You might be wondering what kind of stories you can tell when you’ve just started out in business. So many new entrepreneurs get so hung up on what to say, they often struggle to share that story in different ways. If you’re new to business or you’ve just started out online, telling stories is a great way to build a fan base and gain traction in your industry.
To simplify your storytelling strategy, I’ve compiled the 10 best ways to use story in your business, whether you’re just starting out or ready to scale.
The 10 Ways You Can Use Brand Stories in Your Business
01 // MISSION
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? Sharing your mission is a straightforward and essential story all businesses should do. Without it, anyone who visits your website or social feeds won’t know why you’re in business in the first place!
Sharing your mission is pretty simple: carve out time to add a paragraph to your homepage or about page describing why you started your business, what fuels your passion or why you do what you do.
What makes you tick?
Do you have an experience to share that changed your perspective on your topic or industry?
Your mission gives people an emotional reason to care about your business, be truthful and vulnerable in that story!
02 // VISION
How do you see yourself changing the world? What transformations will your work enable? How will things be different in 5, 10 or 20 years thanks to your service or product?
Your vision is a big-picture story of where you’re going and how the world will be different thanks to you.
Your vision doesn’t necessarily need to be about reversing climate change or saving the rhinos (though if it is, go you!). Your vision can simply be helping others solve a problem they face or overcome an obstacle in their lives. Maybe it’s happier families, fulfilled work or getting healthy.
Painting a picture of where you’re going let’s others know you’re committed and in business for more than making a quick buck. Share that vision on your website and social feeds to foster community and friendship.
03 // LEGACY
How do you want to be remembered?
That’s a big question and not always easy to answer. A legacy story allows you to look at your body of work as a whole and see how it contributes to the greater good over the course of your lifetime.
Somewhat like your vision story, your legacy is the lasting impact you hope to make with your time on this planet.
Sharing that legacy fosters a greater sense of purpose and aligns you with a deep sense of fulfillment. It does the same for those who read your legacy story!
04 // PEOPLE
Maybe you’re a solopreneur or occasionally work with a freelance assistant. Either way, no matter how many people make up your company, their stories matter!
Sharing your story (usually on the About Page) or highlighting your story (or employees’) on social feeds builds rapport and fosters trust.
We want to buy and work with people who are like us – either who look/act like us or have struggled (and overcome) similar obstacles – and showcasing your story allows your ideal client to know, like and trust you (three factors that generate more income than any fancy ad campaign ever will!).
05 // CULTURE
What’s your work style? Do you blast music and take frequent coffee breaks? Or do you work in silence and total seriousness? There are no wrong answers!
Sharing your desk, work-space and work style gives people a greater sense of how you do what you do. We’re always interested in ‘behind the scenes’ stories! Don’t be afraid to share your walls covered in post-its (totally guilty of this one!) or messy desk.
Sharing your work style or ethics also gives people an opportunity to see if your business is right for them. Does it align with their style, ethics and values?
06 // PERSONALITIES
Are you always cracking jokes? Is your business tone playful and engaging? Or maybe your assistant is a die hard Friends fan? Your personality is a cornerstone of your business, don’t hide it!
Building community and engagement relies on having a personality online.
Have you ever met anyone IRL (in real life) who resembles nothing of their online persona? That. Is. The. Woooooooorst!
I’ve met someone I l admired online and who IRL turned out to be an egotistical prick (yup, I said it). That person lost me as a fan (and customer!) when they tried to pretend they were someone they weren’t.
Staying true to you will only help you in the long run.
07 // ADVERTISING & PROMOS
What kind of stories could you tell in an ad or in promotional material? What about your opt-in wording or calls-to-action? What types of images or video could be used to tell a story that attracts more viewers?
Think beyond the classical TV commercial and get creative.
Why do we look forward to the Superbowl commercials each year? Even if we don’t watch football?
It’s the stories. Regular commercials are forgettable. But Superbowl commercials? They’re crafted with purpose, values and a storyline.
When creating your own promotional material, think Superbowl.
08 // CUSTOMERS
A customer-centric approach to brand building is a hot topic in today’s marketing circles.
While many use it as a tactic, there are few who truly utilize this strategy to authentically connect with current and future clients in a way that fosters trust, rapport and friendliness.
Highlighting or sharing your clients’ stories gives potential clients the opportunity to trial your work through someone else’s experience. These stories also give your brand social credibility and increase your likability factor with other similar potential customers.
09 // EVENTS
Instead of an elevator pitch, why not share a story?
I always like to ask the question, “So why X (fitness, women’s health, etc)?” or “So why did you start your business?”
It’s easy to rattle off what you do and then awkwardly stand around while engaging in small talk. What’s also easy – and a whole lot more fun – is to ask a question that prompts a story response and see where the conversation takes you.
10 // PRODUCT / SERVICE
Does your product or service have a story to tell? A fun way to spice up a Shopify or Etsy store is create engaging mini-stories for each product. If you’re selling a service, what story could you tell that would make it stand out from services similar to yours?
Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy but it does need to be interesting and engaging.
Another great way to highlight product or service stories is through sales page copy or customer testimonials. Their journey from initial pain points to resolution is a powerful story for anyone looking to spend money with you.