Remember how captivating a good story could be when you were a kid? Nothing could beat that "edge of your seat" feeling while you were waiting for your mother or father to reveal the fate of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher. You felt connected to those far-away, imaginary characters because of the power of a good narrative. With age, our connection to those characters might fade, but our appreciation of a good story certainly does not.
To illustrate the importance of properly contextualizing your brand within a narrative, let's say your friend just bought a new product that they happen to be very satisfied with. They likely wouldn't show up at your door and read you a sales script about how much they're enjoying the product - your friend would probably give you some background about their purchase decision, then tell you about the product before recommending that you buy one of your own.
Now imagine that the friend in this scenario is not a friend, but instead it's a company trying to sell you that same product. It's easy to see how you'd be more likely to consider a purchase if the call-to-action were placed somewhere in a story that you feel compelled to be a part of.
Telling your brand's story can be powerful, but first, let's go over a few simple, but effective tips to ensure your story stands out.
1. Consider your brand positioning
Unless you're starting a brand new company, there's already going to be a pre-existing view of your brand. Before you try to get your story out there, make sure you understand what people think of your business and why.
This is not to say that your brand's identity has to stay the same forever - just as people change and develop over time, your brand's personality and voice may be adapted. But you do need to be sure of where you're starting from before you're able to establish where you're headed.
2. Think about the core values of your company
Prior to putting any kind of marketing materials into the world for all to see, consider the basic values of your brand. Does the content of your story match the values and voice your brand is aiming for? If so, you can move ahead.
3. Keep in mind why you are telling your story
Are you telling your story to reinforce your brand's position in the mind of current customers? Are you trying to use your story to capture the attention of prospective customers? The most effective stories will turn your followers into leads - and, eventually, into loyal customers.
4. Know who you are telling your story for
With more traditional marketing efforts, a lot of time and money is required to get your story out there. Social media has greatly equalized the ability for brands to get their message out to millions of consumers.
However, this doesn't mean that you necessarily need to put your story in front of millions of people. Even better, use social media efficiently to reach the correct 1000, or even 100, people through practices like retargeting. Learn what demographics will resonate with your brand's narrative the most and try to connect with them.
5. Make sure your story is shareable
It's difficult to denote any one of these points being more important than the others, but this one deserves particular emphasis. Put yourself into the shoes of your ideal customer. Looking at your story from the outside; do you connect with it on an emotional level? Are you inspired to share the story with your friends? Does the narrative further interest you in the products/services provided by the brand? The better you can answer these, objectively, the more effective your story will be.
6. Involve your customers in your story
An easy, but effective way to increase the shareability of your story is to talk less about yourself and more about your customers. Use your stories to show the future fans of your brand how your business has positively impacted on the lives of your current followers. Sourcing user-generated content is a great way to use your current customers to draw in new ones.
7. Use video
I'm not going to say "a picture is worth a thousand words, so a video must be worth a million". You've likely heard that phrase before and rolled your eyes - but what I will say is that video on social platforms is proven to generate great engagement. Additionally, few things can better demonstrate the human side of your business like a short, behind the scenes clip.
8. Choose the correct tools
You likely have customers who are eager to hear your story on every social platform. However, this doesn't mean you need to engage on every platform at once. Find out where your customers spend most of their time and focus there first. Some platforms are particularly inviting of stories. Take notice of Facebook tools such as "Milestones" and carousel ads that are practically made for creating narratives.
9. Be consistent and authentic
Have you ever listened to a friend tell a story and they change the details four times before it's over? Consumers are already skeptical, don't give them a reason to be even more so. Always be true to your brand and tell your story honestly. Everyone loves honesty.
With these tips in mind, craft your social content into a powerful narrative that your customers can truly connect with.