Features

Storytelling in the Day of Twitter

By Adam Turner • October 10, 2019

In the days before social media and mobile phones, multimedia advertisements looked pretty much the same: 30-second TV spots extolling the virtues of a company or showing people coming together thanks to the magic of their product.

However, the old method of advertising has fallen short when organizations have tried replicating it on social media. According to Twitter’s Head of Global Content Strategy Nina Mishkin, who spoke at Digital Summit Los Angeles, mobile content needs to be tailored towards the very different needs of the social media audience, and that content falls somewhere on what she calls the Storytelling Spectrum.

The Storytelling Spectrum has three main different content styles that make it up: short-form assets, condensed narratives and long-form assets. Using all three of these content formats will allow a company to better market in the mobile sphere because each style has its own advantages.

Short-form assets are excellent marketing pieces for promoting a single message. Good ways to think about these are in the context of six-second messages. These should clearly deliver the message the organization wants out there as concisely as possible. Product launches, large event promotions, brand sponsorship and a call to action all merit the short-form assets.

Blank note hanging from a clothesline
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Then there are the longer stories that condense narratives that may be found in 30 second ads into 10-15 second videos. Mishkin found that the some of the best uses of this style of video include product launches that highlight key features, launching a new brand message or connecting the brand to a cultural movement.

Finally, there is the extremely versatile long-form content. These are anything meant to keep the audience’s attention for a longer period than the other content styles, and, yes, that can include the 30 second TV spots. Mishkin points out, however, that many companies have been taking this style of video to one- to four-minute videos to talk about what they stand for.

One of the prime examples of a company that uses all three formats of mobile content is Nike. Last year, Nike released an over two-minute commercial as part of its “Just Do It” campaign narrated by Colin Kaepernick. Unlike the short form pieces the company uses during promotions like Air Max Day, Mishkin said the longer commercial shows a “really great, mission-driven approach to what Nike as an organization cares about.”

No matter the style of content you post, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure it’s the best it can be.

First and foremost, marketers need to ensure that they create focused content, show off their brand and make it highly visual — what Mishkin calls the Brilliant Basics. All three of these play to consumers’ short attention spans and the way in which they consume content.

Dynamic and interactive content also performs better on mobile. Engaging with consumers through the comments provides new opportunities to build brand loyalty among customers, and marketers can keep their ears to the ground about what their audience cares about. That way, their organization can be relevant in cultural moments while building a forum of consistent communication.

All of this comes together so the organization engages and starts a conversation instead of simply pushing content at the viewers. Every brand, no matter the size, can focus on high quality mobile content, and those that do will find success in this mobile-first world.

About The Author

Adam Turner is a content strategy intern with Naylor Association Solutions.