Storytelling & Values in the Age of Social Media: He’s a time-traveler, not a troll.

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” – Roy Disney

Your social communities are assessing your values

Roy Disney once said, “It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Yes, values help define who we are. They also define our companies and who we choose to do business with. In terms of social media and marketing, values play a huge role in who we decide to follow, like, buy from and interact with. Simply put, our values impact our course of engagement.

Hands up if you’ve ever un-followed someone because you didn’t like their tweet or lost trust in their character? I know I have. If it was simply a difference of opinion, I’d move along to the next distraction on the screen. When I hit an un-follow button, it’s because what I’ve read conflicts with what I value. The relationship is broken.

It’s values that make people feel comfortable or uneasy;  they help us to assess trust, our sense of belonging, and who we should respect. So what does this have to do with time-travel? And more importantly, where the heck does social media fall into this crazy story and um… does it have anything to do with you? Bear with me here!


Social Media Time Travel

Once upon a time, there was a time-traveller

Imagine that a time-traveller suddenly appeared in front of you. The traveler relays a spectacular story of the future and of civilizations past. Having no context of this individual and what he’s trying to achieve, I suspect your guard would be up. Mine surely would be. You might think to yourself, “This person is certifiably crazy. Certifiably.” Shortly after you might wonder, “Am I in some kind of danger?” Despite this, the time-traveler’s story is unique. It’s engaging and interesting. You’re captivated.

The key to establishing long-term social connections is consistency

As you evaluate the story and the situation, you start to reconsider his sanity. His costume is convincing. His 17th century accent is brilliant. Frankly, the more you get to know the traveler, the more you start to realize you actually have things in common. He seems legit!

As time goes on, you notice the consistency in his details and you start to feel comfortable. Really, it comes down to the small things. The traveler calls when he says he’ll call; he shows up when he says he’ll show up. He begins to establish a reputation as a good guy. As being reliable. As being honest. As having integrity. And it’s not just you who thinks this. Your neighbours, your family and friends sense that the traveler is genuine. If he’s as genuine as he seems, why would he lie about something as far-fetched as time-travel?

Public opinion in social media circuits matters 

On the Internet, your social forums are like a virtual family. The networks you follow are a community where you agree or disagree with public opinion and where public opinion often shapes your own ideas. In the case of the time-traveller, the added credibility of a community believing in him helps you to believe in him. This is kind of a big deal when you’re trying to promote a corporate account or a fan page. See he wasn’t only consistent in his details with you, the time-traveller’s story was universally consistent and his actions backed up the validity of the event. In short, he is a time-traveler – not just a troll with a monocle and a phaser.


Social Media Crowd

So what am I getting at with this story? TL; DR

Social forums support and share all kinds of stories regardless of fact or fiction. As a whole, communities understand details about your business and the way you do business. An unbelievable story can quickly become public “fact” and instances when your business has indeed “messed-up” can be forgiven or even laughed about when you show that you’re a human behind the account, capable of error and quick to apologize.

The moral of this article? Stories evolve as the tale goes on from person to person. A marketing goal for every business should be to embrace social marketing, publish original content, engage your fans and own your story accurately by reflecting your values in your communications. Be exactly like the time-traveler  – transparent, consistent, reliable, and honest and you’ll be surprised how open and welcoming, or in some cases forgiving, your community can be.

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About the Author

Crystal DeCnodder

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Crystal DeCnodder is a keynote speaker, social media, and digital marketing expert and is a partner at Full Blast Creative, a creative digital marketing and web design agency in Calgary, Alberta. When Crystal is AFK, she enjoys skateboarding, guitar, travel, and time with family and friends.

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