When it comes to creating content, the fear of a blank page or blinking cursor can strike fear into the heart of many a small business owner.
I should know. I’m one myself. I’m also a social media coach to small business owners.
“A social media WHAT?” you may ask.
I work closely with businesses who want to keep their social media in-house but need tips, tricks, inspiration and ideas to help shape their content and make it come to life. I discover the stories that need to be told and encourage them to be shared online. I remove the fear barriers and clear the path for them to create social media that’s considered, engaging and – most importantly – authentic.
That all sounds incredibly serious and important (which it is) but it doesn’t have to be time consuming and boring.
Social media is sociable! It’s an instant connection between you and your audience. A way to gauge sentiment, receive feedback and turn followers into raving fans.
The best way to do this? Storytelling.
Use every platform you have: Facebook, Instagram, email (especially email) to communicate and connect with your audience. Talk to them. Listen to them. It’s a two-way conversation and one that should be free flowing.
It’s something I’m constantly empowering my clients to do. Get out there and share your story!
I know, I know. It can feel daunting and you might not even know where to start, so here are my top five ways to share your brand story with your audience.
Identify your key themes
If your business were a magazine, what categories would we find in the index? And what articles would you find within the pages of each section?
Take a look at your business and identify your key themes by asking:
- what does my business do?
- what problems do we solve?
- who are our customers?
- what are we passionate about?
- what do we believe in?
Once you’ve established your key themes, go deeper and under each topic, brainstorm a list of frequently asked questions, your knowledge, experience and expertise, feedback and testimonials, and products/services that you offer. Bingo! You’ve just created a whole bunch of content ideas for social media posts and emails.
Write (down) your brand story
You’ve been living and breathing your business for so long, it’s easy to forget that new people are constantly discovering you… and have no idea how you started. Or how you got here. Or where you’re headed next.
Heck, even some (many) of your longtime followers don’t know everything there is to know about you or your business!
Share that story with them in bite sized pieces. One paragraph, one page, one chapter at a time. Start from the beginning and continue to the present. Then share your hopes, plans and dreams for the future.
Never stop telling your brand story. It’s the essence of your business.
Share your inspiration
They say the greatest inventions and businesses identify a gap in the market and create a product or service to solve a problem and fill that gap.
And every business has a story to tell on this topic.
When talking about your products or services, rather than going in for the cold, hard sell, why not introduce it and talk about the WHY.
Why did you create it in the first place? Who is it designed to help? What problem does it solve? How will it improve someone’s life? Where can they get hold of it?
By telling the story behind the product or service, you’re actually selling without selling.
What’s that old saying? “Sell the dream, not the product.” Yep. It’s the best way to make a sale.
Go behind the scenes
There’s no polite way to say this, so I’m just going to go ahead and say it…
People are nosy!
We’re voyeuristic by nature. We love to know what goes on behind the scenes. A peek behind the curtain thrills us no end.
So, let people into your world. Show (and tell) what happens day to day. What goes into making your product? How do you uniquely offer the services that you do? What does a day in the life of you – the business owner – look like?
By sharing more than the shiny end product, by sharing the hard slog, the highs, the lows, the wins, the lessons, you continue to build that connection and strengthen that relationship with your audience.
Which leads me to my next and final tip…
Humanise your brand
People don’t buy from businesses, people buy from people.
And in order to form that slow burn, long lasting love affair that creates raving fans, you’ve got to show up for them.
Introduce yourself (and your team, if you have one). Explain what it is you do in the business, how long you’ve been doing it for, and what you’re really, really good at. Share fun, random facts.
People want to know WHO they’re buying from. Who they’re supporting. Who they’re telling all their friends about. Who they’re believing in and championing. Whose dreams they are helping come true.
When you step forward, your audience will also step forward to meet you.
And that, my friends, is magic.
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