Storytelling - Spark Digital


One of the areas I’ve become really passionate about when working with clients on their social media strategies, is to really try to apply principles of storytelling. This might sound a bit fluffy, so let’s step back for a minute.

Here’s a short video from Nancy Duarte, who actually talks a lot about storytelling.

One of the things I love about this video is her super simple formula for a story:

  • A hero
  • Goes on a journey
  • Encounters some conflicts
  • Emerges transformed.

This should sound familiar – right? It’s like every Disney movie ever, but also being applied to more current TV formats like reality TV etc.

Now think about that in the context of your business.

Who is your hero?

(Clue: it’s not your product, or even your service!)

Yes, your hero is most likely going to be your CUSTOMER/CLIENT. So what kind of “hero” stories can you tell about your customer? I’d really encourage you to think long a hard about this.

What are the Journies you can tell stories about?

In it’s shortest format, it could be a before & after photo. Also, in the language we’d use for this story, we’d shine all the credit on the client/customer – look what they’ve achieved – aren’t they fantastic. It’s always really nice to centre your stories on your customers – make them look good, and it makes you look good too!

If your product is more complex than a before and after photo, you might consider a customer testimonial – even a super short quote is really powerful. And remember it’s far better to have your customer say something good about you than you saying something good about yourself!!!

Another nice storytelling technique is a Case study – this can really help set the scene – provide some context. When writing or storyboarding a case study, always keep a really positive perspective on the customer – even the “before” situation. It should really sound like “This is a challenge that lots of people have…. this particular customer was really proactive in finding a great solution…. and when we worked together here’s what they achieved…”

Of course at the moment, all the social platforms are all about video, so if you can be creative in creating short videos out of some of these stories, that’s even better!! It’s the perfect match of a story that people want to hear, in a format that’s super popular and will help the platforms to reach more people.

Are there other HEROES about whom you can tell stories in social media??

(Clue: in my view the heroes should ALWAYS be human!)

Part of the reason that storytelling works well is because people LOVE people!! So people will remember stories about the people within the business. What other people are in the business, and what stories could you tell??

To get your juices flowing, here are a few suggestions:

  • employees – showcasing employee of the month, people who have been in your business a long time, people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, people with amazing expertise in the business, career stories.
  • Founders – the founder stories – this can be very powerful for smaller and medium sized business. Your customers will often really connect with the heritage and driving force of a business, and the founder stories are a super way to bring that to life.
  • Suppliers – consider telling some of the supplier stories – “We’re privileged to work with brands like….” Etc.
  • Charitable organisations – if your company has a strong CSR theme of activity, tell your customers/partners about it. It’s a really great way to humanize a brand!