Archive for storytelling
How much do you know about the microblogging site Tumblr?
Launched in 2007, Tumblr has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years.
Forbes reported that 120,000 new Tumblr blogs are created every day, totaling 86 million that drive 18 billion page views per month.
In this post, I’ll take a look at 26 businesses that have created presences on Tumblr and discuss the techniques they use for their blogs, while also introducing many of Tumblr’s specific features and lexicon.
How Can Tumblr Be Used?
Jason Keath wrote, “Not every brand works on Tumblr” and suggested that three categories of blogs may fare better than others: fashion, large websites and publishing/broadcast media. As we’ll see with the examples below, Tumblr’s features offer the ability to be more visual and less verbose.
When you first started out on social media, Tumblr may not have fit the description of what you were looking for. Today, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover a blogging solution where you can create engaging and diverse posts in much less time than other platforms, while also piggybacking on the social networking capabilities it offers.
Before We Begin… A Few Words About This Article
Given the A-Z theme of this article, blogs were chosen if they could represent one of the 26 letters.
Due to the recent growth in Tumblr, its ease of use and wide-ranging possibilities, the blogs represented below are offered as inspiration. Recommended introductory and how-to resources for Tumblr are listed at the bottom of the article.
Spoiler Alert: While Tumblr may speak to the issue of brevity on blogs, this post is a far cry from a brief post. In fact, it’s exceedingly long—hopefully, all the better to learn from!
Let’s dive in!
#1: Ace Hotel
The Ace Hotel celebrated their Tumblr blog’s third birthday on January 20, 2013. With three years on Tumblr, Ace Hotel utilizes many features that make their blog successful, including:
- Links to Facebook, Twitter and their “A-List,” which is essentially a signup form to stay up to date on what’s happening at their hotels.
- Link to their online shop, which is described as an “open-air flea market where we offer the fruits of our partnerships with friends whose work inspires our own, stuff we love, stuff we made, curated art, books….”
- Link from the homepage to reserve a room and check availability.
#2: Boston Globe
The Boston Globe describes their presence on Tumblr this way: “This isn’t about breaking news in Boston (check us on @bostonupdate on Twitter). It’s not about the important capital-J journalism of those daily printed pieces of paper (and soon to be website) called The Boston Globe. But it is about the world we live in, often (but not exclusively) filtered by the reporters, photojournalists, reviewers, web producers at the Globe and boston.”
The photos on Boston Globe Tumblr are eye-catching and unique. Many are tagged “photojournalism.” Followers like their posts and reblog them. They also use social media share buttons on their posts so visitors can easily tweet, like or +1.
One of the first icons you see on CNET‘s Tumblr blog is the “random post” button that makes the blog “shuffle” and display a random post each time a reader clicks it. They also utilize an archive feature that displays a visual archive of past posts by month.
CNET also provides social media sharing links for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Many times, their posts are photos with captions, and on occasion, an animated GIF.
#4: Dark Rye
Dark Rye, an online magazine from Whole Foods Market, is a great example of a blog that has created alternative messaging for their business. Dark Rye “brings together pioneers of unconventional ideas to explore the edges of the creative life.”
While many posts may include food-related content such as a granola recipe and Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube channel on YouTube, you’ll also find instructions for something you may have been wondering about, such as how to start a campfire.
Elle Magazine uses Tumblr to showcase fashion highlights by using photos with captions. The captions refer to design companies with the “@” sign (e.g., @JasonWu). Elle tags photos with hashtags (e.g., #prefall) within the caption.
On the upper-right corner of their Tumblr home page, Elle provides icons for their presences on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as links that take you to the online magazine.
There’s also a link to sign up for their newsletter and a button to subscribe to the magazine.
#6: Fresh Air
It’s a nice touch to reference on your home page who’s responsible for the curated content, since many times visitors don’t know who the behind-the-scenes voices are on social media sites.
Many of their posts are photos that you can also see as high-res images with a short amount of text (100-200 words) and posted videos and sound clips.
Some other nice touches to Fresh Air on Tumblr are the Ask link where visitors can email the blog a private question, see answers to frequently asked questions, posts from other Tumblr blogs that Fresh Air liked and a list of who they’re following, all beautifully displayed in a long graphic of avatars that link to the blog.
Glamour‘s Tumblr is a collection of their “fashion editors’ current obsessions.” As stated on their welcome page, “instead of just filing away our favorite things—be they photos, names, places, trends, styles or any other random treasure—for a rainy day, we’ll be sharing them here.”
In some posts, the Glamour blog uses the tag “glamour magazine” that shows photos from the magazine, links to the full article and in some cases, provides prices and a link to online shopping sites such as Maiden Nation and NCLA.
Glamour, like Elle, integrates photos with their presence on Instagram. They also include the names of four contributing photographers and provide attribution to the photos they’ve taken. And regardless of the subject of the photos—bracelets, shoes, an archived picture of Princess Diana—the photos are beautifully done and you can easily see why their editors want to share them on Tumblr.
#8: Huffington Post
The Huffington Post‘s Tumblr blog has many cool features. For one thing, the tagline tells us upfront that the blog is about “news, culture and op-eds from the Huffpost Newsroom.”
Huffington Post uses a free theme called the Minimalist and users can see what the theme looks like and if they choose, they can also quickly update their blog to use the same theme.
Tumblr themes have different features and characteristics. Sometimes even if a feature that you want isn’t available—for example, the Submit link where users can submit a post to your blog—you can customize the theme’s HTML code and make it functional.
Many of the posts are newsworthy with photos, brief text and links. Huffington Post also uses the random post function and a link to their Twitter profile.
IBM has three blogs on Tumblr. Their primary blog, A Smarter Planet, posts content related to “a planet that is instrumented, interconnected and intelligent.” Their secondary blogs, The Social Business and The Smarter Cities Scan, make it possible to have blogs with complementary content.
Primary and secondary blogs permit different features. For example, primary blogs offer full use of “Tumblr’s social features, including Follow, Like, Reply, Ask, and Submit.” Secondary blogs differ in that they can be password-protected; allow multiple users; and receive social requests (Follow, Like, Ask, Submit) from other blogs, but not initiate social features to other blogs.
The posts on A Smarter Planet have social-sharing buttons enabled, making it possible to tweet, like on Facebook, +1 on Google+ and pin on Pinterest.
#10: J. Crew
The J. Crew Tumblr blog from all appearances has many of the features that we’ve come to love and appreciate from a WordPress blog, such as a blogroll in the side column that they’ve titled Cool Clicks.
The posts mostly consist of photos of their apparel with tips on how to wear and accessorize, and in some cases, they may include a link to their website where you can purchase a product you see in the photograph. But they use this very sparingly so you don’t feel like you’re on an online shopping website. Instead they are engaging readers with the styles and colors of their products.
They’re also using a full spectrum of social-sharing buttons—Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and RSS feed.
#11: Kmart Coupons, Deals and Coupon Codes
Kmart‘s Tumblr blog is one of the most different ones we’ve taken a look at so far, with a bare-bones look and feel.
The focus here is on sharing coupons, deals and coupon codes—and selling. There are no photos, all posts are text only and contain the same four tags: kmart, coupons, deals and couponcodes. The links take users to shop on Contaya.
They offer some of the features we’ve discussed previously about other sites (random, for example), but one of the distinguishing features of their blog is a mobile-friendly version.
#12: Lucky Magazine
One of the first things you’ll notice on Lucky Magazine‘s Tumblr blog is photos—BIG photos—ones that can be as high as 1000 pixels and as wide as 800 pixels.
The photos are linked to Instagram with brief captions. Many contain the hashtag #luckymagcloset and some take you to Lucky, another site that describes itself as “more from the magazine about shopping and style.”
The blog welcomes users with the following tagline: “Here you’ll find bits of inspiration from our editors, bloggers and friends. Join us on your lunch hour, a rainy day or whenever you find a few spare moments to yourself. We’re always here.”
You’ll find social-sharing buttons located after the tagline; many of the usual players we’ve seen before on other blogs. Although Lucky Magazine has also included a link to their presence on Foursquare.
ModCloth describes their Tumblr blog as “Democratizing fashion one indie, vintage, & retro-inspired style at a time!” The company uses the Juuvy theme, “A fashionable chic modular grid with adjustable post sizes.” You can also customize the colors, fonts and background.
The page is visually appealing with posts that contain photos and captions, and the ability to see the photos in high resolution, too.
Their Ask feature offers a unique capability, too: the possibility to have your question featured on their feed.
ModCloth uses some of the social-sharing buttons we’ve seen used by other companies. One we haven’t seen before on this list is a link to their Flickr photostream. By clicking on the Share button at the bottom of every post, you’re given the shortened URL, which is also a nice feature.
#14: New York Times Style Magazine
The New York Times Style Magazine‘s Tumblr blog is another example of one that uses large photos. Some may be as wide as 1020 pixels and as high as 680. The posts are generally photos with captions that consist of two to four tags. The links take users to the Style Magazine’s web pages.
They utilize an RSS feed, archive, a link to their Twitter profile and who they’re following. There are share buttons from posts to Facebook and Twitter. The blog is simple and clean.
#15: Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta‘s Tumblr blog, PR Girl for Oscar de la Renta, is described as “…reporting from inside one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses.”
This is a blog that relies heavily on photos and captions. A post may be showcasing fashion for Spring 2013, or bring back a photo from 1995. In either case, the photos generally speak for themselves. Some literally do, while others may have one word (e.g., “games”) or consist of 15-20 words at the most.
Users can ask questions and follow on social sites. One network they make a point of emphasizing is following them on Pinterest, where they have a large following of nearly 50,000.
Pinterest and Tumblr work exceedingly well for Oscar de la Renta.
#16: Pew Internet
Tumblr isn’t all style and fashion. Sites like Pew Internet will appeal to business users with the type of infographics and research findings that Pew Internet is known and respected for. At times they will ask a question within the post and provide an answer box where users can comment.
Some posts include a link where users can read the full story on Pew Internet‘s website.
One very cool feature is Browse All Tags, which is a word cloud of tags that stretches far down the page. There are links to their presences on some of the usual social sites. One that clearly is an important venue for Pew Internet, however, is SlideShare.
GQ‘s Tumblr blog uses a mixture of photos and text that are generally tagged with four to five words, and always “GQ.” Readers may see the first three paragraphs of a story and if they click Read the Rest Here, they’re taken to GQ’s website.
GQ also uses a secondary blog, GQ Fashion, that like their primary blog uses photos. But in this case the posts don’t include text from longer articles. Their purpose is to demonstrate fashion with brief, simple captions.
The primary blog includes a link to subscribe to the magazine and another to get the apps on iTunes (but according to the error message, does not work in the U.S. at this time).
Rocketboom, the daily international news and entertainment network of online programming based in New York City, has a Tumblr blog where photos can be anything from dogs in costumes to a photo of poet Sylvia Plath commemorating her birthday.
Posts may also include longer blocks of text, links to other websites and videos on Rocketboom’s YouTube channel.
Rocketboom is also among a small number on this list that are using a mobile-friendly version of their site.
#19: Shapeways 3D Printspiration
Shapeways 3D Printspiration is described as a “3D printing marketplace and community.” They mostly use their Tumblr blog to show photos of their 3D products, often accompanied by a brief caption.
The photos link to their Instagram account. Some posts may also contain full-length text that links back to their other blog, The Shapeways Blog: 3D Printing News & Innovation.
Shapeways has presences on multiple social networking sites (Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube) and one of the notable features on their Tumblr home page is the ability to see a list of recent tweets in the side column.
#20: Tips for Architecture School
Tips for Architecture School is a Tumblr blog started by Mark Perrett, a designer, who uses his blog as a resource for people studying architecture or planning.
Mark doesn’t have just one blog on Tumblr, he manages four different blogs with specific focuses. On his website he writes, “What can I say, I’m a blogger. I love the concept of a blog. It is like a digital avatar for your brain. The opportunity to share ideas to everyone around the world still amazes me.”
Even if we didn’t know that Mark loves blogs, I think it would be easy to surmise, judging by his answers via blog posts to people who ask him questions about an education in architecture. If he needs to do research to answer a question, he’ll post the link to the article and provide his own commentary on the subject.
Mark exemplifies good use of the Ask feature on Tumblr, not only responding to the individual but also recognizing that other people would benefit by the Q&A which may appear on his page.
Tumblr recognized the popularity of the Tips for Architecture School blog and has included a link on their Architecture spotlight page.
#21: Universal Music
Universal Music on Tumblr is the blog for music company Universal Music, “home to such artists as Lady Gaga, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Andrea Bocelli, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Maroon 5 and many, many more.”
Their posts are generally short and to the point, with photos, captions and links. In some cases, they’ll link to a musician’s Facebook page. Other times, they’ll let users know that they can listen to an album for free on Rdio. Their images appear to be directly entered via Tumblr and not housed on other sites such as Flickr or Instagram.
Universal Music provides links to their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and also has a mobile-friendly version of their site.
Vimeo is described as “the home for high-quality videos and the people who love them.” Their blog shares interesting film-related news about the company and Vimeo features that you may not be aware of. For instance, Vimeo has creative commons videos that users may be able to “share, rework and reuse legally.”
There are links to their presences on Facebook and Twitter. Videos are stored on Vimeo (no surprise!).
One notable feature on their blog is the use of the Tumblr bookmarklet, which we haven’t seen used yet on any of the blogs discussed here so far. The bookmarklet is a button that users can drag to their Bookmarks bar and quickly share on their blog when they come across something interesting they’ve found on the site.
Vimeo also maintains a second blog not hosted by Tumblr, which is described as “Staff Blog: Dispatches from Vimeo HQ written by the real humans who work here.”
#23: WGSN’s Tumblr Blog
WGSN describes their work as “…world’s leading fashion trend forecaster. A must-have resource for design professionals around the world, we’re also now on Tumblr providing a live stream of the thought, insight and inspiration behind our work.
Curated by a select team of expert global contributors, our coverage spans from the front row at fashion weeks to the hottest street style trends at all the must-attend festivals.”
What’s particularly refreshing about this statement is that it’s available via a link on the blog, About WGSN, which you may not think is a big deal. But surprisingly, many brands don’t have a good description on their page about who they are and what they do. Maybe it’s more an issue of the themes not providing a built-in way for brands to provide that information.
The posts primarily contain fashion photos with one or two sentences of text, and some will link to a retailer’s website. In other cases, they may reference their annual report and link to their website.
It’s interesting to note too that from WGSN’s website, we can see that they have presences on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but have chosen not to include those links on their blog.
#24: (E)xcel Visual
Excel Visual is the blog of a freelance photographer and videographer whose name is not present on the site. This blog was chosen for the article in part because it was the closest we could find to a name that began with an “X” (to be perfectly honest), but also because it demonstrates the work of a freelance businessperson!
While the URLs for presences on YouTube, Flickr and Instagram are presented in the header of the homepage, they are not active links.
The gallery of photos is presented with one- to two-word descriptions, such as Shopping Assistance or Brisk. This Tumblr blog may well serve the purposes for the freelancer, who is using the Minimalist theme. The theme might not offer the other types of functionality we’ve discussed in this article right out of the box, but it is also customizable.
#25: YA Highway
YA Highway‘s Tumblr blog is the work of the YA Highway, “writers from different corners of the globe, united by our affinity for travel, costume parties and writing young adult fiction.”
The blog contains posts about the writers, links to tips for writers (hosted elsewhere), a directory of writers in the organization and other perks such as links to music for writers.
Zap2It‘s Tumblr blog focuses on “TV, celebrity and movies for fanatics by fanatics.” Posts include photos such as Beyonce at President Obama’s first inauguration party, remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr., a picture from the TV show, The Office.
Zap2It’s content style on Tumblr is very similar to a Facebook post update, with many posts ending with a question, minus the ability for users to respond to an individual update. Nevertheless, their questions are thought-provoking.
The Tumblr blog has links to their Facebook and Twitter pages.
- The Marketer’s Guide to Tumblr
- Tumblr Starter Kit
- 4 Ways to Use Tumblr to Connect With Customers
- Should You Be on Tumblr? Seven Business Case Examples
What do you think about Tumblr? Share your experiences and let us know if you’ve been using Tumblr and how it’s worked for you. Or, whether you’ll consider giving Tumblr a tumble. Leave your comments in the box below.
Do you use images to tell stories about your business?
Keep reading to discover four creative uses of images with social media.
Why Images Now?
The way we use images is changing.
Instead of taking photographs at important life events and sharing them with a few family and friends, we’re uploading them to our social media pages, sharing them with companies and broadcasting them to the world.
“Pictures or it didn’t happen” is our new mantra. And these days, images aren’t just something you look at—they’re the center of most of our engagements online as people share, comment and engage with image creators.
“We’ve now entered a phase in which visual communication is supplanting the written word,” says Bob Lisbonne, CEO of Luminate and former SVP of Netscape in the 1990s. “What some are now calling the dawn of the Imagesphere.”
A post that includes an album or picture receives 120-180% more engagement from fans than a text-based post.
The fact that Pinterest has shot to social media super-stardom thanks to its image-based platform and the surging popularity of infographics (displaying written content in a visual way) both point toward one conclusion—consumers want images, and lots of them.
Digital strategist Justin Goldsborough explains the importance of brands incorporating visual storytelling into their marketing strategy.
“Society responds more to visual stimuli and storytelling than any story we read in a magazine or on a website. And the same goes for status updates and content curation.
It’s not enough anymore to live tweet from a conference or corporate event. Customers are now saying: ‘Don’t just tell me. Show me.’ And brands better listen. Or 2012 will be the year they got left behind.”
The good news is that visual storytelling isn’t a high-cost strategy. Consumers aren’t looking for the highest-quality visual content. Consumers want stories told in a visual way that encourage, engage, enlighten and entertain.
Here are four businesses using images to show their readers what they do.
#1: The Story of the Future—General Electric
General Electric is one company utilizing the storytelling aspect of visual media. The brand has a thriving Tumblr blog that consists of photographs and video, with short text captions containing the relevant hashtags.
The General Electric images are popular because they tell a story. Each image explores something new or interesting about technology, from parts of prototypes to footage of planes, trains and automobiles.
Fans respond to the images because they offer insights into the changing face of technology, while often being humorous or visually stunning.
These aren’t professionally produced photographs costing thousands of dollars from high-ranking digital agencies, but lo-fi, often fan-produced, point-and-shoot images of engine bits, airplanes, locomotives and other high-tech gadgets.
Throw in an Instagram filter and you’ve created a series of artistic images that tell a story about innovation in science and technology. You’ve also got an exciting social platform where fans engage with the brand through commenting and sharing on their own networks.
#2: User-Generated Stories—Target
A recent Target advertising campaign used the same concept, only with video. Target created a commercial from home videos of real students opening their college acceptance letters.
The use of real people telling real stories in a powerful, visual medium meant the campaign resonated with people all over the country, and enabled a mega-company like Target to build that personal relationship with their customers through visual storytelling.
#3: Living Your Target Market—PopCosmo
But mega-companies aren’t the only ones benefitting from the trend of visual storytelling.
Louisville resident Kim Gordon and her 15-year-old daughter Chloe created the PopCosmo site in 2011 as a trend-spotting site for teens showing off the latest fashion, beauty, makeup and lifestyle tips.
Immediately they saw the value in Pinterest as a way to generate interest in their site.
Chloe runs the social media platforms for PopCosmo, and her content focuses on providing visual inspiration and useful DIY tutorials—both types of media Pinterest users love.
Her images for the PopCosmo site and social media pages focus on helping teens stay trendy in fun, creative ways.
According to Kim, Pinterest accounts for half of the referral traffic to PopCosmo and 20% of the site’s overall traffic.
“When a pin goes viral,” says Kim, “it can alter our web stats for months.”
And Kim and Chloe’s visual storytelling savvy doesn’t just extend to their own pinboard—they encourage their readers to spread the word about their site through images.
One article on their site, a tutorial on creating French manicures, has been pinned over 380,000 times, and that’s not even including likes or re-pins.
#4: Visual Storytelling and the Personality Brand—Gala Darling
Gala Darling, New Zealand-born-blogger-turned-New-York-maven and digital entrepreneur, is also making a splash with her approach to visual storytelling. Gala’s blog, is a combination of fashion and lifestyle inspiration wrapped up in a sexy, sparkly bow, and this branding extends to her visual social media pages.
Her visuals are a huge part of the brand she’s created, and she’s not afraid to create a character for herself and express it visually. In her keynote speech at NEPABlogCon, Gala said,
“We create our own fairytales. We write our own epic sagas, we distribute our own fantasies.”
How to Leverage Visual Storytelling
Whatever the size of your business, visual storytelling is a marketing technique that can bring you increased exposure, better customer engagement and retention, and more sales.
The key to success is to create visual features that tell a story about your company, industry or niche. What is interesting or entertaining to you will probably also be enjoyed by your fans and customers.
Kim Gordon’s advice for small business owners is to “Pin what you love. People who like the same thing will find you and spread the word.”
Here are some of the top tips for creating visual content that tells a story:
- Images don’t have to be professionally shot, but use images that are colorful, well-balanced and interesting.
- Add “Pin it!” and other social sharing buttons to your website, so your fans can spread the word.
- Find ways to involve fans—perhaps a competition where fans create their own meme or send in pictures of themselves using your product.
- Decide on the story you want to tell with your images.
- Focus on your customers. What images would they find useful, entertaining and inspiring?
- Focus initially on one visual social media website and learn how to utilize this site before moving to another.
What do you think? How will you incorporate visual storytelling into your marketing strategy? What role do visuals play in your social media campaigns? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Are you wondering how storytelling can help your marketing and sales?
To learn about the power of storytelling, I interview Dave Kerpen for this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast.
More About This Show
The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.
It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.
The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).
In this episode, I interview Dave Kerpen, author of Likeable Social Media. He’s also the co-founder of Likeable, an INC 500 social media marketing firm. His newest book is Likeable Business: Why Today’s Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver.
Dave shares his story of how a creative idea for his wedding turned into a successful business. You’ll learn how your story can help your business connect with people, both prospects and customers.
Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!
Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:
Business and Storytelling
Dave shares his story of how the creative idea he and his wife had for their wedding led them into starting a business.
Both Dave and his wife have a traditional sales and marketing background and both were working in radio sales and sales management at the time.
They decided to have their wedding at a baseball game. So they pitched their idea to a minor league baseball team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, an affiliate of the New York Mets. The deal was that they would take over the inventory from the game and do sponsorships in exchange for being able to get married at the end of the game and create the promotion. They created a promotion called Our Field of Dreams.
Just from getting sponsors for the event, a total of $100,000 was raised in goods and services and $20,000 for charity. The advantage for the sponsors was they received a large amount of media attention. Not only did the sponsors get in front of 8,000 people at the game, they also were featured in CBS The Early Show, ABC World News Tonight and CNBC, plus thousands of blogs.
One of the sponsors, 1-800-Flowers, was then featured on 86 television stations, all from a $6,000 trade sponsorship. Dave and his wife generated $20 million worth of earned media for their sponsors. It wasn’t until 1-800-Flowers contacted Dave afterward and asked what he was doing next that he and his wife decided to start a company.
Dave believes that telling their story showed their prospects that it’s not just about understanding the tools, it’s about understanding how to be creative and think outside of the box. Just because you understand the tools of social media, radio or television doesn’t mean the idea isn’t just as important. You still have to do marketing.
By being able to tell a story, you’re able to bring some real personality to what it is you do, and at the same time, convince people that you know what you are doing.
Listen to the show to hear how they worked all their sponsors into the game so the wedding itself could be sponsor-free.
Why should your businesses care about storytelling?
Dave believes that storytelling is important because people don’t care about you. It’s really important to truly listen because people would rather talk about themselves.
Storytelling is much more effective than going through data or any kind of sales pitch. It connects people, and gets people engaged and interested. The reason why people love going to the movies and reading books is because we love to be engaged by stories.
Whether you are at a boardroom talking to your staff, or pitching to a prospect or putting content out there to the world, storytelling can bring your business alive. It can help you connect with your audience. And it can eventually persuade people.
Listen to the show to find out how storytelling can help generate leads for your business.
Why my story?
An example that Dave shares in his book is a story about a woman named Angela Shaefers, who was diagnosed with cancer and started writing a book just for her children. She showed it to her friends, who thought it was amazing and encouraged her to share it with the world.
Angela printed 500 copies, which sold very quickly through word of mouth. This made her realize that her story matters. From this, she started a company called Your Story Matters. Today, she helps people tell their stories and show people that their story matters.
Dave believes that everyone in business has a story to tell about how they started. Even the largest companies in the world can tell a story of how they were founded. For example, Mark Zuckerburg was in a dorm room at college and the founders of HP were in their garage. Wherever a company is started, no matter how big it is, it has a humble start.
It’s the story of your founding that can often humanize you and make your company more likable and more appealing, no matter how big or unlikable the company is today.
Listen to the show to learn how you can use different types of stories within your company or organization to make your company much more interesting.
What makes a good story?
When Dave thinks about storytelling, he goes to the analogy of a movie, book or television show. If he is crafting a story, he wants to think like a director or an author. Stories should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The story should also have some conflict and have at least one, preferably more, interesting characters that people can believe in.
Your ability to take a piece of history and turn it into a story has to do with applying the traditional elements of storytelling with what really happens. You need to be truthful, but you can embellish a little bit. Make the characters come alive. Make sure you set the stage and build a story that resonates with people.
Storytelling today is a lot easier, cheaper and a lot less of a risk. With today’s technology, if it doesn’t resonate with people, you can recut it or try something new. We can all keep practicing storytelling until we get it right.
Listen to the show to find out different ways you can share your story.
How do you cross over from storytelling to selling?
Some of the most successful business books of all time at their core are a collection of stories. Although Likeable Business is a business book and Dave is a business owner, to him it’s like social media—you can use all the best content in the world, but if it doesn’t drive sales, none of it matters.
It’s the same with storytelling. You can be the best storyteller in the world, but if you’re a business owner and you are telling that story and you are not converting people to becoming customers, then it’s virtually meaningless.
The process of taking people from actively listening to a story to actively listening to a sales pitch has to be subtle. If you’ve done a good job with prospecting and listening, then this process can be natural. But if you have the wrong people in the room and they don’t have a need for what you sell, then the best story in the world is not going to mean anything.
The first step is making sure you’ve done your homework, you’ve listened and you’ve prospected right. The next step is to help to connect the dots for people from the start.
When it opened up beyond college students, Facebook became a much better way to create buzz. It helped Dave connect the dots between great creative marketers to great creative social media consultants.
As powerful as your story is, it still needs to convey “I can solve your problems.” Your overall goal isn’t to become the best storyteller in the world, but to grow your business. You’re going to develop a story that helps people connect the dots between what their problems are and how you can solve them.
Listen to the show to hear why Dave believes that everyone is a salesperson.
How can social media impact the delivery of stories?
Dave shares how social media has changed the barrier to entry to tell stories at scale. It used to be that if you wanted to tell your story at scale, you had to buy your way in through media; for example, television or radio. You used to have to spend a significant amount of money on storytelling.
Now social media makes it easy to tell your story and for people to share it. You can have hundreds, thousands and even millions of people see your story. This has an impact.
Listen to the show to hear how Dave Carroll’s YouTube video, “United Breaks Guitars” turned his story alone into a business.
Dave’s advice is to write down whatever you think your story is, share it with somebody whom you know and trust and start talking about how to make it into a better story.
Listen the show to find out what you need to look at to craft your story.
Are you thinking about New Year’s resolutions for next year? Do you need more balance in your life? You might want to check out Michael Hyatt‘s podcast called This Is Your Life, where he talks about intentional leadership. There’s everything you need to know from how to keep your life balanced to how to be a good leader.
One of the cool things Michael does at the end of his show is to take caller questions. So we have decided to follow Michael’s lead and we now have a voicemail hotline at Social Media Examiner.
Simply visit our voicemail hotline from your computer to leave a message with your social media marketing–related questions. When you leave a message, don’t forget to mention your blog or the name of your company. It will add an interesting dynamic to the podcast.
Listen to the show to learn more and maybe leave your questions so we may include them in a future show.
Other Show Mentions
Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.
As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.
Check out this amazing new video showcasing all the event has to offer, PLUS you can save $300 if you register by Dec. 31.
Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:
- Connect with Dave on Twitter, Facebook or email at email@example.com or visit Likeable
- Check out Dave’s books: Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business: Why Today’s Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver
- Take a look at the Brooklyn Cyclones (an affiliate of the New York Mets), the minor league baseball team that Dave struck a deal with
- Check out some of the TV shows the sponsors were featured in: CBS The Early Show, ABC World News Tonight and CNBC
- Take a look at 1-800-Flowers, one of the sponsors at the wedding
- Read Angela Shaefers‘ story and check out her company Your Story Matters
- Find out more about Mark Zuckerburg‘s story
- Check out How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which is nearly 90% storytelling
- Watch Dave Carroll’s YouTube video, “United Breaks Guitars“
- Check out Michael Hyatt‘s podcast, This Is Your Life
- Check out John Melley for voiceovers
- Leave a social media–related question at our voicemail hotline
- Learn more about Social Media Marketing World
Ways to subscribe to the Social Media Marketing podcast:
- Click here to subscribe via iTunes.
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What do you think? What are your thoughts on sharing your story? Please leave your comments below.