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How to tell stories on social media | The power of human stories conference | 28 February 2019


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Rich Ward, social media manager, RNLI

Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do:

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How to tell stories on social media | The power of human stories conference | 28 February 2019

  1. 1. How the RNLI tells stories on social media Rich Ward Social Media Manager, RNLI @rich_rolled
  2. 2. The power of stories A great story told in the right way can: Capture imaginations Generate strong emotions Establish personal connections and empathy Inspire action e.g. donations, volunteering All of which are very desirable outcomes for charities looking to maintain and increase supporter engagement.
  3. 3. The challenge However, how do we go about telling compelling and convincing stories on social media platforms where attention spans are measured by the second and our audiences' news feeds are saturated with content?
  4. 4. A solution If you fully understand: Your audience(s) The story you want to tell about your charity The impact you want that story to have (KPIs) The channels where your audience(s) is active and the formats that work in those spaces. You can then focus on goal-based creative solutions to storytelling that work seamlessly within your chosen platforms.
  5. 5. RNLI case studies - captioned videos On the RNLI's Facebook channel, we want to proactively engage with our large following of warm supporters in order to maintain and strengthen their affection for the charity. One of the most powerful ways we can do this is by telling dramatic stories about our dedicated volunteers - tales of incredible courage, tragedy and triumph that inspire awe and respect for what they do. However, Facebook poses several creative challenges...
  6. 6. RNLI case studies - captioned videos Facebook tends to be consumed as a sound-off experience Facebook users tend to access the platform via smartphone held in a portrait orientation Facebook promotes people over pages Facebook counts 3-seconds as a video view! One of our most impactful solutions to these storytelling challenges has been the captioned video.
  7. 7. RNLI case studies - captioned videos 1:1 format to suit mobile consumption and fill the screen Bold captions provide the narrative rather than a VO Mix of stock footage, archive photos and animations keep in-house production costs to a minimum 1 to 2-min length depending on the complexity of the story and to suit posting on other platforms e.g. Twitter Shareable content that drives engagements
  8. 8. How are you tackling these challenges on Facebook?
  9. 9. RNLI case studies - story packages Of course, each social media platform has it nuances - in terms of audience make-up, formats etc. and often these differences are significant. Compare for instance YouTube, a sound-on platform with long dwell times, with Snapchat, which is an ephemeral platform where vertical videos are consumed in 10-second chunks.
  10. 10. RNLI case studies - story packages So, wherever possible, we try to maximise the impact of our storytelling by designing content that is tailored for each platform - especially we were are working on a resource-intensive production for a large campaign. Rather than creating and sharing a single piece of video content across all our channels, we instead produce multi-format video packages that work for news feed, Stories, the media etc.
  11. 11. RNLI case studies - story packages 9:16, 10-second teasers for Stories with a swipe-up call-to-action to watch the full versions 1:1, 60 to 90-second versions with captions/subtitles for news feed 16:9 full-length versions of up to 5 mins without captions/subtitles for YouTube Unbranded versions for the media to give them maximum flexibility.
  12. 12. RNLI case studies - takeovers While edited videos are great ways to tell a story, letting others communicate directly with your audience on your behalf can be equally effective. Where authenticity is key, handing someone else creative control - especially within the Stories format - provides a level of realism and honesty that a slick, edited brand production can't match.
  13. 13. RNLI case studies - takeovers Stories are also powerful drivers of web traffic thanks to their swipe-up functionality. This makes them perfectly suited to recruitment campaigns and the RNLI has utilised them for both running events and volunteer appeals.
  14. 14. Have you used takeovers on your own channels?
  15. 15. RNLI case studies - threads Of course, video isn't the only way to tell a story. Sometimes, a single powerful picture accompanied by a narrative can be just as effective in terms of generating engagement as a film. Through the use of Twitter threads, we are able to combine both imagery and video to provide a deeper insight into events and take people on a compelling journey through RNLI history.
  16. 16. RNLI case studies - threads Storytelling is also a great way to provide focus and retain audience attention on a news feed that can easily turn into a jumble of competing messages. We've even recreated several major events by live tweeting the action as if they were happening in real time, including Grace Darling's legendary 19th century rescue and the RNLI's involvement in the Dunkirk evacuations.
  17. 17. Summary To sum up, storytelling on social: Helps strengthen engagement and support (when done well!) Involves understanding who you are talking to, on what channels and what measurable impact you want to have Requires creative solutions that are optimised to the platform and aligned to the goal
  18. 18. Thank you! Any questions? Rich Ward Social Media Manager, RNLI @rich_rolled
  19. 19. The power of human stories: how to be an authentic storyteller 28 February 2019 London #CharityStories
  20. 20. Visit the CharityComms website to view slides from past events, see what events we have coming up and to check out what else we do: