Friday, July 27, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #12 Subplots

Subplots are additional threads to a story, which add depth and allow you to weave complexity into what otherwise might be seen as one dimensional. They are a staple of novels and TV programs.

The technique of using sub plots can also be used in social media posting. For instance:

1. If you are posting from a bakery you can talk about "typical" customers, a woman with a birthday party, a man getting bread early in the morning for his family, a young man buying cakes for his girlfriend.

2. If you are a large business, say a bank, you can also talk about "typical" and anonymous customers by giving examples of clients the bank helps, and the practical examples of how your products and services help clients.

3. If you are an artist you can talk about your struggles to find the right paints or tools of some kind.

4. If you are a designer you can talk about the trips you make to visit suppliers. I am sure we would all love to hear about how they make silk in China these days, for instance.

Sub plots is probably one of the easiest ways to post about what you do. Many people are doing it already.

This series of posts were written to provide a structure and theory around the post types people create.

There are now 12 on the subject of storytelling techniques. I will switch to a different series from Monday, when I will be back from a weekend break.

The next series will be about puzzles & mysteries in the area of social media. I hope you have a great weekend.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Social Media in practice #2: An update: SM 4 a London premium property site

This post is the second in a series about putting social media theory into practice.


A small premium property agency in London has been looking to update their web site. Over a two day period I created the following blog:





It features a listing of properties prominently and is almost a crossover between a property listing site and a blog.

I then created two Twitter accounts - this is one:




This post is an update on the results in the past two weeks. 

The blog/web site has had 263 views in two weeks. The best day was last Thursday, when 40 views were recorded. Here is a listing of where people have come from who viewed the site over the last few weeks:






Two Twitter accounts will slowly follow people interested in property in London. Already, within two weeks, they have 627 followers. A few of these will be likely clients. I don't expect much of a return for the time involved in setting all this up, Tweeting daily, and reporting on it all, until about three months has passed 

The Twitter account tweets a 50% mix of links to the Allytta blog and 50% London/property industry news.

The main benefits so far are probably more about good client relationships, but I do expect real business to be generated from the site and Twitter feeds soon. What do you think?


Come back here each month and I will update you on progress on this real life example of the use of social media for an SME business in the UK.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Supercharging social media with storytelling techniques: #11 Raising the Stakes

Raising the stakes is a classic technique for raising interest in a story. If you make things important for the characters, make it a life or death situation or, more realistically, make what will happen have an impact on people lives, then more people will be interested in your writing.

But can we use this technique in social media?

Yes, we can. We are not all involved in saving lives or ground breaking research, but you can find ways to raise the stakes in everyday situations too. Here are some examples:

1. If you're a cake company you can post/Tweet about an anonymous client who bought a cake for a birthday celebration with a new boyfriend.

2. If you sell wine you can post/Tweet about the anonymous client who bought 20 bottles, which you recommended, for the engagement party of his only daughter.

3. If you're a bank, you can post/Tweet about an anonymous and unidentifiable client who was helped expand by a loan to cover an order for a new client, which was negotiated in 48hrs.

4. If you're an artist you can post/Tweet about how you try to capture beauty or reality in each painting you create.

5. If you're a shoe designer you can post/Tweet about how your shoes make your customers feel confident and gorgeous.

In each case the stakes are about more important things than the world is about to end, they are about our family, our business, our urge to create, and the importance of feeling confident.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Social Media in practice #1: A London premium property site & Twitter feed

There are lots of great posts about social media theory. This post is the 1st in a series about putting the theory into practice.


A small property agency in London has been looking to update their web site. They have been getting few hits on their traditional site, and have to advertise offline and online to drive telephone calls to their offices and increase sales of their rental properties and for sale properties.

Over a 2 day period I created the following blog:





It features a listing of properties prominently and is almost a crossover between a property listing site and a blog.

I then created a Twitter account:




The parts that took up most of the two days were deciding on the Wordpress template, I tried four before picking that one, getting the most out of the template options, and putting all the images into the right format.

The Twitter account will slowly follow people interested in property in London. Already, within 6 days, it has 106 followers. A few of these will be likely clients.

The Twitter account tweets a 50% mix of links to the Allytta blog and 50% London property industry news.

Some say this should be a 25% ads to 75% news mix, but with the people the Twitter account is following being interested in property and there being no question that this is a celebrity site suddenly pushing cola - a bait & switch technique. I think such a percentage is reasonable. The Allytta Twitter account is 100% up front about what  you should expect if you follow it.

It will be some time, 3 months I have suggested to the property agency owner, before we know what impact such a linked social media to blog/site will have on sales. Come back here each month and I will update you on progress on this real life example of the use of social media for an SME business in the UK.

Now, the fact that it only took me two days to set up a reasonable looking site and social media strategy for a small business made me think about a few things:

1. Why do some web design agencies charge so much for sites?

2. Why are there still so many static web sites, which are not using Twitter to reach out to potential clients?

3. What else should I be doing for Allytta to show them the practical benefits of social media?

I have considered Facebook & LinkedIn options, and they will probably come in a few months, so it is really other ideas I am hoping you might contribute for us all.

Pinterest, if we have some great pics of some of the apartments with flowers and lovely meals on the table would be nice, I think, but would it generate sales?

What do you think? What have I missed? What social media strategy do you think works?