Social Storytelling: The Who
Identifying your audience and your personal brand.
This is part of a six week series called Social Storytelling based on a presentation given in a personal branding class taken at Lindenwood University in January of 2016.
How do we communicate through social media? What steps should we take to be effective storytellers?
I presented a six step plan for how to become some of the best social storytellers.
- Who — Identifying your audience and your personal brand. Who do you write for?
- What — What are you passionate about? What will you write?
- When — Posting at key times.
- Where — Which social media is right for me?
- Why — Why are you writing? The purpose behind your words.
- How — Creating a strategy for social storytelling.
The first step to becoming an effective social storyteller is the “who”. There are two parts to this step.
Who is your audience?
Knowing your audience is imperative to surviving as a writer of any kind. You cannot write a 10,000 synopsis of the stock market prices if you want to market yourself to a group of 20-something college students.
The same is true for posting on social media. As someone who wants to go into social media strategy and advertising, my audience will vary depending on who I am working for. For example, if my client sold tactical gear, I would tailor my copy to promote it.
Here is an example from the Instagram page of Tacticalgear.com, owned by Cat5 Commerce:
“Designed for complete customization | Propper U.C. Pack#shot2016 #shotshow #shotshow2016#tactical #tacticalgear”
It’s simple and straight to the point. Their target audience is men, probably 20–40, who have a background in the military or police force.
Become relatable. Be authentic. Know your audience and adapt.
To sum it up: write for your audience.
When you are writing, do not talk to your audience. Communicate with them. In the digital age, the consumers are the gatekeepers, meaning they control the content they want to see. As storytellers, we will not make an impact on people if we simply talk at them.
Who is your target audience? Who will benefit the most from what you write? These are the people that you write for, and the people you need to relate to the most.
Who are you?
Just as important as knowing your audience, is knowing yourself.
Who are you? What are your thoughts, opinions and skills? How do you present yourself at social events, in the office, at home or school?
The answers to these questions make up a part of your personal brand.
In order for your audience to understand what you are writing, you have to know what is happening in YOUR head.
By knowing what skills and opinions you have makes you relatable to your audience. (It also will help you with step 2, but we’ll get there soon!)
I also want to pose the question:
Now, when I say this, I do not mean “who cares what you write”?
What I mean is this.
Who cares if one person, or 10,000 people read your work?
It is your work. Your words. Your opinions. Your passions.
Really, it all comes down to who you are and who you want to become.
A lot of writers are worried about pleasing their audience so much, that they lose their personal touch on their writing. Everything we write, in whatever field, has our personal mark that we leave.
Who you write for is important. But, who you are is what is at stake.
Writing for your audience is important, but it is your brand and identity that you are putting out there. Do not sacrifice yourself for your audience.
So, while you write for your audience, you also write for yourself.
If you like this, follow me on social media to stay up to date on the following blogs in this series!