To make content more engaging, marketers have gone to all kinds of lengths, each more showy than the last. But in the coming years, successful digital marketing strategies may turn away from superficial shows of technological machismo and instead consider how they can enrich the lives of consumers. They say that generation Z already has a legacy of being the most racially and ethnically diverse generation yet, and are engaging more than ever in issues of social justice and equality. The narrative that the digital age will be devoid of human connection and full of Wall-E people is outdated, and we are finding that new generations are college educated and will no longer stand to be shamed into buying products. Looking at the winners of the 2019 Cannes Lions Awards, what sells best is advertising with an impact.  The secret to engaging with audiences is to create storylines for content that seeks to enrich the lives of those that consume it. 

Do some soul-searching

Dust off that ‘About Us’ section on your website and remind yourself of the brand mission. Nobody knows what to do with an aimless book, and nobody gets excited over a brand that goes no deeper than the surface. A storyline that is rooted in a brand’s values not only maintains transparency with audiences, it also provides purpose for employees. Values that remain unused in training manuals don’t stick with employees and thus fail to make an impact on customers. It is vital to create a storyline in a brand’s social media marketing strategy that gives life back to the fundamental building blocks of the brand.

Once you have refreshed your memory about the brand’s mission, begin to think about how the mission can be translated into a medium for social media. What would resonate most with audiences; images, quotes, articles, podcasts, videos? A combination of three? Choose your content carefully and do your research into what content forms work best for your brand. The storyline will be most clear to audiences if they know where to find its developments, so try to maintain consistency with the chosen media.

Find your influencers

Just like the Lord of the Rings trilogy would be a dull and needlessly descriptive book about a ring without Frodo and Sam, social media storylines don’t have quite the same impact without influencers. Where you find these influencers will depend largely on the nature of your brand and how outgoing your coworkers are. If your team is full of influencers and people who know how to use a filter, consider assigning them roles in your brand’s social media storyline. For the introverted techy types that never learned how to smile right, consider turning towards your customers. Customer stories and reviews can be an excellent way to give your brand a face and open up lines of communication with potential future connections.

Establish Setting

A storyline that doesn’t go anywhere doesn’t make for a very good story. Once you have settled on influencers, deciding on a setting will give your brand credibility through physical space. 

Inherent in taking a photo is the setting in which the image is captured, but having an intentional setting makes the storyline cohesive. While random settings don’t necessarily take away from the message of the image, incorporating a brand’s physical space into the image adds another dimension to the audience’s involvement. Even the most international companies have locations in neighborhoods, and incorporating that culture into the images can increase engagement in new target audiences. 

In order to have engagement, a brand must make their content engaging. Marketers have attempted this with varying degrees of success through controversy, scandal, bright images and graphics, a never-ending stream of content–the list goes on and on. Creating a cohesive and substantive storyline may take more leg-work and company involvement, but will increase the longevity of the audience and boost brand commitment for the future.

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