04 Aug FOR THE LOVE OF STORYTELLING
WE ARE ALL STORYTELLERS AND HAVE BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME.
ONCE UPON A TIME :
Storytelling has always been a popular way for us to communicate messages and information as human beings. From day one in our lives we have been used to hearing ‘Once Upon A Time’ as the fundamental opening to the story that followed.
Storytelling is a powerful way to evoke emotion, entertain, share value, form human connection and develop relationships. Whether this is through reading a book or listening to/watching a story digitally, storytelling has an impressive way of connecting us with our viewers and readers.
STORYTELLING FOR BUSINESS :
The opportunity for us to tell our stories as businesses is bigger than it has ever been. Traditional methods of expressing ourselves still exist (you are reading this blog right?!) but, the digital opportunity is immense, powerful and provides us with many avenues to tell our story in a very meaningful and dynamic way.
LOVE THE WAY PEOPLE THINK AND CONSUME DIFFERENTLY :
People (and therefore potential customers) want more than ever to interact with businesses on their own terms. Innovations and developments from mobile phones give people more control and a much broader set of choices when it comes to consuming content. A business’s interactions with its customers cannot be just driven by their goals alone. They must be designed to fit consumers ever-changing, on-demand needs.
People are busy, time poor and want to be able to access information instantly in a way which engages them, excites them and provides them with value. When there are so many options to viewing billions of pieces of content online, it has become more important to create connection that is more personalised and meaningful to them.
There are a number of reasons that Social Media stories are so impactful and ever increasing in their popularity. They are used to share daily creativity, behind-the-scenes information, real-time updates and they provide us with a way to share a very human element to our businesses. The fact that they encourage interaction on a more personalised basis is a great thing for businesses and brands.
Stories show transparency. They give an ‘inside view’ of your business. They allow you to be creative both visually and through video. These things all add to increasing more understanding, more trust, more business awareness and over time, increased loyalty.
WHERE TO TELL YOUR STORY?
This is a key question that businesses raise when it comes to storytelling. Instagram? Snapchat? Facebook Stories?
You will see many posts that talk about platform demographics, age groups and the style of content that should be used for a particular platform i.e Facebook is an older user group than Snapchat and therefore content should be more polished … etc etc. Whilst of course, we believe it is important to consider this for your service or product, we believe in simplicity initially, when choosing how and where to create.
So where do you choose to start telling your story? We would suggest this, as the old saying goes; ‘The grass is greener where you water it’. Where you begin to create content and therefore a developing community, it will be more effective for you if you are consistent with it and make effort with those who chose to engage with your stories.
A scattergun approach of trying to tell stories everywhere and creating consistency nowhere will only end up in half decent storytelling that lacks your full creativity and attention.
WHERE TO BEGIN? PICK A PLATFORM, TEST, TRIAL, REPEAT, GROW
Do you have an Instagram account that already generates great engagement and communication with your visual posts? If the answer is yes, fantastic, give Instagram stories a try. Instagram’s story feature adds an impressive dimension to what is already a highly engaging and visual platform. The fact the you can share the behind-the-scenes of your perfectly polished Instagram photos in story format is an amazing thing.
Is your Facebook account a hive of activity and somewhere where your current audience already communicates with you regularly? Yes? Give Facebook Stories a try. You will only add a further dimension to what you are already doing by enhancing peoples’ experiences with you through Facebook Stories.
Are you using Snapchat and creating good relationships through your content? If so, continue to tell your stories here. Snapchat requires more effort in discoverability, however with some cross-promotion to other Social Media channels it can become a hive of activity and a great place to begin conversations and relationships.
If you are not sure where to begin and you are at the beginning of your storytelling journey, the best advice we can give you is to pick a platform, or two if you have the time and TRY IT! Over the first few months you will start to see what is effective and working for you. By testing one or two platforms, it will also give you a comparison of where your content is well received and the type of content that people enjoy interacting with. Remember, it is not something that will just grow overnight and like anything, effort and consistency will see your community and audience grow as they become more familiar with you.
WHAT TO SHARE?
We shall preface this by saying that every business is different. There is no prescriptive way to tell a story. If it were to be prescriptive, it would lose it’s authenticity, going completely against the whole concept of storytelling. We can however give you a few ideas!
Inspirational content: Share an experience or a lesson you have learned as a business. We are all human beings and as human beings we crave to know that we are not the only ones who don’t get everything perfect! If you have learned a hard lesson, share it! If you have a positive learning, tell your audience what that is. Experience shared helps us to develop relationships.
Daily Life: There is nothing that says ‘get to know us better’ than inviting people in to share the daily life and the things people wouldn’t usually see behind the scenes of your business. Lunch break? Cake run? Product examples? Remember, each individual person viewing your story is watching it in their own time, alone in most cases. This content can really help to create an intimacy and a feeling of involvement with your business.
Ask Questions: You can encourage involvement with your stories by asking people to get involved. Pose a question or a series of questions. Ask them for feedback on a subject or a particular view that you have. Another popular way to use questions is to hold an ‘Ask Me Anything’ style story, which allows the people who engage with you to ask you a question. This is great for ‘ice breaking’ and helps to increase familiarity with you.
Share An Experience: It doesn’t have to always be business related. What is more compelling and human than seeing that ‘The Office Manager’ or ‘The Sales Team’ have a life other than that inside of the office! Watching a beautiful sunset? Share it! Listening to a band live? Share it. People like to know that they are dealing with human beings and not always talking business.
Do a takeover: If you have a team working with you, encouraging takeovers of your story is an innovative way to provide variety and share the perspective of many people within your business. Allow staff members to take over the account on different days to share something. If you are not comfortable in giving complete free reign over the content they share, perhaps suggest a few topics and ask them if they can share their perspectives around those topics!
In order to stand out and make more meaningful and personalised relationships in today’s heavily saturated, content-filled digital world, we need to share ourselves and our businesses in a more authentic and real-time way. Storytelling allows us to do this, every single day.
If you have any questions about storytelling please feel free to pop us a comment here or share your experience of storytelling with us.
You have something to share, a story to tell and the world is ready to hear it … make your ‘once upon a time’ right now and embrace what is one of the most dynamic and powerful ways of connection through digital.
We look forward to hearing your experiences!