Over the years, Apple has proven to be an organization that knows how to tell relevant and compelling stories that have captured the imagination of legions of loyal fans. When it comes to social media marketing, content marketing, advertising and communications, storytelling is a critically important skill for the same reasons it has served Apple so well, and more.
I’m a bit of an amateur tech nerd, and admittedly, a bit of an Apple fan boy. As such, I intently watched Apple’s media conference on Tuesday (you can watch it here) during which they revealed several new products, including arguably the most eagerly anticipated Apple product of the year, the iPad mini. While the presentation certainly had its faults, it also had some Apple-patented high points when it came to storytelling that are directly applicable to social media and content marketing.
Following are 5 qualities of Apple storytelling that can be directly applied to social media and content marketing:
THEIR PASSION IS CONTAGIOUS
Every time someone speaks, the passion that each word and action carries is hard to ignore. Yesterday’s conference was a little overboard with the number of times the word ‘beautiful’ and ‘gorgeous’ were used, but man these guys care about what they do and produce. They’re tech geeks like the rest of us and they don’t hold it back.
SHOW SOME PASSION: Don’t hold back. If you geek-out about your product or service, others who feel the same way will be more likely to get involved with you and your brand. Also, people are passionate beings, so demonstrating this can humanize your brand, attract more people to your community, and inspire people to connect with your story.
THEY SWEAT THE DETAILS… AND MAKE THEIR AUDIENCE CARE ABOUT THEM TOO
Until yesterday’s announcement, I had no clue what friction-stir welding was, and didn’t care at all about the technology involved in laminating displays directly to glass. These were two key production innovations that were highlighted in Apple’s presentation, and while I still don’t know anything about friction-stir welding, I’m enthused by the design innovation it facilitates, and it gives me another reason to think of Apple as an innovative organization overall.
CONSIDER GIVING YOUR AUDIENCE ANSWERS TO DETAILED QUESTIONS THEY DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE: Sometimes your consumers will be interested in something they didn’t know they had an interest in. In Apple’s case, they have a passionate bunch of loyal fans that will eat up every little detail they provide. In the case of a mortgage brokerage, they might have an audience who doesn’t know the intricate ins and outs and various lesser-known mortgage options available to them. In both cases, consumers might not be asking about the information being offered, but will be greatly interested in receiving it, particularly when they realize the full value that information offered.
THEY APPLY A HEALTHY DOSE OF MYSTERY
Apple is renowned for their classic reveal of, ‘… just one more thing’, and while they didn’t follow this exact format in their iPad mini event, they did reveal more than what everyone was anticipating with the redesigned iMac and fourth generation iPads. These were not only unexpected announcements, but served to generate and sustain a level of excitement through the entire press event that would have otherwise run fairly predictably.
DO SOMETHING THAT WILL SURPRISE YOUR AUDIENCE FROM TIME TO TIME: Releasing a new format of content, offering special access, giving something of value away, or something of the like will surprise and delight your consumers. If you’ve done this in a meaningful way, the result should be increased interest and affinity for your brand, and an increase in earned media and social amplification by all of your excited consumers.
THEY TELL THEIR OWN STORY, ON THEIR OWN TERMS
Apple has positioned themselves as a leader within their category. When they are announcing the next chapter in their story – such as a new product launch – they do it on their own terms, in their own time. If you’ve noticed, many competitors have a tendency to release progress reports or announcements about upcoming products whenever Apple reveals a new product. This gives the perception that the competition is always playing catch-up, even if the reality is that their products are going to superior in one way or another.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO YOUR COMPETITION, BUT DON’T LET EVERY ONE OF THEIR MOVES FORCE YOUR HAND: If you find that you’re in a position where you’re always countering your competition’s moves, it may be an indicator that you need to find a different USP for your product or service, or at least a different plotline that will keep your consumers engaged. Have confidence in your own unique story, and tell it your way. It will give your brand a sense of authenticity and something for people to identify with.
THEY KNOW THEIR AUDIENCE
This is really a summary of the previous points, but Apple knows what their consumers want: cool new products, innovative design, unexpected announcements, products that are positioned as being top-tier, and on. Through the years Apple has delivered on all accounts numerous times for their fans, and are loved for it.
INVEST THE REQUISITE TIME AND EFFORT TO INTIMATELY KNOW YOUR CONSUMERS: I know you know this, but I’ll outline a few thoughts anyway. If you truly know your consumers, you’ll know how to keep them engaged, how to talk to and with them, how to continually add value for them, how your brand can play an active and ongoing role in their lives, and generally how to experience and provide mutual benefit from the relationships you develop with your consumers.
Do you think Apple delivered the same level of storytelling in their latest keynote presentation as they have historically?
How does storytelling play a role in your social media or content marketing?
Do you have any storytelling techniques that you’d like to share?
It would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Photo Credit: nextgenupdate.com (Photoshopped)