Isn’t it amazing that in a world of 7.6 billion people there is no-one else with the same mix of genetics, life experience and other characteristics? There is no-one else like you and its part of what makes our world truly fascinating.
I’m always interested when I meet people to find out about what they do, but more than anything, why they do it? What’s the set of circumstances that makes one person who leaves school at 16 have a happy life as a bricklayer and the other Richard Branson? People’s stories are often great insight into what makes them tick. After all, B2B sales and marketing is still very much person to person marketing.
Storytelling can support your brand as well. Having worked for large corporates (although not in branding roles), I’d always assumed that brand was something that an agency ‘did’ and the business used/lived with/ endured. Since I’ve become a small business owner I’ve realised how much more brand is. It’s not what you do for your customers but rather how you do it and that all comes back round to the people behind the brand and their stories.
Humans love stories – we’re brought up on them, learn through them and make decisions all through our lives based upon them. It’s our innate human nature to want to understand and storytelling help us remember key messages and form our understanding.
As a small business owner, you shouldn’t ever be afraid of telling your story – it’s such a fundamental part of why you choose to do what you do and the way you do it. Social media fits well into this as part of your marketing plan. People buy from people and knowing who you do business with often leads to the longer term solid business relationships we all aspire to.
Some people feel that sharing their own story makes them vulnerable and perceived as less professional – there’s barely a week that goes by without a celebrity ‘causing a social media storm’. You could say that social media has lifted the lid and allowed us to share that celebrity’s story. There’s a reason that @therealDonaldTrump has over 48 million followers on Twitter!
If you’re not sharing your story, but want to start, social media is a great place. As a strategy, Gary Vaynerchuck recommends that you ‘document, don’t create’ – using social media to show what you’re doing in your day to day business rather than calculatedly creating content. This works well with Twitter, LinkedIn and well with platforms with ‘stories’ such as Instagram, Facebook and Facebook Live. Don’t be afraid to try Facebook Live as well. Unlike video, which in the B2B space you might expect to be professionally created as a reflection of your business, a Live session is sharing a moment with people who follow you (and of course, that Live can then be repurposed into a subtitled video, social media posts and a blog).
Other tools to explore include infographics, using multiple photos with posts and longer, narrative captions for posts. Test which works for your business, and get ready to tell your story.
Clare Williams runs Loxley Business Support, a consultancy offering social media strategy and business development support, helping businesses reach and talk to their customers and prospects in the digital spaces they are already hanging out in.