I’ve noticed a bit of a phenomenon lately with LinkedIn B2B content. I’m calling it “LinkedIn Stories,” because the people who use this style tell a story about themselves, their business, and so on. They’re very much unlike the more-used “Stories” in platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, though. In my opinion, that’s why they’re effective on LinkedIn.
Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat use stories, which basically means they let users upload and share photo or video collections that can be strung together and viewed/played by anyone who uses them. Think of them as like an auto-playing slideshow, but with video, audio, and graphics.
I’ve seen these Stories used by all kinds of people, including those who utilize them for social selling. You may have started seeing them in your LinkedIn timeline, too. It seems like this started sometime in the last quarter of 2017 and have really picked up steam in the new year.
The way people use them for LinkedIn B2B content, though, is much different. They’re effective because they communicate a professional story well; at the same time, these stories give a more personal side of the writer that they may normally not see in other LinkedIn posts. This, I think, is key in telling a truly effective story.
Telling Stories via LinkedIn B2B Content
LinkedIn storytellers actually flip the “Stories” feature at other sites on its head. They’re very basic. In fact, most of the time they’re only text-based. Here’s a good example of a LinkedIn Story:
It’s the equivalent of someone telling a story to a group of people gathered around a campfire. Very simple, and as you can see from the engagement numbers at the bottom, very effective. Just like people who engage with a storyteller around a campfire (or party, or networking event… you get the picture).
I really like LinkedIn stories, because those people doing it are “telling” tales, not “showing” them like they do with Instagram, etc., Stories. I don’t have a problem with the flashier Stories; there’s just something that’s more human and genuine when reading a simple story told in text format.
From my highly informal and skewed research of this new phenomenon – skewed because I only see stories from my network of connections – here’s what I’ve been seeing so far that I think works well.
Highly Personal (Yet Professional) Stories
In the LinkedIn Stories I’ve seen, they’ve been written to tell a story that the writer has experienced in their professional lives.
While I have seen a personal story or two, the professional ones have resonated most. Your mileage may vary on that, of course. But most people go to LinkedIn for business content, not personal content.
At the same time, the most effective stories I’ve seen have been personal in nature, but “personal” in the way the story affected the writer. It’s hard to describe why; I’ll just say that you can tell that the experience they described touched them at a deep level. That type of content resonates with people, so if you can find that fine line in your writing, do it.
Helpful, Educational LinkedIn B2B Content
By communicating their stories, those who use this format for LinkedIn B2B content are also educating others based on their own experiences. In my training sessions, I’ve been purposely weaving in more mini-stories on how other people use our platform, processes, and education in their own businesses for prospect calling and B2B social selling. Everyone stops to listen to a story! Stories actually activate something in our brain that causes us to pay closer attention. (Next time you notice your colleagues drifting off in a meeting while you’re talking, shift gears and tell a story – they will snap right back into attention!)
In essence, my stories then become the training. This same type of success in learnings can be replicated on LinkedIn.
The Future of Stories on LinkedIn
I started wondering if LinkedIn itself should implement a Stories-type feature, like Instagram or Snapchat. I landed at a big “no,” though, because LinkedIn users are already telling their own stories in text… and doing so very effectively. There is no need to diminish its effectiveness with a newer, flashier way to do what they are already doing!
That being said, I don’t think the informal LinkedIn “stories” format would disappear if they implemented a multimedia feature. It’d be interesting to see what would happen if LinkedIn decided to roll it out, though.
So go out and tell your story on LinkedIn today and connect with your network in a whole new way. And then email me to let me know how your audience engaged with it – I want to hear your stories!