Does your brand tell a story via social media? If not, it should.
Stories are a universally understood means of communication and have been around in various forms for millennia. And they’re powerful because they dig down into the emotional part of our psyche. When it comes to convincing people to listen to you or buy your product, emotions are the key that will unlock your audience’s actions.
If you think storytelling should be left to the Hollywood elites and PR experts, think again. You have a product or service to offer, and a fundamental part of marketing is communicating that offer to potential customers, particularly on social media platforms. Using the framework of story is an excellent way to accomplish that goal.
It need not be complicated or unattainable. The trick is knowing how to tell a story that will resonate with your target audience. Below are three tips for crafting a powerful story on social media that will communicate the value of your brand in a meaningful, authentic, relatable way.
Make Your Story About Your Customer
On the surface, this may seem counterintuitive. You’re telling the story of how amazing your product is, right? Not so fast. Sure, your product may be the most jaw-dropping invention your audience has come across in years, but do they care?
Not really—at least, not in the way you might think. In reality, what they care about is how your product will improve their lives.
Will it streamline workplace communication?
Will it solve a pressing physical problem?
Will it equip them to succeed in life?
In his book, Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller explains that when creating a story for your brand, the customer—not you or the company or product—needs to be the hero.
In a good story, the hero always wants or needs something. Enter the customer. Your goal, when conveying information about your brand, is to cast off the cloak of hero and don the cloak of guide. The hero needs a specific thing to solve a specific problem, so your goal is to position your brand as the guide to give them what they need. Gandalf leading Frodo toward Mordor, so to speak.
Miller writes, “If we aren’t answering [customers’] questions, they’ll move on to another brand. If we haven’t identified what our customer wants, what problem we are helping them solve, and what life will look like after they engage our products and services…we can forget about thriving in the marketplace.”
There’s a saying in writing that every character thinks he or she is the hero of the story. Same with people. We all identify as the hero. When communicating to your customers on social media, keep that in mind and rather than turning them off by placing your brand front and center, present them as the hero to whom you have value to offer.
Make Sure Your Story Rings with Authenticity
When it comes to marketing, millennials crave authenticity. In fact, according to a survey by Social Media today, 90% of millennials rank authenticity as an important factor in deciding which brands to support.
Not only that, but brands that try to fake authenticity have a rough go. The survey revealed that content perceived to be inauthentic on social media was enough to cause 30% of millennials (and 20% of consumers overall) to unfollow a brand.
And since millennials are the buyers and decision-makers of the future, brands need to get in tune with what resonates with them.
Leave behind the too-good-to-be-true assurances and unrealistic messaging, and instead focus on being real.
Make Your Story Easy to Understand
Now that you have a customer-centric story filled with authenticity rather than pie-in-the-sky promises, it’s time to get that message out. The key here is making it easy to understand.
Not to you, to your audience.
As marketers, we suffer from the curse of knowledge. We know the details of the products we’re marketing as well as we know our dog’s name. The danger comes in assuming your potential customers do as well.
Miller again: “The narrative coming out of a company…must be clear…. When having to process too much seemingly random information, people begin to ignore the source of that useless information in an effort to conserve calories. In other words, there’s a survival mechanism within our customers’ brain that is designed to tune us out should we ever start confusing them.”
So when writing copy, whether for your website, an email marketing campaign, or social media posts, ask yourself, “Will potential customers understand this?” If not, consider brainstorming ways to distill your message down to its essence. The less mental work you give people to do, the more likely they are to stick around and hear what you have to say.
When branding your company, tell a story about how you can help the customer—the hero—overcome their problem, and do so in a way that’s authentic and clear. With that framework in mind, you’ll be well on your way to building a brand that stands out and attracts your ideal customers.
If you’d like help driving results with your marketing, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love the opportunity work with you.
What are ways you’ve found helpful to tell your brand’s story? Let us know in the comments!
- Miller, Donald. Building a StoryBrand: Clarifying Your Message So Customers Will Listen. HarperCollins Leadership, 2017, pp. 11-12.
- Miller, Donald. Building a StoryBrand: Clarifying Your Message So Customers Will Listen. HarperCollins Leadership, 2017, p. 11.
- Miller, Donald. Building a StoryBrand: Clarifying Your Message So Customers Will Listen. HarperCollins Leadership, 2017, pp. 8-9.