Storytelling motivates, inspires, bonds us to one another, yet why are so few small businesses and organizations using it? Why do we keep shoveling out the same old product-driven drivel that our audience tunes out in seconds?
We do it out of fear. We’re scared to try something new. We have our campaigns on auto-pilot. All is right with the world…except people aren’t buying it anymore.
Let go of the fear. Dump it now.
Get past your fear and onto telling your story
It’s not difficult to tell a story — a story about you, a story about someone you’ve helped with your product or service, a story about inspiration but you have to shed the fear and look into the unknown.
You need to do this because big business is using stories to appear small. They are competing with you in your niche as the neighborhood _____. If you don’t tell your story, a multi-million dollar conglomerate will and they’ll do it well.
Here’s how to get over the fear:
This is frightening because you worry about alienating your audience. However, in a time where people want to do business with people they know (if only virtually), you are deciding between the possibility of masses of unengaged customers or limiting your customer base by being yourself but thus having them more intimately connected to you.
Which would you rather have people making an unconscious decision to buy based on whim or knowing that they are buying you? Unless you are a horribly offensive person (and, still, there is a market for that), be yourself.
Don’t be afraid of the customers you won’t get, be afraid of the customers you will (if you hide your personality).
Give it time
I know the number crunchers are going to hate this one but you can’t build relationships over night. Even the most adept networker, needs repeated exposure to maintain an impression. Don’t set a time limit of anything less than six months and don’t set that clock ticking unless you are out there making connections.
Hiring a great writer to throw stuff on your blog won’t have any effect on your connections unless you’re socializing the posts, having conversations, asking for feedback, commenting on others, etc.
We’re not 5. It takes us some time to make friends.
Come out of the ivory tower
Don’t limit your connections to people who come to you. Get out there. Join LinkedIn groups, share posts on Pinterest, ask questions on Facebook, comment on people’s blogs (and ask them to elaborate on their opinions). Do this often so they start recognizing and remembering you.
Remember, there’s an awful lot of racket out there. You have to show up more than once a week to make any kind of difference.
When you are helping others, it’s no longer about you. You can cast away your fear because you’re doing it for the betterment of others.
If you have a product or you represent a group that is of service to others, think about how promoting yourself through storytelling is getting your message of help out there. It’s your duty to do this and it’s no longer about you.
Share your knowledge
Similar to helping, give of your wisdom. Give of your experience. When you are sharing these things, it’s not about dirty marketing (the term I like to use for old school interruption marketing). We all have pasts we can draw from. We are a composite of these events.
Sharing your story is about sharing your knowledge.
Most of the great teachers of the world used parables to make their points. They did this because stories are memorable. You repeat them to others.
Don’t be motivated by fear. Use these suggestions to reframe how you look at storytelling. The point is to reach your audience in an effective way. Storytelling will help you do that.