This week’s guest post in from Mike Farrell. Mike is a community manager who works in Likeable Local’s NYC office. He is an avid reader, writer, and listener of hip-hop. Normally averse to referring to himself in the 3rd person, he thinks it is probably best for the purposes of a blog bio. Connect with Mike on Twitter: @mikefarrelldude.
Below is an adapted version of a blog post that originally appeared on the Likeable Local blog.
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 are enjoying the product.
Your friend would give you some background about their purchase decision and then tell you about the product before recommending that you buy your own. Now imagine that your friend is not a friend, but a company trying to sell you that product. It is easy to see how you would be more likely to consider a purchase if the call-to-action is placed somewhere in a story that you feel compelled to be a part of.
So, you want to get out there and tell your brand’s story. First, let’s go over a few simple, but effective tips to make your story stand out.
1. Consider your current brand positioning: Unless you are starting a brand new company, there is already going to be a preexisting view of your brand. Before you try to get your story out there, make sure you understand what people think of your brand and why.
This is not to say that your brand’s identity must stay the same forever. Just as people change and develop over time, your brand’s personality and voice may be adapted. Just be sure of where you are starting and where you are heading.
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, proceed.
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, it required a lot of time and money to get your story out there. Social media has greatly equalized the ability of brands to get their message out to millions of consumers.
However, this doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to put your story out in front of millions of people. Even better, use social media efficiently to reach the correct 1000 or even 100 people through practices such as retargeting. Know what demographics will resonate with your brand’s narrative the most and connect with them.
5. Make sure your story is shareable: Hard to claim that one of these points is more important than the others, but this one is particularly vital. Put yourself in 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?
6. Involve your customers in your story: An easy, but effective way to increase the shareability (actually a word!) of your story is to talk less about yourself and more about your customers. Show your future fans how your brand has positively impacted the stories of your current fans. 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 trite phrase before and rolled your eyes. What I will say is that video on social platforms is proven to get great engagement. Additionally, nothing can show off the personality of your brand like a short, goofy, behind the scenes clip.
8. Choose the correct tools: You likely have customers eager to hear your story on every social platform. However, this doesn’t mean you need to engage 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 it 4 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 will truly connect with.