How to Use Storytelling and Digital Marketing to Grow Your Business

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In this webinar, Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara discusses how to use digital storytelling (and other digital marketing activities) to grow your business and customer relationships with Brian Fanzo, a keynote speaker, social media marketer, and founder of iSocialFanz.

Brian is one of the key teachers and preachers on using social media, technology, and digital marketing to achieve your passion, plan, and purpose.

Create a Memorable Experience

Maya Angelou once said, “People don’t remember who you are or what you do, they remember how you make them feel.”

Storytelling is about allowing people to feel and experience something. Your ability to transport someone through your storytelling is a truly powerful vehicle at your disposal today. We have the ability to connect with people around the world — no matter where they live, no matter what they’re doing — and provide a customer experience they can’t get anywhere else. Every person has a story to tell, and everyone has something they are doing in their lives that can help other people. Figure out what yours is and start sharing through your marketing plans.

Tell Your True Story

To be a great storyteller, you have to push new boundaries and put yourself out there through your marketing campaigns. People don’t care about what you do — people care about why you do what you do and how it impacts them. There’s no better way to give people a window into who you are and what your business is about by providing them access to the people in your business. Why not interview your employees and customers or do a video tour of your office?

Take them behind the scenes. If you’re a brick and mortar store, show them what it’s like to open the doors in the morning. If you’re going to launch a new product or a new feature, why not do a video behind the scenes of that launch? Think of it from your fans’ perspective and ask yourself what you can give my fans that they can’t get anywhere else?’ If you can do that by telling a story (whether it’s using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email marketing) and giving people access to something unique, you’ll win them over.

Stand Out From the Crowd

The only way to truly be unique is to be the one thing that no one else can be — that is yourself. People buy from people they like and relate to, so figure out what will allow you to stand out from the noise.

For example, perhaps you’re a salon owner who noticed that customers also care about weight loss and the latest lifestyle trends. Why not create a piece of content that helps educate and solve a problem; maybe it’s something like “The 10 Things Successful Dieters Do.” If you’re only talking about giving the greatest haircuts, you won’t stand out from the crowd, because every salon can claim to give the best haircut. But if a salon is creating content, telling their story and helping people, they’re creating a distinctive identity.


Now when a potential customer is choosing a salon, they’ll remember the salon that gave them great advice on a new weight loss product or the new local gym to go to. They’ll go to that salon because they feel the staff understand and care about them.

Another example is Dr. Weil, author of the book, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health. In his book, Weil discusses how great you can become by changing what you eat and how you live. He now has a clinic where he teaches other doctors, and he’s also co-founder of True Food Kitchen. He built his brand by giving his knowledge away, not by talking about how great he is, but by teaching others how they can be great. Instead of sales pitches, allow storytelling to be your vehicle for selling.

Share Your Vulnerabilities

As more content is generated by automated processes, people will look for imperfection as a sign of humanity. It’s the reason live video has become more popular than produced video. Every business is in the business of trust; to gain and build trust, you have to remove the illusion of perfection from the equation.

If you project the appearance that you’re perfect, you’ll never be trusted by your community or your employees. Share your heart and soul, who you really are beyond your business persona, because people connect on the five F’s of life: family, friends, food, fun, and fellowship. It’s the areas of commonality that you share about yourself that people relate to. Share your vulnerabilities and embrace your imperfections.

Follow That Audience!

Just because you launch a new website or have a Facebook page doesn’t mean people are going to flock to it. People will engage with you if you come to them. To hack the search engines and drive traffic to your content, you need to have conversations where your audience is present.

Start a conversation in a relevant Facebook group, create a podcast, become a thought leader on Reddit, or share informative posts on LinkedIn. When you help people, they’ll want more information. That’s when you give them a link to your website or social media site.

Syndicate Your Content

The practice of up-cycling your content can help to simplify your marketing automation efforts. Rather than creating a really good story every single time, try to create a great story and then syndicate and customize it to each platform.

For example, record a video podcast on Facebook and upload the audio for people to consume on their podcasting apps. Then, take shorter clips of that video and post them on Instagram and LinkedIn. At the end of the month, take the sound bites from the podcast and create a new piece of content. It’s not about trying to tell a story on every one of these platforms individually and uniquely — it’s about creating one great piece of content and bringing that content everywhere your audience is.

Plan For The Future

Disruption and change are the new normal. The next wave of technology (including virtual and augmented reality) will present challenges and opportunities as we strive to attain and sustain an emotional connection with our audience. Building community will be crucial to business success; not only investing in the community but listening and learning from people. To innovate, we will have to collaborate with others; not just colleagues in our company or in our individual industry, but people outside of our walls. Telling your digital story will connect you with people that understand who you are and can relate to you.

Closing Thoughts

Focus on creating meaningful interactions wherever your community is thriving. If you don’t know where your community is yet, poll your email newsletter contacts and ask them what their favorite platform is.

If you’re a brick and mortar store, include a form by the register and ask customers what social networks they use to follow brands when they check out. That will help you understand where they’re at today, and then listen for where they’ll be tomorrow. Start telling your story where your audience is now, and keep listening to understand where your audience is headed, and you’ll be ready for whatever the future of storytelling holds.