Digital storytelling, also known as content marketing, has become the foundation of a strong social media strategy.
It helps businesses attract more followers, people to link back to your blog and website, and generates word of mouth and sales leads.
A blog, for example, is a great way to have a continuous dialogue with new, potential and existing customers, while positioning your business as a trusted resource in your industry.
For instance, let’s say your company sells automotive parts. Rather than just writing posts about the products you sell, you can share do-it-yourself (DIY) stories about automotive maintenance, provide your readers with tips on finding a good car mechanic, and much more.
The key is to position your business as an authority on all subjects related to your product/service, and to provide interesting and engaging stories that educate your customers and keep them coming back for more.
The New Thought Leadership
Before social media existed, this type of educational content was often referred to as thought leadership marketing. Webinars, in-person customer events, and e-newsletters have traditionally been part of the thought leadership marketing mix. Now, with the added bonus that social media provides to spread stories through word of mouth, the concept has evolved.
It’s important to be aware of the pros and cons to developing a successful digital storytelling strategy. Here are a few things to consider if you’re just getting started:
- Great stories build trust and loyalty with your customers
Through digital storytelling, you are not seen as trying to selfishly push your products. Instead, you’re supporting and empowering your customers to become more informed consumers or users of your product(s). You can also have an open conversation with your customers about their concerns or needs for future product enhancements, which will help you become a leader in your industry .
- Content marketing improves your search engine rankings
Search engine optimization (SEO) is reliant on providing relevant keywords in your content and having many links back to your website from valuable sources. Digital storytelling therefore helps to boost your efforts in this area by enabling your stories to be shared through social media platforms.
- Your stories have legs
Why tell a good story just once when you can cross-promote your content in your newsletter, via e-books, webinars, events and more. And as your story spreads, so will the word of mouth about your product.
- It takes time to build an audience and search engine rankings
The impact of digital storytelling does not happen overnight. At first, you’ll feel like you’re speaking to a very small audience (maybe just your friends and colleagues). But if you’re patient, the rewards will be tremendous as you’ll start to generate more and more sales leads and have the opportunity to truly connect with customers across the country or globe.
- Good content is not free
Just because you can start a blog, Facebook page or YouTube channel relatively cheaply does not mean that you will instantaneously drive people to those platforms. Whether you are developing the content for those channels in-house, or outsourcing to another person or business, there are costs (i.e. time, money and resources) involved to produce great content that builds an audience.
Do you have a content strategy that works well for your business? If so, please share any tips or insights about good digital storytelling strategies in the comments section below.
A version of this post was originally published on the Jugnoo blog in July 2012 and has been republished with permission.