With everyone calling themselves an 'expert' in their field, how do you truly know who the experts are? At McQueenie Mulholland we start with the facts and work together with our clients to develop a successful communications strategy. Find out more and contact us today.
Clear communication can be the difference between success and failure in business. The ability to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time, is what sells products and changes behaviour
Storytelling has always been an integral part of our lives; from listening to the stories your parents read to you as a child, to when you’re telling stories to your friends. It’s a powerful psychological tool, used to evoke feelings and emotions within people and build relationships – something that has not escaped the attention of companies and brands in marketing themselves.
Consumers no longer want to just buy the “best” products, but want to buy from businesses that share their beliefs and values. It’s because of this, that storytelling has become an important tool in the tactical marketing toolbox.
Marketing through storytelling is the indirect sell, it positions your business to the consumer, rather than explicitly sells the product itself. And it can be used by businesses big or small.
So how do you do it?
The cornerstone of any successful storytelling campaign is understanding your businesses own characteristics and values, and how these resolve the pain points of customers who buy from you.
By pinpointing the answers to these questions, you’re not only on your way to being a storytelling success but also understanding the strengths of your brand.
Below we give you some handy pointers on how you can build up engaging storytelling in your campaigns:
● Don’t just share statistics – people remember stories much more than they remember facts and figures.
● Use real stories, or at least ones based on real stories – you will receive a negative response if consumers perceive you to be false.
● Use your employees, they are a great resource – ask them what they like about your company and why they chose to work there. Then use these stories in your campaign.
● Use descriptive language – the aim of storytelling is to evoke feelings and emotions, so make sure that you use language which will do these things. Imagine a time when you picked up a book to read, or found a blog post, but when you started to read it you found that you felt nothing – did you carry on reading it? Or did you discard it and forget it altogether?
● Write about WHY you do what you do, not WHAT you do. Your unique story and ethos behind your company is what will draw people in and keep them interested much longer than your latest product.
Storytelling is a great way to build stronger relationships with your customers. So, why not get started on your story today?
We recently came across a situation where one of our brilliant clients wanted to start up a social media strategy for the first time. They’d dipped their toe in the water of Facebook on a personal level, and had heard from another marketing agency that they absolutely had to have profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for their business too.
Which begs the question we asked them, why?
Why do you need profiles on all three social media platforms? We weren’t saying that they didn’t, but we were asking them to think about what they felt they would get out of them. When they told us that they didn’t really know, it got us thinking about what advice we can give people when they’re unused to social media.
We are the first people to recommend that clients use a variety of channels and platforms to get their message across, both to customers, to suppliers, to the media and to the wider public. But we also recommend that this is done in a targeted, planned manner, and that a schedule is written as part of a wider marketing strategy. But what should be included in this?
A few things to think about here:
- Do you know the differences (in terms of consumption and demography) between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat?
Do you know your local press and how best to interact with their readers?
Are you aware of who your current followers are on each channel? Depending on your product/service, it might be that it’s your suppliers who interact with you on Twitter, whilst it’s your customers who follow you on Instagram. Make sure that you’ve looked at the analytics of each channel – do your research!
If you have a newsletter, who is it that reads it?
Do your social media posts reflect the messages of your business / brand as a whole? Do they reflect the messages that you put out on your website? In your blog? In your newsletter? Consistency is key.
By all means, use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule some of your social media posts. But don’t rely on this for all your social activity, we recently wrote a blog about how to keep your social media, social. You also need to be able to respond to comments, questions and opportunities as they crop up, and if you aren’t sure whether you are going to be able to manage this, it’s worth getting in some additional support to help you.
We love helping organisations interact with their customers, their suppliers, the media and their local community. We would always ensure that this is done with the support of a plan, so that messages are consistent, timely and aimed at the relevant audience.
If you need help with this or with any other marketing activity, please contact us today.
Social Media has become one of the main ways that businesses reach out to their customers online. But with so many different channels, it can seem like a daunting task to keep your eye on them all at the same time. To overcome this, many businesses use scheduling platforms such as Hootsuite to manage their various accounts. But whilst these tools can be very helpful when it comes to scheduling posts and managing your social channels, it is important not to rely on them completely.
Audiences have come to expect more from businesses on social media than a few posts per day; they want to be able to reach the business and talk to them in real time. This is where some businesses fall short of expectations; they schedule all their posts beforehand and then put social media to the back of their minds, not responding to comments or questions as they happen.
This has led to a push for businesses to ‘humanise’ their social media. When customers (existing or potential) engage with you they don’t want to feel like they are being ignored, or talking to a robot, so it is important to show people that there are real people behind the account.
Here are our top tips for making your social media, social!
1. Use everyday language – people don’t want to see posts filled with business jargon. Use the language that you would if you were talking to them in person.
2. Post pictures – and not just professional ones! Share the everyday pictures with your followers. This will show your fun side and that you are real people, and not just a business.
3. Make sure your social and your business presence is aligned – if your business is known for being quirky and fun, then make sure that this persona comes across online as well. There should be a seamless transition from the physical location of your business to your virtual accounts.
4. Acknowledge mistakes – everybody makes mistakes, it’s life! So, if you make a faux pas then don’t just remove it and pretend it never happened, own up to it and acknowledge the mistake. Your followers will respond much more positively and forget the mistake a lot sooner.
5. Engage with your followers – ask questions and respond to comments with personalised answers. Your customers will love you for it.
6. Customise content on your different channels – some things that work well on one channel won’t work as well on another, and that’s ok! Don’t schedule all your posts to go out on all your social channels at the same time, it will quickly become boring for your followers if all your channels look the same. Spend time finding out what works best on each channel and personalise posts for each one so that they all have their own distinct style.
7. Mention people – If you’ve just had a business meeting with a client then mention them in a post, or if you have got a new supplier then broadcast that out on your social media with them tagged in it. Building relationships with people is what social media is all about, so take advantage.
We often find that the first task for any organisation is to clarify their message. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? All you need to do is define exactly what it is that you’re trying to say. But so often, so many organisations get it wrong.
So how can you expect potential customers to understand what it is that you’re trying to say, if you don’t fully get it yourself?
Here’s our top five messaging do’s and don’t’s. They might seem obvious, but all too often we see organisations in the spotlight who haven’t quite got it right.
1. DO make sure your team knows what it is that you’re trying to say
And by this, we don’t really mean just the team responsible, but the whole organisation. Internal communications is absolutely key to getting accurate and consistent messages across. If one team is launching a new product or idea, the first task must be to ensure that everybody in the organisation knows exactly what they’re doing, and critically, why the organisation is doing it.
2. DO ensure digital (as well as traditional) channels reflect your new message
So often, an organisation will launch something new, only for their website to still be talking about last year’s offering. Or an organisation will adapt their messaging but forget to update their social media profile, directory listings and other digital accounts. Make sure that your messaging is consistent across all channels.
3. DON’T ignore existing customers
There is no point in undertaking an advertising campaign and promoting something, if it doesn’t fit with your 3 million customers. Think about what your existing customers and supporters tell you. Use the data you have on your customers to inform all these decisions.
4. DON’T lie in your messaging
If you’ve said something just to increase sales, without knowing whether you can actually deliver, you risk losing existing customers as well as new ones. Messaging must always be true and accurate.
5. DO believe in your core message
If you’re saying something just to get column inches, instead of actually believing what it is that you’re saying, you will soon get found out. You risk seriously damaging the reputation of your business. Also, it’s far harder to sell something that you don’t believe in than something you do!