I expect that storytelling was invented the same night fire was discovered. We’ve been using stories to convey ideas, entertain and persuade ever since. The reason storytelling is so popular is because it’s the most effective way to communicate. That’s because stories are memorable - a list of product features or benefits are not.
Learning to use stories to market your product or service is one of the most important things you can do. Stories will get your business or your brand noticed and increase sales because stories sell. They help your audience to understand why you’re in business and why they should buy from you and not the other guy. Believe it or not this is the first barrier every marketing message must overcome, the question why.
A good story will engage your web visitor or prospective customer in ways that a features list, or spec sheet simply can’t hope to do. And stories are a great way to reveal your passion for what you have to offer. The reason this is important, is that people generally only buy from people they know, like and trust. Stories allow your prospects to get to know you and your brand. Once they know you, they are more likely to buy from you.
Stories are the backbone of the television and movie business. They are also what makes great advertising great. Here’s a wonderful example of the use of storytelling in advertising. Take a minute to watch this video. You will never see the brand it advertises the same way again. The story will stick with you.
Beyond engagement a well-crafted story demonstrates empathy with your audiences needs and offers a solution to their problems. When people search online or go shopping they are generally looking for a solution to a problem. They need to fix something that’s broken, or replace an old pair of shoes or eat because they are hungry. If you fail to make it clear that you understand their problem your offer will fall flat.
The reason stories are so important when it comes to marketing, especially in social media or online environments is that your prospective customers are not always in a buying frame of mind. They don’t want a hard sell, no one does, but they are willing to be entertained.
Without question, the best storytelling media is video and running a close second are info-graphics. Well-written text is still a very powerful marketing tool but requires more work than video or graphics.
If you’re not in a position to put together a storytelling video production of your own, sharing a relevant but non-competitive YouTube clip is the next best thing. It’s not surprising that video now constitutes more than half of all online traffic and will soon be the single most dominant media online.
Info- graphics are all the rage these days and for good reason. Here’s a link to a great example of a well-designed info-graphic that tells a story from visually.netdna-cdn.com
An info-graphic is artwork that not only tells a story but informs the viewer all in a single glance. Details are presented in a way that allows the viewer to decide how much information they wish to consume.
The fact is, infographics are very similar to a Facebook Timeline.
With a little planning you can put all of Facebook’s Timeline features to work for your business, creating a Timeline layout that is visually appealing and tells your story.
You could start with pictures and a description of the day your business opened. Recent renovations are also a good choice. Additionally, customer testimonials, staff accomplishments and business achievements are all great storytelling opportunities.
To make your Facebook Timeline a real treasure trove of stories, start a story journal to collect story ideas as they occur to you. We all have stories to tell but don’t necessarily remember them until an event or conversation triggers our memory.
By the way, the Facebook Notes app is a great place to deliver stories that are too long for your Timeline.
Additional, you can use your Facebook Tabs as landing pages that lead to stories on your website blog or Facebook Notes.
When you post a story on your Timeline, it’s important to remember that your product or service must be presented as the solution to your prospects’ problem without resorting to the hard sell. The only purpose your Fanpage is to persuade your fans to visit your website or blog where more direct marketing messages can be employed.
Lastly, never try to sell directly on Facebook. People use Facebook largely to stay in touch with friends and family and be entertained or informed. It’s like attending a family BBQ or meeting a friend at the coffee shop. When you’re there you really don’t want to be subjected to a sales pitch.