As social media continues to evolve at a rapid-fire pace, we see recurring recommendations to make your business stand out by telling its brand story. Everyone loves a great story, and that mindset doesn’t change for what people read on social media. Professor Marcus Collins at University of Michigan says, “As storytelling animals, we humans will always gravitate toward stories.”
So, how do you turn your brand into a living story?
1. Be authentic and sincere when telling your story.
Make sure your copy, videos, posts, and images are all sincere and true to who you really are. What you write, post and video should look and feel like your brand.
Tell your audience how the business started, what its values are, and where you are going. You can easily do this through your status updates, blogs, photos, photo albums, and videos you add to your social media channels.
- For a small, family-owned business, make sure you convey the different personalities of your family members and how they individually and collectively contribute to your company’s culture and brand identity.
- If you just opened a unique business concept, like an indoor golf training facility, focus on the images of players who will determine what your brand will become.
- If you’re a dental practice owner in a small town, convey your team’s focus on family and getting involved. For dentists or doctors who are funny and if humor is part of the brand, make sure you show that patient relationship through videos and photos of you and your team/patients.
- If you own a retirement community, make sure to convey through your content the lifestyle you create for seniors. Show activities with residents enjoying life, smiling and being active.
2. Create a sense of urgency about your brand story through “ephemeral” (or disappearing) content, like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and SnapChat.
Through channels like these, you can display what your business is doing right now. And, Live videos really convey your true brand and culture because they are, in many cases, unscripted and imperfect.
Here are a few simple live video ideas:
- 25 Rapid Questions
- 30 Second Tips (How to Floss, How to Use a Product, etc.)
- Address one or more frequently asked questions
3. Get personal when telling your brand story.
Be sure to avoid generic posts on social media. Every post should be somehow branded with your colors, logo, or similar. They should also be written in your voice. Your audience should be able to recognize your business and brand through each post.
Include posts to include real people who work in your office. According to Social Media Today, photos that contain faces receive 38% more likes than those without people included. While an artistic photo of your product may spark some interest, a photo of your team at work or even using the product will receive more interaction. Displaying pictures of people will also inspire trust in your audience because then they know you are real and have nothing to hide.
4. Evoke customer emotions through your story elements.
We are compelled to side with businesses that are run by people just like us. Those who provide meaningful products and services are at the top of our list. According to the Visual Storytelling Institute, brands that don’t worry about attribution as much as evoking feelings are talked about more than those with planned communications that customers sense as overtly ‘designed.’
The most successful brands are able to “pull” emotions from us. Nike evokes the desire to be better, whereas Progressive Insurance pulls happiness through humor.
For small businesses, determine the emotions you want to convey and evoke from your customers, clients or patients. Is it confidence in your expertise, laughter from your team’s personality, loyalty because your business has changed someone’s life?
Remember Sprout Social’s advice that social media is all about the communities that you can create online. Customers are becoming more focused on building relationships with their favorite brands. Because of this, social media can help strengthen your bonds with your followers and develop loyalty. Don’t post just to do it. Hand-craft posts that will spark customer interest, allow them to relate and inspire them to interact with or share with their like-minded friends.
With these techniques, you will be able to build a storyline with your audience that includes the beginning, middle, and future of your business or practice. This will show them why you are unique and why they should choose you over someone else.