Sometimes social media feels like shouting into the void. Or even when you have an audience who’s responding to what you’re posting, it can feel like a beast that always needs to be fed. Sometimes you need to take a break from the pretty wallpaper photos and try storytelling. If you can tell a story on social media, then you can connect authentically and emotionally with an audience. Sometimes that’s a story about you, sometimes it’s a story about a client, but it’s always a story that people feel they can relate to.
Today’s guest on the Wingnut Social podcast has a story like none other. Susan Wintersteen runs Savvy Interiors in San Diego, California, but perhaps her most amazing work comes from her nonprofit, Savvy Giving by Design. Susan and her team redo spaces for children and families facing medical crises, often kids facing the long road of cancer treatments. Susan has built a community by telling the stories of Savvy Giving by Design’s work. On this episode, she tells Darla and Natalie how she discovered her method of social media storytelling, how she crafts her stories step by step, and how she navigates her clients’ privacy when telling these stories.
About four years ago, Susan was introduced to a friend of a friend whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer. So Susan and her friend raised money to redo the kid’s room to make it a little more comfortable and fun as she underwent a year of chemotherapy. From there, Susan started her nonprofit where they makeover spaces for children facing a medical crisis.
Storytelling became a part of Savvy Giving by Design from the get-go. Susan had built a community on Facebook, they were able to raise $6,000 in three days, and from the jump she kept the community looped into the process. And as the people in the community got to know Susan and her voice, they started to respond to that.
Darla asked Susan how she constructs a story on social media for Savvy Giving by Design, and she takes a really fascinating approach. As she says, every story has a hero and a guide, and she considers herself the guide. And when they start telling a story, they start what she calls “pebbling” before “hitting with a brick.” So that might mean posting that she’s about to go meet with a family, or showing a little bit about what’s coming up for that particular project, and then gradually building from there.
One of the things Susan struggles with is information overload, making sure that her community knows what she’s working on, and that there’s no confusion between stories. So that means she creates specific anecdotes that help people identify with and relate to the individual stories of the kids and families facing a medical crisis. That also impacts the tone of her social media. Rather than writing press releases, Susan is trying to tell stories like she would to her friends, to connect with her audience on an emotional level.
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