You are your best brand, your greatest advocate and your own specialized expert. In a world where technology is moving forward at exponential speeds, notice how often the success pendulum now swings the other way – old school is becoming new school.
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google, has said that the amount of content we’re producing in this day and age is essentially replicating everything we’ve ever created around the world since the beginning of mankind … every 48 hours.
While we live amidst innovative social media and technological tools designed to facilitate genuine connection, many individuals are still yearning to be seen, to be heard and most importantly, to be valued.
Because no matter how big the conglomerations we build, at the end of the day, we’re still human beings. As such, we’ll never get away from craving touch, be it physically, psychologically or emotionally. And, by remembering that people build businesses, we can see that one of the most impactful ways to increase customer engagement is through storytelling.
Storytelling is a human behavior that we’ve utilized since the beginning of recorded time. It’s a way to develop our identities, to engage, to share emotions, to make messages memorable through meaning and personalization. Stories are the foundation for our success as both people and businesses, because we will always crave connection and a sense that we are not alone after all.
Storytelling equals connection.
Here are five ways to increase your customer engagement through wickedly awesome storytelling!
1. Find your voice.
It takes a lot of courage and bravery to speak your truth. By being who you really are, you reveal your uniqueness in a way that ultimately grabs the attention of the audience you’re meant to appeal to. Let your business make things a little personal, and see what rewards you’ll receive for taking that incredible risk of honest communication.
2. Be creative.
Again, as human beings, our tendency is to create, and we can either create by design or by default. Let everything become an experiment. Let the medium for your creativity find you – video, audio, exploring the neighborhood, interviews or photos of inspiration. Let your imagination run wild.
3. Keep creating.
There isn’t a beginning, middle or end when it comes to a narrative about your brand. Life keeps happening, and so should the content you create. Be mindful that you’re producing excellence, because in exchange for what you share, you’re asking for people’s time and energy. Honor that. By becoming more present and aware of your daily experiences, you’re bound to find plenty to create upon. And, when it’s genuine, that curious and connection-hungry element of human nature will be drawn in to read more.
4. Respond – It builds relationships.
Get people involved with what you’re doing. We’re all seeking a tribe of some sort, a feeling of belonging, and we’re looking for witnesses to our lives. Give your audience a way to participate, let them be heard, encourage dialogues, practice saying “thank-you” and help your customers feel special. Most importantly, actively listen with compassion.
5. Put yourself out there.
It’s one thing to create in the safety of your own space, but it’s another to stand by what you believe and put it out there in the world. Start small. (Blog entries are great.) And, when you feel a bit more comfortable, go bigger. (Think: little videos with viral potential on a YouTube channel.) Then, when you’re really ready to shine, get social on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and more.
Just remember to keep it cohesive. We all have various elements that might feel fragmented at times, but keep your content consistent under a broader brand umbrella. That way, people will trust the folks they’re getting to know!
What’s your biggest challenge creating content?