How Brands Can Use Storytelling to Propel Sales

When it comes to social media, just like traditional advertising, consumers want to hear the stories behind their favorite brands. The Washington Post points to the recent Jeremy Lin phenomenon, in which the New York Knicks player received an enormous amount of press and attention through social media channels. On Facebook and Twitter, people raved about “Lin-Sanity” and rooted for the underdog, learning about his background and closely following his story.

What’s even more impressive, though, is that due to Lin fever, Knicks jersey sales are up 200% compared with this time last year, placing the Knicks and Lin at the top for NBA jersey sales.

Kenneth C. Wisnefski writes that as demonstrated by the Lin events, “consumers still crave a feel-good storyline.” If businesses, especially small ones, put their history out there, consumers will react positively if it’s compelling. “Lin’s case is an example of building brand loyalty through unique storylines and leveraging it on social media,” the author says. “Since small businesses typically have a unique story as to how they came to fruition, there is an opportunity to leverage pathos and create a similar emotional attachment to their brand. Simply put, telling their story can be a strategic approach to appealing to customers and establishing their own sort of emotional excitement. Brand loyalty is the result.”

On social media sites, marketers can see who is involved in the conversation and identify their target consumers. Wisnefski says that if the people talking are not regular customers, companies now know what tactics work to get new customers. And for those who are loyal customers, the company can identify and reinforce the attachment.

Telling your brand’s story is easier than ever thanks to Facebook’s new Timeline interface for company pages. As Jamie Tedford of Forbes puts it, “every brand has a story.” 

Blogger Bernie Borges explains that in order to successfully tell your story, you must be personal, positive, and spell out your values. In his example, he discusses how he attended night school and learned the importance of hard work, even though he couldn’t afford a full-time college education.

Who doesn’t like to hear the story of the underdog, or of someone overcoming adversity to achieve great things? By telling your brand’s story, you’re likely to develop a more involved and interested consumer base.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Jay Santiago

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