by Brittany McSorley
The world today is confusing, dramatic, and approaching dystopian-nightmare territory with unsettling speed. Because nothing makes sense and it’s a challenge not to be yelling pretty much always, social media is an increasingly important outlet. Facebook and company are not simply information delivery systems, but also platforms the weary masses rely upon for meaningful connection. We’ve come a long way from Facebook’s humble origins… as a method for ranking unsuspecting women attending Harvard purely by appearance, cooked up in a den of patriarchal frenzy otherwise known as the American college dorm room. (People don’t forget, Zuckerberg. People. Don’t. Forget.)
Anyway, social media is very personal. But for business owners, it can be challenging to toe the line between the personal and professional in their online marketing efforts. If your followers want to know what’s new with your business, they often have to navigate a sea of unsolicited baby photos and/or information about one of the 900 Democrats running in 2020. (I’d like to take this moment to announce that I, too, will be seeking the nomination. My slogan? “Enough. I’ll handle it.” See you in Iowa!)
Because there’s so much content to sift through, it’s crucial for social media marketers to incorporate personalized storytelling. According to Social Media Today, “If you want to get someone’s attention…you need to personalize the information. You need to create an emotional connection between the information you want to get across and the person you’re telling the information to.”
Makes sense, right? People instinctively connect more deeply to emotional, narrative content. That’s why I always preface stories with 40 to 75 minutes of detailed exposition.
Here’s how to put storytelling to work in your social media marketing, to increase engagement and built your brand trust:
Offer an Inside Look
An easy way to connect on social is to give your followers more access to your process. Break up your usual content with some behind-the-scenes stuff, showcasing the side of your business customers may be curious about but typically don’t get to see.
For example, here at KDC, Jennifer will post about her home office, projects she’s working on, clients she’s visiting out in the real world, or down time with her husband, John. (Disclaimer: I’ve never met John, so I can’t be 100% sure he exists. He probably does.) This reminds clients that behind all the hard work KDC does for their business is a real person and her possibly imaginary spouse.
We also incorporate storytelling with our blogging, specifically with my “snarketing” series that Jennifer, in an email earlier today, diplomatically called “personal and opinionated” rather than “mouthy and overwhelming.” How-to marketing content is, more often than not, boring and poorly written. Why not mix things up with some completely justified Mark Zuckerberg burns, you know?
(“Snarketing,” by the way, is short for “snarky marketing.” These are dark days. We must save time however we can.)
Reiterate Core Values
Social media storytelling is also a great way to reinforce to your followers what you value as a business and thus what they can expect from you. For small businesses on Cape Cod, it’s beneficial to emphasize the importance of community, supporting local endeavors, and protecting the natural beauty of the Cape. Use storytelling to remind your customers how long you’ve been in business, what your home means to you, and how you give back both personally and professionally. This kind of authenticity and sincerity is invaluable when it comes to marketing.
Be Yourself (But Not Too Much)
The inherent risk in personalizing your marketing content is, of course, over-personalizing it. You want your followers to get a sense of who you are, but anything you share should still harken back to your professional identity. So in your storytelling posts, avoid things like swearing, expressing overly political views, swearing while expressing overly political views, getting so riled up expressing those views that you call your aunt and demand an explanation of her problematic beliefs, etc. Keep things simple, grounded, and relatable; you’ll build brand trust, and your followers will feel more comfortable engaging with your business.
Tell your story on social, and your business will benefit. #Brittany2020