How to use storytelling to engage more customers

Customers are driven by emotions. So, recalling stories that contain emotional cues makes it easier to attract and persuade current and potential customers.

Just as “a picture is worth a thousand words” a well-told story in words, pictures and video has the power to capture the imagination, and to connect your information or message in a way that promotes action.

Aristotle said stories that persuade need… Pathos – Emotional Connection, Ethos ­– Credibility, Logos ­ Logic and Kairos – Timing.

In 2019, social media is the channel for that story. It is a cost-effective channel that business owners can use to tell their stories and promote the story behind who they are and what they have to offer.

Developing great ideas and storylines isn’t too difficult, and with a simple process you can put together a persuasive campaign to engage your customers using storytelling.

How to Use Storytelling in Social Media

Storytelling transmits a message without coming across as a faceless brand blasting out marketing messages. Storytelling is also way for your brand to cut through digital noise saturation by engaging in meaningful interactions with existing or prospective customers.

If social media is what people use to express their personal brand – what they value, what they stand for, what they love – then it makes sense for brands to act more like people. This is where the idea of developing and expressing your brand personality comes from.

When someone follows your venue on Facebook or Instagram, they are virtually declaring their admiration of you and how your brand in some way reflects or represents their values, tastes and personality (or at least how they would like to be seen by others.) Whether it’s a follow, like, photo, video/Instagram post or story about your venue, a share or a comment – your brand acquires the credibility that comes from another person relating to the experience you created or provided  then sharing it with others.

Stories have a beginning, middle and end. They have characters with personalities that resonate with us emotionally and there are plots and story arcs that involve conflict, complications, drama, resolutions and happy endings.

Some Examples of Storytelling Post Types:

  • Share posts using staff (with their permission), about their official/quirky position description and how they bring value to your venue and food offering. What do you love about their personalities? Do they have a special skill?
  • Create a mini drama – How will John take this box of vegetables and turn it into a masterpiece salad?
  • Share something that is happening behind the scenes in the kitchen – happy accidents, victories, or even bloopers.
  • Share an image of a dish that has captured your or the head chef’s interest, and explain why it is inspiring.
  • Create a video (or 15 sec time lapse for short format) showing all the steps, care and love that goes into creating and plating a signature dish or dessert – complete with the wow response when the customer receives it.
  • Video a regular customer (with their permission) testing a new dish and providing you with their feedback. Do this over a month until you ‘hit the jackpot’ with just the right seasoning and get the desired emotional response.
  • Share a handy tip or life hack to add value – tips that could enhance your audience’s lifestyles.
  • Tell the story behind your business name, your immigration story, your food philosophy or nanna’s recipe.

You can learn more about Storytelling in this tip sheet, “The How and Why of Storytelling in Social Media.

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