How businesses sell themselves comes down to reputation and when it comes to communicating messages to the outside world, the most effective way can be through storytelling. I want to walk you through a few of the ways you can tell your business story to improve your reputation – and your sales.
The way your customers recognise your brand is important. How you are viewed can impact on both your reputation and your sales, so it is important that you get it right. The way we reach out to customers has moved on so much so that, now, just having a set of articulated brand values isn’t enough.
In an age where there are so many new technologies and channels that you could, and should, be using to communicate with your customers, and where your content can theoretically go viral in less than an hour, a clear, consistent and credible story about your company, and its message, are a vital tool.
A “narrative” approach to selling your business may sound radical but, really, it just cuts to the heart of what branding actually is. This approach will help you to present a consistent message across all the different channels you use.
Today’s customers expect to be offered more and more ways to engage with the businesses whose products and services they use. They expect to be able to find useful and current information about you online and on social media channels and they expect to be able to recognise you by the consistency of your style.
Here are three top ways to help with your business story:
1. Video and animation
When it comes to communicating your messages to the outside world, video is still relatively under-used as a marketing tool, but a video or animation can be very powerful. YouTube is visited by more than 800M unique users each month and it goes without saying that is a big potential audience. Plus, posts with the word ‘video’ in them are shared 30% more on Facebook than posts that do not*.
Make sure to use your video or animation on your company website and link it to your YouTube page, where you can further encourage your audience to browse other videos you have online. *HubSpot, The Science of Facebook, 2011
Infographic design uses a mixture of illustration, icons and written stats to turn a lot of information into something visual an audience can immediately get to grips with. Infographics are also great for sharing across a variety of social media channels.
3. Social media
A coordinated social media campaign can help you to create a buzz around a new product or service. It also helps you present yourself to customers in a more rounded ‘human’ way.
Of the brands that made it into the Social Brands 100 for 2013, 100% are active on Facebook, 99% on Twitter and 94% on YouTube. If your story isn’t being told on social media you’re probably missing out.
Don’t be daunted by the vast amount of different channels – just choose two or three, define how you are going to use them, and keep measuring to see how it’s working.
The storytelling approach can be a tricky one for those in the B2B sphere, mainly because these businesses are often afraid of saying the wrong thing and offending someone. But don’t be tempted to resort to business jargon. It may feel safer to hide behind meaningless umbrella words and a heavy use of the passive voice but, unfortunately, it also makes what you’re saying less personal, more difficult to understand, and, therefore, instantly forgettable.
You may feel that it’s easier to tell a personal story than it is to tell a business one but, believe me, it doesn’t have to be. Businesses are made up of people who are just trying to talk to other people who happen to be their customers, after all. They are effectively the same thing, and you can definitely do it – hopefully some of these tips can help you along the way!