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Are You Telling the Story of Your Brand with Your Online Marketing?
Are you telling the story of your brand with your online marketing?
You should be, you know.
All this online marketing is great – but it doesn’t always work.
With all its fast-paced excitement it’s easy to get sucked in.
We all know it works because people tell us that it does… but not everyone is using it correctly.
Sometimes, it’s not the way you access social media and marketing, it’s the way you do it that counts.
Too many people get fixated on the phone or laptop and say “It’s not for me; it’s for kids” but that’s simply not true. It’s not even the main thing about it.
I want to tell you a story…
I want to let you know something that I learnt some time ago that’s really benefited my business, my marketing, and in turn other people’s marketing and businesses.
If you have five minutes, would you listen to my story?
If you didn’t already know, only a few years ago I was driving a van around Warwickshire (and the UK) delivering wine.
I was working a day job as a van driver and I delivered the wine to all sorts of places and to all sorts of people.
Both the places and the people were interesting… but I didn’t talk about those in my messages when I joined Twitter… until I realised I needed to.
I was running the Twitter account for this small business and initially I made a real hash of it all.
I started, like most people do, by selling.
I thought; “I sell wine, so I should do that on Twitter”.
Of course I then sat and waited for the sales to come in… But they didn’t.
And then (like many of the businesses I now help) I decided Twitter was a load of shit and a massive waste of my time.
Then one day I got an iPhone and I gave Twitter another go.
Because I was out on the road I got brave and started to share ‘my journey’ and the journey of the wine business, on the road, in Warwick, and at the events.
Do you know what? It worked rather well.
My audience on Twitter quickly grew.
People started to take an interest in my story.
They also, in turn, started to take an interest in the wine.
Of course that then led to more connections, more sales and more awareness… the very thing I’d tried to get by bypassing the important part – the story!
If you’re still reading this blog then it’s very likely that you’re still reading it because it’s a story. We, as humans, need and love stories.
The very sentence “I want to tell you a story” sets your brain off into an entirely different function and gets your attention, but also puts your brain into a learning mode.
If my story is about my brand then you’re learning about my brand and that helps you to remember my brand better. It leads to better retention than telling you the stats, figures and features of my brand would.
You see storytelling and social media are one and the same… or at least they should be. For centuries we’ve learnt by telling and listening to stories.
Back in days of old when we were all wearing animal fur and the internet didn’t exist, this is how we learnt.
Wise men (and women) would tell stories to tribes around a campfire and the people of the tribe would learn. They would then go to other tribes in other villages and tell those stories and they would then become the wise ones.
(We all aspire to be the wise storyteller by the way. That’s why we like to share content and news online so much.)
Fast-forward a few centuries and much has changed. For one, we now don’t have to physically travel to another village and tribe to tell our story; we send a tweet or an email.
But the basic human need and function is still the same.
Wise man. Villager. Share the story. Villager becomes wise man.
When I said, “I want to tell you a story” at the beginning of this blog I did so for one reason only – to engage your limbic brain.
The part of the brain, that despite evolution, technology, and all the training and education you’ve had, is still there and still making decisions for you every day.
We’ve always learnt by telling stories so the brain clicks into listening and learning mode right away when you hear a story begin.
So how can you use this in your online marketing?
Well look at my story. I was driving a van and delivering wine but I shared what happened on that journey and made myself into a sort of character in a play. Soaps are still hugely popular on TV for the same reasons!
I encouraged people to want to follow my story and in turn they learnt what the business had to offer them, without me ever selling it to them.
They read and followed my story. They remembered and they told other people about it. (Wise man. Story. Villager. Wise man.)
Fast forward to the here and now and we’re still telling stories.
We’re rebranding and this business that we created is growing and moving on.
But I’m constantly telling the story, the journey and the progress of the rebrand.
I’m using Twitter and Facebook to tease updates and news about our rebrand progress so much that people are stopping me in the street and asking what the new brand is and when it’s going live!
We’re engaging with our email list constantly and consistently and adding a few updates each week about the launch, the new brand and where we are with it.
We even created a fake April Fool’s rebrand back on April 1st exactly four weeks before our rebrand to launch a month of storytelling and marketing for our rebrand.
Many people not only fell for it but were talking about it on Twitter, Facebook email and in the street and at networking events – there was a story behind the fake rebrand that sucked people in too!
Storytelling works if your story is interesting, engaging, inclusive, exciting, visual, memorable and is easy to understand
What’s your story? And how does it add value to your journey, your audience and your brand?
How can you tell your brand’s story to get more people to share your journey and brand?
How can you take something from your business and make it memorable but worthy of a story?
My advice? Think outside of your box.
People don’t care about you – they care about themselves.
That’s also something we carry with us from the olden days. Ultimately your story must offer value.
- That value could be entertainment.
- That value could be education that they can use to better themselves.
- That value could simply be a compelling thread of updates that they enjoy getting and seeing, and if you get it right they’ll chase you for those updates when you’re late with them, too!
But you must start with why.
As @simonsinek discusses, people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
- Why do you exist?
- Why are you in business?
- Why do you deserve to be noticed?
- What is it you do for other people that they should care about and remember? (I’m not talking features, facts and statistics here.)
Simon Sinek explains it perfectly in the very early and raw TED talk from 2009.
I want you to tell me your story and so does everyone else.
We don’t know what it is yet… but we just love stories.
Tell it well and we’ll tell other about it too.
What’s your story? (tell me in the comments.)
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