The story of social media

An effective web presence is, effectively a good story. It should share all the elements you’d associate from a classically structured narrative.

The Protagonist

Your customer is the protagonist. The hero of the piece. Your protagonist begins the story as a normal person and, throughout the process, is transformed, ultimately ending up profoundly changed by the experience.

The antagonist

You are the antagonist. You present all the impetus for the story to move on. You intervene all the time, making it impossible for the protagonist to remain unmoved. You have a great deal of responsibility, not only because a story can not move on without a protagonist. But because not all stories have a happy ending.

If you are a bad antagonist, your customer’s story arc will be a negative one. They will have bad experiences, make bad choices and will ultimately end up worse off than at the start. We’ve all seen stories like this.

Be a good antagonist. Help your customer to move forward. Help them to make the right choices and the story will have a happy ending.


This is important. It’s a two-way conversation between two or more of the characters. This can be between you and your customer , or between multiple customers. The worst thing you can do is turn your story into a monologue. Always listen and engage with your protagonist.


The theme is the overarching meaning of the piece. Maybe if you’re in customer service, the theme should be Resolving Conflict, or maybe you’re in financial services and your theme is Security and Safety. Make sure you know what yours is because this will inform your tone of voice and the structure of the narrative.

Tone of Voice

Is this a serious story? One which is delivered from a place of authority. That’s OK, the tone of voice would be grown up and considered. But maybe it’s an engaging story and your tone of voice is light and aimed at raising a smile. Get this right and your journey will become much smoother.


Your social media story, like most others, has a 3 act structure:

  • Act IEstablish your characters. Make sure the audience know all about the antagonist and make plenty of room for your protagonist. Once everyone is happy and engaged, it’s time to move on to…
  • Act IIThis is where the action starts. The protagonist and antagonist embark on a relationship whereby the antagonist is, to be blunt, trying to sell something to the protagonist. While the protagonist, to be fair, is trying to avoid this. Remember not to make this negative.
  • Act IIIThe resolution. This is the sale, or the reaching of whatever goal you may have set as the target of your customer relations. The protagonist should be happy and better of as a result of the story.

And remember, this is not the end. There is scope here for any number of spin-off and sequels.

So, what’s your story?


One thought on “The story of social media

  1. Really like the way you have thought about this, it is always great to see the ‘story’ from different viewpoints.

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