Base Your Social Media Strategy on the Storytelling Framework of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Opinion: Your microcontent can add substance and star power

One of the answers to improving your social media results is found in Avengers: Infinity War
LewisTsePuiLung/iStock

Social media is noisy. We all know this. Every single second, there are:

  • 814 images published on Instagram
  • 2,644,941 emails sent
  • 7,844 tweets sent

Worse, did you know that a tweet’s shelf life is five minutes or less before it evaporates from people’s feeds?

This is further compounded by the dismal reality of that post’s reach. According to a report by Social@Oglivy, brands may experience as little as a 2 percent organic reach. Quick math shows that if you’ve got 10,000 followers, a measly 200 of them will see the post as they breeze through their feeds over the course of two hours.

Branded content struggles to hack through this tangled landscape. Some brands take a one-and-done approach, only promoting a piece of content on social media three times or less. Then they bemoan, “Our social is underperforming! It’s not worth it!”

Others leap to the other end of the spectrum, spamming their audiences with a constant barrage of promotional content.

Still others have resigned themselves to throw money at the platforms, embracing ads and the new pay-to-play rules.

The problem with each of these is that everyone’s doing that. Here’s some positive news: There is still tons of brand value to be found on social. Even better, one of the answers to improving your social media results is found in a surprising place: Avengers: Infinity War.

Many brands have capitalized on its high-profile and enormous star power. You can do this by using the ingenious storytelling framework the film used (no spoilers).

A macro story fueled by micro content

The movie crossed the $1 billion mark faster than any other in history. People all over the world love it. And even curmudgeonly critics agree that it has some depth—even for a superhero movie.

Beyond having a cast with more stars than the Andromeda Galaxy, its greatest feat lies in its storytelling. The movie that stitches together many superheroes worthy of their own billion-dollar franchises is a serious accomplishment.

There are roughly 10 Marvel franchises stitched together to move this massive plot forward. But each superhero squad furthers the story via a different angle. Every part unifies the whole. Brands can use this same process to improve social media traction. It’s called “microcontent.”

Microcontent breaks up larger pieces of valuable content into bite-sized pieces. Each smaller piece then acts as a hook to bring your audience back to the main body of your content. Rather than just one infographic, you have 10 pieces of microcontent with calls to action that drive viewers back to the entire piece. Just like each superhero role in the movie, your microcontent can add substance and star power to attract clicks, visits and wallets, too.

Leveraging microcontent for social success

Generally, microcontent is used in the world of user-experience-centric copywriting. But the term is portable for our usage, too. For my recent book, I interviewed John T. Meyer, cofounder of infographic design company Lemonly, which has created visual content for some of the largest global brands. In its work, it has found microcontent to be a fantastic promotional strategy.

The company worked with a large client with offices in San Francisco, Seattle, Manhattan and London. Like so many others, it had an ebook promoting its core business value. But these days, who doesn’t have an ebook? In the marketing world, an ebook is the equivalent of a smartphone. Maybe they were novel 10 years ago, but now, they’re business as usual.

Its freshness came in their method of repurposing the ebook sections into an infographic and microcontent. It featured key visuals from the book and designed the infographic in strategic sections so that it could be divided easily into smaller pieces. Just like a superhero movie with many characters telling a singular story, each “character” of microcontent drove visitors back to the core content.