Take a moment and remember the last time you were reading a blog, an article or a Facebook post and the story being shared was just so moving, uplifting or funny that you felt you needed to do something about it… Do you remember? That was the time you just had to share that post with your friends – or make a donation – or reach out to the author and let them know how their story made you feel. This is because a great story has the power to move you, not only emotionally but also physically by compelling you to take action.
This is the power of storytelling. We’ve known for centuries how important stories are and how we respond to them on a primal level. Stories help us understand the world around us, they gives us the opportunity to visit places we’ve never been and to experience things we never have. They allow us to connect and build relationships with others because by sharing our stories, we realise we’re not alone.
If you are hoping to successfully navigate social platforms for your services or your brand, you need to keep at least one thing in mind: In the land of social media, story is king.
To be clear – storytelling in online marketing however is not about being fake or fictional – in fact, the opposite is true. If you want to connect with your audience and customers you will need to drill down to the heart of your story, to its emotional core and find the true WHY. The ‘why’ of your brand is a big part of shaping a story of integrity that your followers will connect with and respond to.
I recently joined a Facebook business support group, The Authentic Boss Network and many of the other members have shared incredible stories about how and why they started out as entrepreneurs. Some personal journeys are so inspiring that it would bring tears to your eyes to hear it and I know I have often felt so MOVED to support these incredible people after listening to their story.
This doesn’t mean that if you are a big corporate brand that storytelling is not for you. In fact, it may be even more important. It’s so easy to lose touch with your audience as you grow. Eventually, the plucky start-ups may come to be seen as faceless and heartless corporate behemoths. People are natural storytellers, you see – and every story needs a villain, don’t make it easy for others to cast you in this role! Big business can most certainly benefit from focusing on the personal stories and details of their operation or the communities they do business in.
This isn’t all touchy-feely and good vibes either, we’re talking about value to your financial bottom line. Watch this TEDTalk by David JP Phillips to get a sense of how storytelling can add actual monetary value…
Remember that although people love stories, we DESPISE advertising – just think of the ‘Skip’ button on Youtube.
If you don’t want people to skip your message or ignore your business it is critical that you realise the important of storytelling.
The only place your brand exists is as a story in someone else’s mind. Make it a good one.