Storify: A Beginner’s Guide
Every article you read on the future of social media talks about how storytelling is the reason social media works well and is the key to its success. This is sometimes hard to do with only 140 characters, or a small image. That’s where curation comes into play. While there are many ways to curate social media, one product has quickly become the favorite of digital newsrooms and savvy brands alike: Storify
Storify is a “scrapbook” that allows you to knit a cohesive story from a series of social media sources, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, YouTube, and more. This helps you paint a complete picture and really draw out a story you’d like to tell. In our blog post on Twitter essays we discussed how you can use Storify to house Twitter essays but there are many more applications for brands.
How Storify Works
When you create your first Storify, you can look up various sources of your own, or from others in the search box. You can drag and drop these pieces into the story you’d like to tell, adding an introduction and explanatory interstitial text. This helps you focus and craft your story easily, or you can explain why you’re presenting updates in a specific order. You can add images and videos to Storify to illustrate points, or provide sources at the end of the story for citations. You’re telling a story using digital artifacts instead of recreating it from fiction or simply reporting on what you saw.
How to Get Started with Storify
You can easily sign up for a free account on the Storify home page (storify.com) and get started right away. You might want to do an “internal” Storify first to get the hang of it. You could report on a company event or a personal story about your company helping out at the local food bank. Ask your company to use a specific hashtag for the event so you can gather your updates more easily.
In Storify, search for that hashtag, and import the updates that you’d like to use to tell your story. You can move them around by hand, or use a button to sort them all in ascending or descending order by time stamp.
Add a title (be as descriptive as possible, because some people will stumble upon your Storify) and a description. Consider adding interstitial text to explain what happened in a more story-like fashion.
Add at least one photo that can be used as the header photo to visually capture what your story is about.
Once you’ve finished adding the important parts, you can publish your story. Storify has a built-in option to “Publicize” your story by @ mentioning all the contributors in a series of tweets with links back to the story. This is a nice, seamless way to notify the participants, but there may be times when you wouldn’t want to do that (for instance, if you were negatively referencing a particular tweet, you might not want that person to know you did so).
Good Uses of Storify
Newsrooms do great work rounding up important or funny tweets around news stories, but consider some of the ways your brand could use Storyfy:
- Look up mentions of the biggest pain points for users of products like yours. Use these verbatim as examples for why your unique service proposition solves this issue. When presented in an article format, your point of view will be more persuasive.
- Highlight your brand’s values. If you partner with a charity, make sure you tell that story using Storify to open a window into your cause.
- House transcripts of Twitter chats, or begin an FAQ section by taking your most-asked brand questions directly from Twitter and answering them in-line in the Storify.
- Show off your brand behind the scenes. Have your employees put together short updates, Instagrams, Vines, etc. on a specific topic and assemble those together for a special thank you or greeting.
What Not to Do
Clarity and brevity are the keys to success on Storify. Keep your stories short and well-edited, and resist the urge to over-explain what happened.
It’s also a good idea to use citations to longer-form sources if you are reporting on a story or you are expressing a controversial point of view. Numbers and citations help.
Storify is emerging as a killer application for newsrooms and brands. Whether your brand sells soap or is a registered charity, you can leverage the easy-to-use platform to tell great stories, express opinions, answer consumer need, or just show off your brand values. Searching and a deft editing hand are all you need.