Your business has a story, and it’s not just what you have written on the “About Us” section of your website.
Your business’ story is the one you tell yourself as you get out of bed in the morning, the reason why you decide to go to work. It’s the one you tell acquaintances when they ask, “So, what do you do?” at a party. It’s the one your employees tell their friends as they sit around a table, sharing a drink or dinner. It’s the one your customers tell when they’re leaving comments on your Facebook or Instagram account or recommending you to a friend.
And the thing about these stories is that your audience is likely to remember them more than they remember the information you post on your website.
In fact, research shows that information included in a story is remembered up to 22 times more than data alone.
Your audience is listening, whether you are the one telling the story or not. Here are a few of the stories your audience wants to hear:
Their Own Story
People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves — morning, noon, and after dinner.
— Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People
It’s easy as a business to focus on telling your own story. It’s the one you know best. But the story of your business is not the most important story.
The most important story is your customer’s story.
What makes your customer excited? What kind of design inspires them? What do they do in their spare time?
How does your customer’s story, or their needs, desires, and wants, fit into your story?
To be able to answer these questions, you need to know your customer well. This involves asking questions, implementing great customer service, and sorting through their feedback across your social media channels.
Being aware of your customer’s story can build trust and loyalty to a brand, and a loyal customer will want to gush about the products or services they’re excited about. 68% of people share something because it helps others know them better by sharing what matters to them.
Customers who share about your business want to because they have seen a piece of themselves in who you are or what you do. And these customer opinions matter: statistics show that 90% of consumers read reviews from others to determine whether or not they will buy a product.
What you say to customers is advertising. What they say to their friends, is the truth. Businesses should be seeking advocates of their brand at all times.”
― Stacey Kehoe, founder of Brandlective Communications
What do people say about your company when you’re not around?
Unfortunately, this is not a story you get to write. You can, however, have an impact on how it is told.
If the image you put out across your communication channels doesn’t match the experience your customers have with your business, there can be a disconnect in trust. If your personal brand doesn’t line up with your business’ brand, that can also pose a problem to customers.
Customers can leave reviews of your business across social media channels. One customer who has a negative experience with your business can leave a large impression. And having a negative reputation can make your business lose customer trust, and consequently, money.
The Story of Why
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.
— Simon Sinek
If you haven’t seen Simon Sinek’s famous TED Talk, here is a brief summary: customers don’t just want to know what your product or service is; they want to know why you do it in the first place.
Brands like TOMS and Starbucks are not only successful because they make a quality product; these brands promote customer loyalty through their mission. For every pair of shoes TOMS sells, they give a pair to a person in need. They also advocate for issues that affect society. Starbucks is known for its coffee, but customers also buy in to their mission of inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.
Why you do business is arguably more important than what you sell. Your potential customers will decide if your story is one they want to be a part of.
Your audience is out there, and they are listening to what you say about your customers, what others say about your business, and what you say about yourself.
By telling these stories, you can better engage with this audience and make customers into partners with your business.