How to Harness the Power
of Social Listening for Curating an Effective Visual Storytelling Strategy

How to Harness the Power of Social Listening for Curating an Effective Visual Storytelling Strategy

How to Harness the Power of Social Listening for Curating an Effective Visual Storytelling Strategy 368 217 Shlomi Ron

Watch my video recording on the
Visual Storytelling Today show with David Berkowitz:


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Social listening or the practice of doing research on social media – is squarely positioned under our STORY MAKING phase of our Visual Storytelling Framework:

My Visual Story Framework

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all new businesses with employees don’t make it to the fifth year. When you dig deeper and look at the high-tech sector we see that 70% of all venture-backed startups are failing. And less than 1% have a chance of becoming a unicorn.

CBInsights, who ran this report also analyzed the reasons for this staggering failure rate and found the top reasons are: the No Market Need (42%), Get Outcompeted (19%), Lack of Business Model (17%), and Poor Marketing (14%).

Translation: businesses don’t know how to vet a compelling business story that resonates with their market [highlight to tweet].

Founders are in love with their product, but their product is connected to a nice-to-have problem [highlight to tweet]. Customers don’t really consider the problem their product solves as a major pain.

And this is where the rubber meets the road for the viability of social listening in crafting a meaningful business story. In our visual storytelling workshops, I can’t stress enough the importance of developing a clear picture of your top buyer persona – the hero of your business story.

The process of developing an authentic buyer persona profile requires you to do a comprehensive research. You can run a direct interview with your customer, probe your sales team, and run social listening.

Regardless if you’re in the Business-to-Business or Business-to-Consumer, at the other end there is a human being you’re trying to improve her life with your product. So think about this as a Human-to-Human (H2H) relationship building. 

The communication reality is that in today’s sharing economy, your audience is freely talking about their pains, interests on social media channels. So, if you’re working on a new product launch, listening to your audience, your competitors, top influencers – will give you an authentic picture about the market state your product is about to enter.

From this perspective, social listening goes beyond marketing. Think of it as a real-time focus group [highlight to tweet]. It always available for you to learn from and optimize your business story, product development, reputation management, customer service, public relations, influencer recruitment, and tips for enhancing your investor pitch.

All these use cases represent different types of business stories with a wide range of emotional triggers. In order for these stories to be effective, they need to function like “mirrors” and authentically reflect the must-have problem your customer is facing.

Why? Because once your customers see themselves in your story, your story becomes THEIR STORY. They empathize with your message, trust your intentions and are more inclined to act on your call-to-action [highlight to tweet].

I always recommend testing your business story with a few customers, tweak and then you can move into what we call Story Visualizing phase where you convert your business story (your big Why) into mini visual stories. This could be video explainer, infographics all the way up to AR and VR.

Once you have your visual stories created, you move to our Story Telling phase, where you develop your content marketing strategy that adapts your visual narratives to the buyer persona, the platform culture (e.g., LinkedIn vs. Instagram vs. offline event) and their stage in the buyer’s journey (i.e., Discover, Consider, Purchase, Adopt, and Advocate).

But the listening never stops.

Because once your visual storytelling strategy is in full motion, you want to continue to monitor the impact of your stories on your audience and optimize on two levels: a) your tactical approach and b) your overall business narrative viability, as market conditions, trends, audience tastes are in constant change.

Want to know more?

At the top of this page, you can watch or listen to my session on Visual Storytelling Today show, done on October 31st, 2017. I chatted with David Berkowitz, Chief Strategy at Sysomos about why marketers should start their social listening program to empower their visual storytelling strategy – and you’re going to want to watch or hear this.

What you will learn:

  • Why is social listening vital for crafting a business story?
  • What are the core challenges marketers are facing today when researching their customer segments?
  • How social listening plays out into visual storytelling?
  • 2 examples of successful social listening done right
  • 3 basic social listening tips you can apply to your business today


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Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

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