Human beings enjoy stories. Not only do we enjoy them, but ever since cavemen first started gathering around fires and etching stick figures onto cave walls, we’ve been living and learning through stories.
Listening to a story activates our brains. Words not only affect the language processing part of our brain, as you’d expect, but also the parts connected to taste, smell, and motion.
Human beings are wired to listen to and tell stories. By telling your company's story, you’re adding to the narratives your potential customers tell themselves. The trick is to make your story matter. It needs to get your customer off the couch and excited to buy.
Storytelling can synchronize the brains of the storyteller and the listener. By telling people about your business in an engaging way, you can plant ideas. In other words, you can make them care just as much as you do. And when people care, they buy.
If you want people to buy from you, learn to craft a story.
Here’s how you make storytelling a central part of your business:
Develop a Business Story
The story of your business is important because it gives customers insight into the principles that guide your company. Your customers want to know the people behind the brand. Think about Apple; without Steve Jobs and the mythical story that surrounds him, would it be as popular as it is? Maybe, but there’s no debating that Job’s story is linked to Apple’s.
Before developing the copy for your website, product descriptions, social media updates, and promotional content, hone in on your story. Just like people, every company’s story is unique. Your customers will choose you over a competitor selling a similar product if your story is captivating.
Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
Do a Google search on “marketing strategies for 2014” and almost every article will tell you that you need a strong content marketing strategy. Not only does blogging bring new visitors to your otherwise static website, it’s also a great way to establish authority in your industry. Webinars, eBooks, infographics, and other content pieces are also ways to generate leads and stay relevant.
What many companies fail to realize is that you can’t just create content for the sake of it. You have to tell a story that educates, entertains, or helps the reader in some way. You have to add value to the crowded digital arena. If you have a strong brand story and a clear idea of who your target audience is, this shouldn't be a problem.
If this seems like too big of a change for your company, check out our blog post on becoming a change agent.
Get Creative on Social Media
Social media is about conversation. At its core, it’s about storytelling. Unfortunately, many companies use social platforms to talk exclusively about their business in a salesperson like fashion. Obviously, this approach does not generate conversation.
Gary Vaynerchuk, a popular social media consultant, recommends a “give, give, give…ask” approach to social media in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Instead of constantly asking people to buy your services, visit your website, or otherwise help your company in some way, tell them a story for 75% of your posts. This can be a mixture of helpful links, entertaining photos, and thought provoking updates. Then for the last 25%, promote your services in a way that feels like a natural progression of the story you’ve been consistently telling. At this point, fans and followers of your page will feel connected enough to support your business.
The success of your company isn’t going to rely on a story alone, but it’s definitely a good place to start. The sooner you start telling a business story that your customers care about, the sooner they’ll start investing in your business.
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