflix or turning pages long into the night.
What kept it moving along? Plot. It’s the vehicle by which we can travel that bumpy narrative highway, navigating the twists and turns, thrilled to be along for the ride.
As a novelist, I strive to provide readers with questions and answers. Questions: like “oh my, what’s going to happen next?” And, answers: “Didn’t see that coming.” As each question is answered, more arise — never revealing the answer to the biggest, ultimate question until the end.
How does this translate to using Facebook and Instagram’s latest, most interesting storytelling feature?
Well, our kind has been spinning yarns since man defended himself from wooly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers – scratching out stories of bravery, cowardice and survival on cave walls.
From cave-dwellers to modern-day man, the best stories are always told with creativity and style. There are lots of creative options you can use with Facebook and Instagram Stories.
So, when you’re trying out social media “Stories,” remember that while the medium is somewhat new, people have been doing this successfully for a long time.
Try these techniques for Facebook and Instagram Stories to sharpen your skills:
- Use every segment (whether containing photo, video or written content) to move your theme forward. Like plot, it must advance to keep the audience engaged.
- Don’t share unrelatable content. Stories should give people something that either adds value, informs or entertains – not something that alienates or bores. If followers wanted to see Dave Matthews Band in concert, they would have bought tickets. No need to make a real-time recording of the whole show.
- Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many bells and whistles: Polls, hashtags, crazy fonts or stickers. Seasoning your Story with added flair is great in small doses.
- Be authentic: Ever heard you should write what you know? That applies here too. Being authentic means being honest with yourself and sharing content that’s familiar or exciting to you. If you do so, the Story will ring true.
- Call to Action: If your aim is to win someone to a way of thinking or send them to a certain website to learn more, make clear how they can do so. To learn more about this topic which has entertained, interested or sparked your curiosity, swipe up!
- Take a note from Hemingway – a master of “less is more.” Build your content and deliver the point you’re trying to make. The longer it takes your audience to move through your content, the more at risk your story is of being “swiped” past.