We previously shared with you Creative Writing Techniques for Bloggers. (We’ll wait if you want to read it. Are you back? Great.) Whether you blog or not, you’re probably interacting with your customers via social media — as you should be! You might think of social media writing as blogging in bits and pieces (or microblogging, to use a slightly dated buzzword). So many of the same techniques apply. But here, we home in on how to use creative writing and storytelling in your social media.
If you struggle to think of things to post on your social media channels, try thinking more like a creative writer than a marketer. Here are some ways you can use creative writing to succeed at social media.
Tell a Story
The idea that marketers need to be storytellers has almost become a cliche. But are you telling stories? If you fire off tweets or posts one at a time without thinking about how they connect, you’re probably not.
One method is to tell stories in real time. Here’s an example. You’re hosting an event. Take photos along the way as you set up behind-the-scenes, open the doors, welcome your guests and move through the festivities. Without bombarding people every 30 seconds, let them go along for the ride.
Another approach is to plan out a story in advance. You can do it with as few as two posts. Maybe it’s a before-and-after. Or maybe it’s three photos that show a beginning, middle, and end. Visuals go a long way toward conveying more than you can with words.
However you approach it, think back to English class. A story has a protagonist. It has conflict, which builds over time. It has a climax and a resolution. Keep these elements in mind as you go.
Embrace Literary Devices
Don’t be afraid of metaphors, analogies, similes, and allusion. These terms might give you horrifying flashbacks to college exams, but in fact, you probably use all of these in everyday conversation. People relate more readily to ideas that connect with what they know. Paint a picture for them so they understand and remember what you say. It’s like in Guardians of the Galaxy when Star Lord explains the plot of Footloose to Gamora in order to illustrate what’s wrong with refusing to dance. (See what I did there?)
This technique can take practice. But you can say things in new ways by using multiple voices. That’s all dialogue really is–speaking as a character. You can really get into emotions this way and get big laughs. A great example is the tweets by Twitter user @Reverend_Scott where he portrays dogs calling 9-1-1. Here’s one of his tweets:
Dog 911: what’s ur emergency?
Dog: MY HUMAN WENT TO WORK
Dog 911: so?
Dog: WHAT IF THIS TIME HE DOESN’T COME BACK
Dog 911: OMG
— Reverend Scott (@Reverend_Scott) November 19, 2015
Let the Audience Participate
Social media is not a one-way conversation. So rather than thinking of it like writing a novel, think of it like a stage play with room for audience participation. Invite your audience to show their own creativity. You might host a contest to caption a funny photo. Or you might ask them to imagine a dream product they’d like to see from your company. You might also find that they naturally jump into the conversation, especially when you tell stories. Think about when you’re at a dinner party and someone tells a story of the time they broke a bone. Pretty soon, everyone is sharing stories of their medical emergencies… sometimes to the detriment of the dessert you’re trying to eat.
Again, social media is not a novel. Whether you consider it a movie, a play, or a children’s book, it needs images! Check out our previous post on tips and tools for creating your own great social media visuals. Make sure you choose images that support the story you’re trying to tell. An image can be purely informational, but usually, it also conveys some level of emotion or humor. Combine the right words with the right image and you can really wow your audience.
These are just a few of the ways that creative writing can boost your fun factor on social media. As you develop your voice and write increasingly interesting posts you’ll draw more and more engagement. Happy writing!