Better Storytelling on Social Media

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Pew Research Center found that 72% of U.S. adults currently use social media. When they started tracking social media in 2005, only 5% did.

With recent reports of a shift into a new internet age, companies are going to see an even greater emphasis on connecting with their audience through social media. If they truly want to get the most from these platforms, companies must reimagine how they tell their stories.

Lyanne Alfaro, Nasdaq's Supervising Producer, and Social Media Content Director puts it this way: "Diversifying your toolkit and ways that you communicate with people, I think is one of the unexpected opportunities that social media presents."

At Managing Editor Live 2021, Lyanne discussed Nasdaq's approach to social media strategy and prioritizing its business goals to succeed in the social media space, as well as best practices for social media and what she thinks the future of social media will look like.

Nasdaq's Approach to Social Media

Lyanne says that, until two years ago, Nasdaq had a significantly different approach to social media. Kelsey Murray, Nasdaq's Global Head of Social Media, had experience building out a full-fledged program. She helped get the company to stop viewing social media platforms as a single vertical.

Lyanne says no longer is the approach: "Here are the posts that we're going to do today, and tomorrow we're going to do the exact same schedule, or Tuesdays and Thursdays we'll have some schedule, Wednesdays and Fridays we'll have the same.” It requires listening and collecting data, not a set-it-and-forget-it attitude.

Quite simply, social media platforms are now too important to be treated as anything less than a priority. Lyanne recognizes that social media today directly impacts a business's ability to reach its goals and requires ”collecting all of the priorities of all the business units, bringing them into the fold, laying out the calendar, and then operating on that like it's our Holy Bible."

Business Priorities in Social Media

As we all know, it’s easy to get lost in social media. It turns out this can happen to companies as well. "I think that in social media, it's really easy to get caught up in the wind of new trends, especially when you see something that looks fun, that everyone is doing online," Lyanne says, "and the tendency can be, especially from people on the outside looking in, to say, 'Oh, well, so-and-so is doing that, you should go do that too.' And that can be really dangerous."

Nasdaq understood they had to ensure that the overall business priorities were integrated with social media. This is essential for developing strategies to map out all the stakeholders. After all, simply being on social media isn’t an accomplishment. Posts without purpose accomplish nothing.

Having a great strategy and guidelines can ensure that everyone understands the goals and directions. "It also helps you to establish your boundaries so that you can focus on something and you ultimately have a better product," notes Lyanne.

Lyanne offers an example of how careful thought and planning can have a real impact through social media. A year and a half ago, Nasdaq decided to connect with their stakeholders during Black History Month to develop a series of events uplifting the Black community. They gathered various thought leaders in tech and businesses from the Black community, then used social media to bring forth a people-first event.

Social Media Best Practices

In business, as in so many sectors, it’s easy to assume bigger is better. That isn’t always the case with companies and social media. Brands may struggle to gain traction with their social media strategies because the company is so large it’s difficult to find a focused approach. Regardless of size, it’s important to identify those main goals. "If you don't have a north star, it's difficult to build a strategy," says Lyanne.

Another best practice is making sure that your images and videos are cut specifically for each platform where they will be used. (Lyanne is highly knowledgeable about this, working heavily with multimedia assets for social media.) You should also recognize that while something might be great for one platform, it’s not needed on another. "Not all texts, not all announcements are meant for every platform," she says. Particularly if you are in a tight bandwidth or have a low headcount, it's crucial to pick a goal and area of focus that will give you the biggest payout as you navigate the best strategy to step up your social media.

Similarly, businesses should be certain that their content is appropriate for specific platforms from a technical standpoint. For instance, be careful to check that your photos are correctly sized for a particular platform.

Social Media Beyond

All social media platforms have an infancy. In its first years, YouTube was filled with bloggers carrying around cameras and talking about all sorts of random things and generally making quirky content. As the years passed, however, the content became monetized, which has led to some higher quality offerings and an overall wealth of content.

Now it's about audio. Will something equivalent to YouTube emerge?. Multiple platforms are out there already, such as Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces, with Facebook launching its Live Audio Rooms as well.

Who will come out on top? Lyanne thinks when it comes to this advancement in the social media space, it's still anyone's game.. "We don't really have a definitive platform that's really been the catchall,” Lyanne says, noting it's “interesting to think about how that might take place.”

Watch Lyanne’s full session here.

Arnelle Pierre-Louis is the content marketing writer at Rep Cap. She has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of New Haven with certifications in content strategy and SEO. Along with her joy of producing engaging content, she loves to read, write fiction, work on her fitness and geek out to anything Disney and Marvel.

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Better Storytelling on Social Media

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