Social Media & Storytelling, a CIPR Hack Day

8468788107_255777d512_zAre you sitting comfortably? Good, then we can begin.  Storytelling was the theme for this week’s CIPR’s Social Media Panel Hack Day.

The group met to discuss the relative merits of telling a tale as part of a social media PR strategy. Unlike a conventional panel discussion however, the group opened up the floor to the Twittersphere and the result was an engaging hour of tweets and talk on the art of storytelling.

To get everyone in the mood panel member Dan Tyte, who is Executive Director at Working Word Public Relations, gave a quick run through of the importance of storytelling as part of brand management and how social can enhance its qualities.

“People associate storytelling with being twee and that it’s not appropriate for brands but a story is in fact a package. It can put complex messages in an understandable way,” he said.

Tyte believes that the benefit of social media to narratives is that the different platforms allow organisations to express themselves in different ways to different audiences – each chapter being designed for a different type of media.

“Stories build trust – look at a pint of milk. These days there may well be a picture of the farmer telling the story of where it came from. In the wake of food scares this puts the trust back in the product. It’s about context and relating to the audience and how they see things,” said Tyte.

But how best to use storytelling in a social media world? Panel member Louisa Bartoszek, who is Director of Media Relations at Bank of New York Mellon, said that a shift of attitude was vital: “It’s about changing your mentality. You now need to see people as an audience rather than as customers. It’s a language shift.”

Before getting started on a skills guide for CIPR members, the panel reached out to Twitter to hear advice and examples on what makes good social media storytelling.

After a lively hour of tweeting back and forth the team then set down to create the new guide on social storytelling. You can read a summary of the tweets and download the new guide from the Hack Day Hub.

There are more Hack Days to come and if you would like to make a suggestion for a theme or if you would like some Social Media advice then get in touch via @CIPRsm.


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Rob Smith is the editor of Influence. He's a reporter with a background in business journalism.

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