Do you belong to a sales-focused profession? Frustrated by your inability to attract leads on social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter?
If so, this article is for you.
But first, let us do a quick (and sobering) reality check.
Selling is a B*tch
And it’s getting harder and harder. Especially in this day and age of overwhelming offline (and online) clutter.
The old days of creating a fancy brochure and pushing it out to your potential customers are over!
Nobody wants to receive an unsolicited flyer.
Or be thrust with a leaflet in their faces. Or open a mailbox stuffed with sales letters. Or respond to a cheap-looking piece of paper clipped to their windscreens.
It doesn’t get any better with social technology.
Self-promotional emails. Self-aggrandizing Facebook posts. Pushy LinkedIn messages to meet up.
Junk mail isn’t called junk mail for nothing. Plus, you’re up against thousands of your competitors, all trying to out-shout, out-boast, and out-roast each other.
Enter Social Storytelling
The answer lies in Social Storytelling, which can be defined as follows:
Social Storytelling: The Art and Science of Telling Short Stories on Social Media.
Now telling stories doesn’t mean lying.
It doesn’t mean cooking up false client testimonies. Or describing fake outcomes. Or unveiling fictitious customers.
Rather, social storytelling involves narrating real life incidents on social media in a way that grips your audience’s attention, and gives them a useful takeaway.
This can be extremely powerful given the ability of stories to forge an instant emotional connection between you and your prospect.
Stories are also more memorable than plain facts, figures and product features alone.
Let us look at 3 ways to leverage on the power of social storytelling.
#1 Tap Your Turnaround Tale
A good way to tap on storytelling for any social channel–Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Twitter–narrating your own story helps to close the distance between yourself and your prospect.
If you specialise in retirement planning, you can share the steps your family and loved ones took to visibly improve your collective financial situation.
Similarly, a real estate specialist can talk about her own experience in savvy property investment, and share how she multiplied her initially meager income to become a multi-millionaire.
To do this tastefully, you need to balance flaunting the fruits of your fortune with educating your community. Offer sound advice and give value to those following you. Drop useful hints and tips on how they can benefit from the same steps you took to get to where you are today.
#2 Share Your Customer Stories
Customer success stories are a goldmine for sales professionals. Here’s why:
- They help to build trust in your personal brand
- They demonstrate what your product or solution can do
- They reduce the barriers to buying inherent in all prospects
- They increase the likelihood of purchase
But here’s a catch: most of your customers may not agree to being interviewed. Hence, you may need to find the right time and place to pop the question. (Geez, it sounds like a marriage proposal!)
Alternatively, you could anonymize some of the details of your customer. While this would be less effective than hearing it direct from your customer’s mouth, it could be easier to obtain.
#3 Curate Helpful Content and Insights
Read something useful that your customers could benefit from? Tweet it to your followers.
Came across a handy budgeting template? WhatsApp it to your prospects.
Stumbled upon some breaking news that may affect your trade? Share a Facebook update.
The thing is this: you want to position yourself as the “go-to” person for your customer–not merely an agent for your company’s products or services.
Doing so on a regular basis not only improves your public profile. It also helps to earn you trust, respect and likability.
Putting Social Storytelling into Practice
Now that you’ve learned 3 compelling ways to create and curate compelling storytelling content on social media, here’s what you need to do:
- Flesh out your own brand story. Are there pivotal episodes in your own entrepreneurial or professional journey which you can narrate on social media?
- Contact your list of customers and see if any of them would be willing to be interviewed. If necessary, provide a small incentive like a personalised gift.
- Be a voracious reader. Be in the know of what’s happening in your trade.
- Consider the best content formats to share your social stories. Videos are truly killing it on virtually all platforms, but they do take some time to create. Articles are good for more in-depth customer stories or case studies, but they require strong penmanship.
Will you be incorporating social storytelling in your personal and professional social channels? Which is your favourite storytelling technique and why?