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As a brand, the expectations on what you bring to a consumer are higher than ever.
People don’t buy brands, they buy stories. And one of the best (and most affordable) ways to bring your story to life is through social media. To celebrate NSW Small Business Month, Jordan Lomax, Founder of The Social Lab, joined us to teach the ins and outs of story-driven content that speaks to your target market to grow your audiences, increase brand awareness and leverage the power of social.
Who are you?
Before you can create story-driven content, you need to be able to answer who you are, and who your brand is.
- You must know who you are, what you do and why you do it to create genuine engagement.
- What is your tone of voice? You’ve got to have a clear understanding of this to know how to tell your story. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to try to be funny, think of the way NSW Health effectively builds trust through their clear messaging. Jordan recommended checking out the Go-To skincare website. Every element of it tells their brand story – from their product messaging and frequently asked questions to the email pop-ups.
Action: If your brand were a celebrity or thought leader, who would they be? Let this guide the way you approach all content writing.
Who is your customer?
Your customer is more than just an age and gender! Think about their location, interests, job title, interests, hobbies, family situation.
- What are their pain points and needs?
- What do they love?
- What can you give them?
- What does success look like to them?
People don’t buy brands, they buy stories. If your story relates to a pain point or need for your audience, they’ll buy in.
Action: Think about how your customer speaks and try to replicate their tone of voice. Be prepared to not appeal to people outside your target market.
Action: Above all, you want your content to say three things:
We relate to you.
We understand you.
We are like you.
Why does it matter? Because it’s what gets your customers to purchase from you. Your story can communicate your values, purpose, beliefs and vision, and drives connection and brand loyalty. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to connect and engage with brands they trust and whose values align with theirs.
Action: Watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, How great leaders inspire action.
Action: Answer these questions for your business: What do you do, how do you do it, and why do you do it? The answers will provide themes for your storytelling.
You’ve got your why, now how do you translate it to social content?
Think about your customers and want they want to know. What expertise can you share?
Good content will:
- Share your story
- Connect with your audience
- Be authentic and engaging
- Be visually appealing (you don’t have to be an expert designer with tools like Canva at your fingertips!)
- Delight your customers
- Educate or teach your audience something
- Solve your audience’s pain point
- Create a community
- Not be a hard sell!
Brand storytelling is not just sharing a long-winded blog post or caption. Brand storytelling is consistently creating content that aligns with your story. There are so many ways you do this across social, including:
- Inspiration or humorous quotes
- Sharing a tip or trick
- Day in the life
- Fun fact
- Behind the scenes
- Asking a question
Action: If your brand was a magazine, what would it publish, and why would people subscribe?
Action: Think of content ideas that will help tell your story, and then pull them into content groups. These are your story-telling themes!
So, where do you house this amazing content?
This question is answered by where your audience is. You don’t have to be on every platform, you just need to pick the ones that make the most sense for your customer (not you!) whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat or LinkedIn.
Regardless of whether you choose to use them, set up accounts with your business name on all of the social platforms (they’re free!) so the name is held for them should you choose to use them down the track. And remember to keep track of the username, email and password you use, there’s nothing worse than being locked out!
Planning is your saviour
Planning is your best friend. Jordan suggested using a content calendar and starting with key dates across the year to build your content out from, noting relevant events for your business.
Make your job easier by batching your content creation to schedule in advance. Consider cross-posting on a few different platforms and using a tool like Plann to map out all your social content in the one place. Create style guides and templates (Canva can work here, too!)
Block out time for community management, allowing you time to continue sharing your brand tone and story through comments and messages.
As you build a community on social, it’s imperative to have a community management plan with guidelines on how you will manage incoming messages and comments. Questions to consider include:
- Will you moderate all comments?
- Will you reply or ‘like’ them all?
- Are you a business or an individual when responding to comments?
- What do you have a voice on? Consider what social, political and cultural themes you will have a voice on, and which you won’t comment on.
- How do you react to negative feedback?
- How do you react to profanity, abuse and vulgarity?
So, get clear on your tone of voice and visual style (and stick to it!) and you’ll find yourself storytelling on social in no time.
NSW Small Business Month is a festival held in October that brings together all levels of government and industry leaders to support the small business community. Subscribe to stay in the loop about upcoming news on the NSW Small Business Month festival in 2021.