“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.” - Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Not long ago, brand storytelling began to be considered all the rage in digital marketing.
New marketing channels seem to emerge every day. With that, brands have to make strategic choices about when, where, and how to present themselves to customers. At the same time, they have to compete with all the other brands out there jockeying for the same audience.
Storytelling is the one stone that promises to kill both those birds.
While that's still the case, for the most part, savvy marketers are beginning to see beyond brand storytelling to the potential of customer storytelling.
Giving your Customers a Story to Tell
Brand storytelling, when done poorly, can become myopic: “Hey. Look over here! Look at how awesome our business is! Come buy something!”
Good luck with that.
We know you want to tell your story. Who better to communicate about your brand than you? But, here’s the deal: customers are 92% more likely to trust their peers than brands themselves. That means you have to talk less and encourage your customers to talk more.
This begins, of course, with giving your customers something to talk about.
Everybody’s got a story to tell. Your customers are no exception. The challenge for any business owner is to hear what customers are saying and craft a product, service, or experience that makes their story all the better for having purchased it.
If your product is boring, then don’t expect your customers to say much about it. Worse, if it doesn’t live up to is promises, you can expect your customers to say a lot about it—you just won’t appreciate what they have to say.
Equipping Your Customers to Tell Your Story
Assuming you’ve given your customers a compelling story to tell, now you have to give them both the incentive and the tools to get out there and spread the word.
Here are two simple ways to do just that:
Advocacy Program – Customer advocacy is a simple idea: identify the behaviours you want customers to engage in on your behalf and give them incentives to do so. When it comes to storytelling, this can be as simple as offering a $20 gift card in exchange for a video review posted on YouTube. Or, you can get a little more elaborate with a multi-tiered program.
Feature User Generated Content – In the online community space, user-generated content can be your best friend. Why not put it to use by featuring your customers’ content? In spotlighting your fans, you’ll not only use your platform in an organic way to boost promotion, but you’ll give your customers and incentive to keep talking and generating new content.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve got a story to tell. You wouldn’t have a business or an online community if you didn’t. If you want your brand to survive, then your story must be told. Who better to do that than your loyal, satisfied customers and fans.
What are you doing to equip your customers to tell your story? Let us know below.