How to: Digital Storytelling for Social Media Success

The talk that I attended facilitated by Christopher Wick of SMM International was a mixture of presentation and Q&A that discussed how we can all increase our digital storytelling methods for better social media success. However, from the talk, I felt that he was mostly talking about social media use to sell rather than attracting.

What are people currently doing on social media?
– taking lots of pictures and showing it off
– informing people of what they are doing

What do people currently think the purpose of social media is?
– connecting with an audience
– a medium to share information about their lives

Social Media as a whole is quick changing and sees a very rapid growth on a daily basis. Digital storytelling is using online media effectively to communicate a story by taking their audience on a journey rather than just informing them about the news. Something that is usually overlooked is how industries think too much of the process and content and not about the viewer/reader.
The digital storytelling process/guidelines based on the presentation:

1. Come up with an idea, write a proposal

  • What do you want your user to do?
  • Why do you want to do it? What is the purpose?
  • Who is your audience?
  • Eg: Nike women ad “Inner Thoughts” brings their audience (women) on a journey with their story, not once showed their shoes or clothes in focus, but with an action at the end of video (posting their online link). 

    2. Coming up with a great script

  • The story and journey should have a turning point, a “hero’s effect”
  • Simple, effective words because attention span of an average 7 seconds online.
  • Don’t mention so much as showing them things, showing them they want to offer
  • Don’t just make a statement

3. Put it all together

  • When creating, have the end goal in mind
  • What do you want to happen when people see your piece online?
  • Connecting with people their mission – call to action (but don’t just state DONATE NOW, give them a purpose to do so).

4. Feedback and Reflect

  • The great thing about social media is that we can EDIT even after posting (trial and error until it is good and ready) but don’t wait to perfected to post. Feedback is good to be better.
  • Testing and measuring through online analytics (eg: Facebook, Twitter, Buffer etc) which helps assist us as a company to see patterns, trends and demographics
  • Measuring brands and audience through clicks (bitly, urls, clicks)
  • Putting links at the end of your message can intrigue audience to go visit site. This helps see if showing the link actually does or doesn’t direct audience to website. (Eg: Nike ad -> visit us at -> analytics to see if people actually go after seeing ad)
  • Great way to create a meaningful community through facebook, twitter and instagram – don’t make it boring, don’t just inform, tell a story, make interesting content (eg: vs. <– specific to people’s interests


Final Paper – General Recommendations

Hi class! I will be out of town today, but did draft up a final report that was sent to Ryan for review. Below is the copy. Please let me know if you all have any suggestions.


Social media is an evolving tool that is continuously changing the way society interacts and views the world. From politics to entertainment, there is no topic that is off limits for conversation among the masses especially in a community of college students. Students are constantly on the go between classes, work and extracurricular activities that social media and its app can easily become the primary source of news. With this precedent in place, it can be quite challenging for traditional media (radio, television and newspapers) and others outlets successfully target an active mind.

Based on the findings from our experimental social media channels, it is noted that engaging college-aged students is not an easy task. The interest of many does not necessarily blend perfectly, however, that does not mean that a cohesive page with quality content cannot be achieved. In fact, it is an effort that can be accomplished with extensive social media research and a deep understanding of the audience. Below is a brief overview of the best practices that can be implemented in local outlets gearing their material to students.

As previously stated, it is essential to understand the basics of the outlet. This can be achieved by asking the fundamental five W’s (who, what, when, where and why) and one H (how). This may read as trivial, but knowing the purpose of your message will better translate to the audience through postings. The planning stage can take as long as needed and often times go through a various of edits before being solidified for a beginning standpoint. Knowing the demographics and a general viewpoint of the audience will make it easier to narrow down the relevant platforms.

For clarity purposes, the audience will remain as college-aged students. As an outlet, it is essential to understand that each person brings their own unique perspective to the social media environment. With this notion in mind, it will open up an avenue to realize that all young women and men are not equally tech savvy and/or up to date with the latest trends. As a social media strategist, it is imperative to know a few simple guidelines such as the difference between use and access. For starters, it should be understood that all students will not use social media for pure academic purpose and development. At times, technology is a simple outlet for staying socially connected and for fun times. Furthermore, if a student is behind on or lacks the common knowledge to navigate social media, it may be due to socioeconomic status and race. Having a background on how certain factors play into interaction will serve as a starting point of creating a sound channel.

Social media marketing aspects and effectiveness suggest creating content that is focused more on the quality and not quantity. The idea behind it is to report buzzworthy, newsworthy events that do not overwhelm the audience. Through this, the goal would be to open up an online conversation on the given topic that keeps individuals engaged. Listening to the tone of the community by observing how members interact with one another as well as general etiquette will establish long-term relationships built on trust. This can potentially generate two-way conversations with followers to talk about their interests. Having open communication can bring more involvement on the end of the channel by being able to respond promptly to messages, questions, comments and utilize proper terminology such as hashtags. As a the brand continues to develop, be sure to monitor other social channels and competitors while bearing this question in mind: “What is the desired outcome?”

In regards to popular platform, there are listed bullet points to review:



  • Celebrate great things happening
    • Sports, arts, cultural events
    • Post blog articles, news items and announcements
      • Awards, achievements, honors
    • Share educational memes
  • Post 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.


  • Use a hashtag for your school
  • Engaging GIFs, videos and photos
  • Post 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


  • Best place to post engaging images to entice alumni, current students and prospective
  • Show events such as sporting events, Quad day, school history, etc.


  • Use it as a platform to help connect students and alumni
  • Post blog articles, news items and announcements
    • Awards, achievements, honors
  • Follow local businesses, campus outlets (radio, tv, newspaper)


  • Be consistent and available
  • Quality content


Early results of survey

Based on 2,759 tweets rated by 185 respondents (an average of 15 tweets rated by each respondent):


4.14 Infant born in UI dorm dies, police are investigating
3.61 University researchers take step forward in HIV research
3.50 California = $15 minimum wage
3.50 Armed man shot at Capitol
3.48 Pills, abortion…Forced birth control allows ISIS to keep sex slaves available.
3.45 Man begs officer not to shoot him seconds before he is shot
3.44 NC Gov sued over law banning transgenders from using bathroom of their choice
3.38 “N. Korea’s sentencing of Otto Warmbier to 15 yrs’ hard labor for a college-style prank is outrageous and shocking,”
3.33 Waves in Lake Erie make for surreal photos
3.30 Trump campaign manager charged with battery
1.76 Wednesday = best day because season 2 of Empire returns tonight
1.87 #ILLINI What are people doing in such a beautiful day? #GetOutside and walk your #dog!
1.91 @ESanders_10 wants Uncle Rico as his starting QB and breaks down other options
1.94 Chance the Rapper to Throw Out First Pitch at White Sox Home Opener
1.96 Yeezus with the trinity.
1.98 Somebody needs to tell Aaron Gordon the dunk contest is over.
2.00 Shoulder injury leaves legend from performing ceremonial opening to Masters
2.02 Today is #InternationalWomensDay! Let us know which inspiring women you’ve been celebrating by tweeting at @TheNoisOfficial
2.05 “Gotta make it sexy.” What did #Hillary Clinton say about?
2.11 Academic Senate moves towards environment sustainability, agrees to divest from coal

Lit review outline

Social media effectiveness is influenced by these important aspects:

  • Content quality, not quantity

o   Do not overwhelm audience with too many posts

o   Keeps audience more engaged

  •      Building trust and long-term relationships

o   Have 2 way conversations with followers

o   Talk about what your audience is interested in

  •      Involvement

o   Respond promptly to messages, questions, comments

  •      Use what your social media platform is best designed for
  • Hashtags, condensed tweets, images


One study asked 1,443 Twitter users to rank 43,738 tweets on whether they were worthy of reading. 36% of the tweets were worth reading, 25% were worth reading and 39% were neutral. Their findings found that the tweets most worthy of reading were: clear, didn’t overuse hashtags, and did not retweet conversations.


Percent of tweets worth reading when they have the following qualities:

  • Funny, exciting: 36%
  • Self-promotion: 36%
  • Questions to followers: 35%
  • Information or news: 33%
  • Opinions: 30%
  • Catching up: 27%
  • Presence: 20%


Another study measured the amount of engagement, replies and retweets of tweets based on what times they were posted, what days, and other factors.

They found:

  • Weekends are best for tweets
  • 7 AM to 8 PM is best for Twitter
  • 8 PM to 7 AM is best for Facebook
  • Tweet 4 times a day or less
  • Add links
  • Include two or less hashtags
  • Use images
  • Engagement on twitter is 17% higher on weekends
  • Ask followers to retweet
  • Use less than 100 characters


Measuring effectiveness of social media marketing

1. structural analysis
– uses parameters such as the number of followers, number of retweets and number of mentions to score influence of tweet

2. Content analysis
– why and how do people retweet
– use of URLs and hashtags affects the number of retweets
– users prefer sharing information and random thoughts to status updates

3. sentiment analysis
– tweets classified into predominantly positive, negative and neutral tweets
– tweets with negative sentiments are more likely to be retweeted

o   Be aware that many types of monitoring software won’t always accurately measure success. Do not rely entirely on one analytics option.


Blanchard, O. (2011). Social media ROI. Indianapolis, IN: QUE

Pradiptarini, Charity. “Social Media marketing: measuring its effectiveness and identifying the target market.” UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research XIV (2011)



To answer these questions, a class of 16 students in a Digital Media research class created, The ‘Nois, an experimental social media accounts on the three most popular social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Our target audience is all UIUC students. We wrote specific tweets to target 6 specific personas on campus that were decided on by the class. These personas include #EnjoyNois, #ActiveNois, #DiscussNois, #IdentityNois, #NowNois, #ConnectNois, and were used to target students with specific interests while simultaneously reaching the entire campus. Social media posts were specifically and strategically written for each persona and were targeted using the hashtags above.

After posting daily for about two months, we considered which posts received the most attention and analyzed which attributes these tweets had. To analyze which attributes draw attention to a post, we decided to create a survey that asked a representative sample to rate tweets. To select the appropriate tweets to put in the survey, we first established 10 qualities of tweets that may trigger people’s attention.

These qualities are:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Originality
  3. Engaging
  4. Conversational
  5. Humorous
  6. Personal Utility
  7. Talk Factor
  8. Emotion
  9. Active Visual
  10. Simplify Complex Issues


We selected 100 tweets from The ‘Nois as well as other social media brands to be assessed on their ability to attract public attention. To confirm the intercoder reliability, we had 15 coders scor these tweets on a scale of 1-5 for each of the 10 qualities. The intercoder reliability was confirmed using a test of standard deviation of the scores. Then an online survey that asks a representative sample consisting of 750 students of the UIUC campus to rate 20 tweets, randomly selected from the pool of 100 tweets, based on their likelihood to receive attention was sent out and collected on April 19th. (Each survey varied in their composition of tweets.) This data from these tweets will be analyzed in relation to the scores received in the 10 qualitative categories, to draw conclusions on what qualities are most important in drawing attention in social media.




Selected Tweets

These are the selected tweets.

No tweet had a standard deviation over 1.8 in any category.


High Immediacy : 4.2

Low Immediacy: 1.4


High Originality: 4.1

Low Originality: 1.3


Very Engaging: 4.4

Not Engaging: 1.4


Very Conversational: 4.3

Not Conversational: 1.4


High Humor: 4.3

Low Humor: 1


High Personal Utility: 4.3

Low Personal Utility: 1.4


High Talk Factor: 4.5

Low Talk Factor: 1.4


High Emotion: 4.4

Low Emotion: 1.4


High Visual Engagement: 4.3

Low Visual Engagement: 1.4


High Clarification: 4.5

Low Clarification: 1.3


Please review and rate these Tweets before 2/14 class


We have selected 100 tweets from our one page, “The ‘NOIS”, besides tweets from other outlets. Please feel free to suggest three more tweets per group, as we may need to replace some tweets after rating them.

You can access the excel sheet through the following link

We would like for each one of you to rate those tweets according to the following instructions.

Based on the 10 qualities that we have agreed on in our last class,we will be using a scale from 1 to 5, with five being “strong” to rate the presence of each quality per Tweet,

Grades (5-4) should be used only once in every tweet, and grades (1-3) should not be used for more than three qualities.

If you want to give a high grade to any of the qualities mentioned in the rating sheet, ask your self the following questions,and which one of those qualities had the most influence on you?


– Are there any time indicators in the tweet (now, today…)

– Would this tweet be still useful if not published in the right time?

Unexpected, original

– Does it have the ”wow effect’? Did it make stop and wonder how is this possible?

Engaging with questions and commands
– Asks about your opinion?
-Invites to click on a link?

– addresses you in a simple style?

– Did it make laugh without containing any offensive messages or stereotypes?

Personal utility or proximity
– Is it related to the U of I? to a specific specialty (engineering, law, media…)
– Could it have any direct impact on your day? Does it inform you about something you need to know (weather changes, graduation information…)?

Talk Factor
– Is it trending on social media?
– Does it add a perspective to the topic?

Human face
– Does it evoke emotions?
– Does it tell a story?

Active visuals
– Does it contain significant pictures, Gifs or videos?

Simplify complex issues
– Does it present information about science, economy, health or any other serious topic in a simple way?


Please let Blaize, Khaoula, Colleen, or Henry if you have any questions.

Instagram Account

The Instagram account now exists. So feel free to take pictures/ videos and  tag people, places, or other things to get people engaging with us.

Account: thenoisoffical

Password: thenois2016

The account does not yet follow anyone, so if there are people/ businesses that you think are important to follow, feel free to do so

Buffer Overview

Video Link:


  1. Go to
  2. Login in with general information
    1. Email:
    2. Password: thenois2016
  3. Accounts listed on the left hand side
    1. Twitter (main account selected)
    2. Facebook
  4. Click “Content” tab
    1. Click on “What do you want to share?” section
    2. Tab opens up with both accounts selected in top right hand corner
    3. Copy link
      1. Will automatically make the link shorter in the format of
      2. Prior to that, please be sure to drop your link in the bitly account and copy it into Buffer
    4. After the link is posted, suggested images related to the link will appear.
      1. If not, then click on the Add Images/Videos in the bottom left hand corner of the box
    5. Type in your tweet
      1. Watch for the suggested count to make sure you are in the margins of the tweet for Twitter. On Facebook, the text is unlimited.
    6. Once the message is complete, click the arrow next to the blue “Add to Queue” tab.
      1. Three options will appear: Share Next, Share Now and Schedule Post
        1. Most of our posts will fall under “Schedule Post” and a calendar as well as time will appear.
      2. The tweet will appear below and the “What do you want to share?” section will appear open again
    7. The “Analytics” tab is utilized to review how many retweets, likes, mentions, clicks or potential views that the tweet will or has generated
    8. The “Schedule” tab allows you to create a unique calendar and overall view of upcoming tweets
    9. Happy posting guys!

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me for any help!

To do list from March 1 class

Things to know:
– Sign into class bitly account. Log in information is posted on the class Facebook group and on the class website. Always shorten URLs using bitly. This is important for tracking The Nois’ reach.

– Hashtags: When posting on your persona please use the format #EnjoyNois, #NowNois, etc. The persona category should always be listed first

– When using bitly on Facebook, Copy bitly URL into the post and then when you are ready to post, delete the bitly URL text. This will just leave a picture of the story to be clicked on and looks more professional

-Try to use pictures and video as much as possible when tweeting and posting

Tasks to be completed this week:
-Post a detailed report of what you did for your persona before class meets each week. List the actual tweets that you made. A report from the week of February 23 should be posted.
– Brea will provide log in information and instructions for using Buffer to schedule tweets and Facebook posts
 TBD: Distribute flyers. Print outs will be announced. 
– Members of each persona should sign up for times on the provided schedule. Nois will bump up scheduled stories if there is breaking news. Please do not leave an empty slot. If you are unable to make a specific time, discuss with your persona team members.
-Contact the various outlets we listed and ask them to advertise The Nois. Explain the purpose of the class and the page when you are soliciting the outlets. The list is needed so class can sign up and know who they need to contact.
– Blaize will make individual logos for images posted on each persona

Buffer Account

Hi everyone!

I created the Buffer account for tweets and FB posts to be scheduled. The site is as following:

The login information is the general email and password.

  • Email:
  • Password: thenois2016

I will be posting more on how to navigate the site later this week. If you have any questions, just let me know!


Bitly Account

I’ve made us an account that we can use to track our links in one place. The login information is the same as the Twitter account. Please use this account when you shorten your URLs for Twitter/Facebook posts.


Password: thenois2016


A couple of very basic ideas for flyers. They will be more appealing once I have the logo without a white background and once we know what our web addresses are.

UIUC’s newest social media for relevant news

sports flyer

Ideas for implementing promotions

-Finalize flyers (one main flyer with tagline and a couple targeted flyers with tagline and description of persona pages- sports, politics, breaking news, etc.)

-Post flyers in popular locations around campus (lecture halls, residence halls, ARC, CRCE, quad, etc.)

-Designate professors to email about making a brief class announcement for classes in Lincoln Hall Theater, Foellinger Auditorium, others?

Identity Update

Hey everyone!

I won’t be in class today because I am recovering from flu symptoms, but I wanted to be sure to update you all. The email for the “identity” category is set up and attached are screenshots of the social media that have been created as well.

NOIS Editors: I apologize for the delay, but will be sending you all an email of tweets by the end of tonight.

I will be sure to check the sites for updates! See you all next week.

 Identity - FB Identity - Twitter Identity - IG

Sign up here!

Hey everyone,

If you haven’t signed up for a team yet, please do so. There are three remaining people that need to sign up for a team.  Please choose either connect or now.

We will be sending you an email with your team to discuss scheduling. The same email will be what you will be sending all tweets to.  Please send at least one tweet a day, if possible.