The development of social media has changed radically the storytelling of the brands. Companies must, but also want to pay attention to what the consumers say. How can your brand and the customers share stories and lead interactions via social media channels?
Sharing the stories of your clients can strengthen your brand image. Over the years, Starbucks employees often heard about the romance which started in the café. Those were the true stories of people who found their other halves in Starbucks. The company decided to share some of the stories and honor the customers as part of the Valentine’s marketing campaign. The brand believed that sharing such stories strengthen the image of Starbucks as a place creating emotional connections and great place for going out. Through their unique stories, customers were part of the Starbucks storytelling and become part of the brand.
Relationship between customers and a company is the base of the strong brand. Social media provides a framework for sharing stories and open up for new opportunities. The customers engagement straightens the credibility of the company. Let’s look at few examples how the brands collect stories.
For some time, customers of Ford were encourage to share their stories of Ford on the website. Although Ford collected a decent dose of UGC, the company didn’t have any strategy or aim when gathering them. Now they lie buried somewhere deep in the archives.
Conclusion: To actually have marketing results, shared stories need to be presented on specific social media channel and be gathered with an aim in mind.
In April 2011 the founder of the company asked everyone to go barefoot for a day. This led to the One Day Without Shoes campaign that is now an annual event, and has made TOMS shoes a bit of an icon. But the whole thing is done through the kind of storytelling that simply means something to everyone. You can’t fail to be touched by the central ideas behind the story: children in poorer countries need shoes to survive.
Basically, shoes were given out, lots of them. Every time a customer purchased a pair, TOMS donated a pair to a needy child. This had an impact and sets up the kind of storytelling that other brands would kill to have. But the good heart behind the idea really helped to make sure that central message stayed clear.
Conclusion: TOMS is an example of the brand that has a story to share and can tell it in an effective way. Brand has its own rules and ethics and developed platforms for responsible business. Through pictures posted on Instagram, customers could join the action with hashtag #withoutshoes. TOMS invites users to become part of the brand. This is much more appealing to the followers than the traditional marketing activity.
Google doesn’t really have to market anymore, they are simply working on ways to keep their fans happy. And this video is a perfect example
An extremely popular video which has been seen more than 13 million times. It tells a compelling and moving story from the very first second. You could be watching a movie, with a rich narrative and a clear pull towards the final part. We would rather let you watch it yourself, but the fact is that the video is smart, clever, and simply tells you how the search engine can change lives that have been affected by seemingly earth-shattering events.
Mentioned examples show that when the brand use digital media and establish a dialogue with the target group, it also wants to involve its customers with the story. If the brand has loyal and happy customers – let them talk and share stories with you.
How to obtain stories from the customers?
- Collecting stories requires dialogue with customers. If you haven’t made any contact yet, work on engagement first and then ask for some stories.
- Search for the social media users who are somehow connected to your brand (fans, customers) How they get to know your brand? How the product or service was useful?
- Think about how the brand stands out from the crowd. How the brand is seen by the customers or the industry? Include it in your storytelling.
How to obtain stories from the influencers? (They might not be as cute and charming as your own stories but your brand will get extra points for credibility)
- The brand should have a clear vision of the idea and channel and the influencer can add something extra.
- Think over if you could engage with influencers from other industries. They may have alternative approach to your company or product.
Here are some more practical rules, which will tell you what to look for when collecting the story which later can be used to build broaden vision.
- A good example – don’t just present the main idea, try to get some specific opinions. Try to make customers to talk about some emotional events, facts or situations.
- The more specific the better – the main characters should have distinct features. What exactly did he say? What was the reaction? Practically everything can enrich the story and its attractiveness.
- Good story speaks images – when you are listening to the story, do you have automatically some images in your head? If not, it means that the story is not good enough or not concrete. First of all, you need to take care of visual details.
- Numbers are boring – numbers are important but they can’t make a story. If you want them to make an effect, they must be placed in the context.
Authenticity and emotion really count in social media. Even until now, many people remember Adidas commercial with Messi
Do you know why the “Impossible is nothing” Adidas campaign was so successful? Most would say that it wasn’t because of the technology or the attractiveness of their shoes, nor was it due to a sexy model. It was because it told a true story. Even today, people remembers that Messi had a problem with growth hormones. We were left with the phrase: “Impossible is nothing” and since then we associate Adidas with that spirit.
A well-told story always attract customers. It can also go further and you can encourage discussion about the brand. If you want to create a story that will make the customers feel the company DNA read how to make a compelling story on social media.
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