Technology is the biggest story of the 21st century. It’s embedded so much into our lives that its narratives sometimes feel too familiar to us. We see the stories so often that we’re no longer swayed by them, but roll our eyes and quickly click that “skip” button. So, where can technology go from here when it comes to storytelling on social media?
The content you see from the biggest software companies give the false impression that everyone in the world is at the same technological stage. That is not the truth, though. The use of the same technology can be as diverse as the communities that use it. It is these cultural differences that constitute the storytelling gap technology has yet to fill.
The following tips come from my own personal experience of working with tech companies, but also from best practices when it comes to local content and storytelling, whether on social media or elsewhere.
1. Admit not everyone is at the same technological moment in time
Technology does not work the same for everyone around the world. There are countries like South Korea and Japan that are ahead of the game, countries like the US, China and Australia that are slowly catching up to them, countries like France and India on the next step, and so on and so forth.
Furthermore, different countries are in need of different uses of technology. For example, in Europe, most of the public’s interactions with their governments is still done offline.
Find one thing that makes the markets you are in different and create content around it. It doesn’t always need to be specific content that mentions the current situation in a particular country (as that situation might change after your content goes live), but it can be content inspired by it. Take this article by SAP about online government customer experience as an example. Like I said above, offline government transactions are currently coming under scrutiny in a lot of countries in Europe, and this article addresses this situation without explicitly pointing its finger at it.
2. Put your company’s values into local perspective
Creating content around your company values is a great way to show why people should affiliate themselves with your brand. However, some of your values might mean different things to different countries. For example, “inclusion” sounds like it would be the same everywhere, but it is not. For some places, equality between the sexes is the biggest issue, but multicultural countries might put more emphasis on including certain ethnic groups and in other places, the first thing people think about when they mention inclusion is ensuring everyone in the LGBTQ+ community has the same rights as those outside of it.
Knowing what matters most and how you can aid each country you are in can help you make fans, not just customers.
Your local teams can be of great help with this. Your Corporate Responsibility (CR) team, if you have one, or your Human Resources team if you don’t, should also be involved. Get a list of all the charity or CR activities you’ll have during the year and ensure they appear somewhere on your social media pages – the lighter networks like Facebook and Instagram are preferable for this, but Twitter is also great for events.
3. Talk about ethics
Ethics should be a very important part of any technology company’s content calendar. This is because, unfortunately, the industry has a reputation of men in business suits making cut-throat deals to advance their own products or services. A very famous example of this is happening right now – LinkedIn has recently brought a lot of criticism upon itself by agreeing to censor content in order to operate in China (you can read more about it here).
Another ethical concern can be the use of customers’ data. In Germany, users are extremely protective of their data, so educating them with content about your approach to data privacy can encourage them to fill in your registration forms.
So, where can tech companies go from here with their storytelling on social media? On a trip around the world! There is a gap of local content that is not easy to fill, but which can do wonders for getting international fans. Show your local customers that you understand them and that you want to help their community. The greatest way of doing this is to get your own local teams in on the plan.
I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to how to approach storytelling on social media in the technology sector. For more in-depth information, read my free, full-length guide here. The guide covers the following ten tips:
- admit not everyone is at the same technological moment in time
- create local customer stories
- don’t just be catchy, be informative as well
- focus on generally known issues your software can fix
- admit your flaws
- put your company’s values into local perspective
- talk about ethics
- go around the world when taking images
- create all-inclusive guidelines
- include all your marketing teams
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