In the current consumer marketplace, digital marketing is often inseparable from a good brand story. Almost every digital platform tends to promote narrative content in some form or another. The majority of leading social media apps have integrated “story” functions that encourage users to engage with their followers by arranging content into a narrative structure and using it to bring people up to date on what is new in their feeds.
This practice has a great deal of brand potential, and many ecommerce firms and digital marketing companies have long since capitalized on it. If you’re new to digital marketing, you should endeavor to do the same. And even if you have an established brand presence on the internet and social media, there’s a good chance you could benefit from refining your brand story and taking a close look at the ways in which you can convey it to consumers.
What Is Your Story?
A brand story can take many forms and it’s rare that a brand has only one such story that’s worth communicating. From its inception, every business has a story to tell about its founding and its purpose, and this story will continue to develop alongside the company’s digital marketing strategy. A company’s origin story, if well told, will resonate with some of its earliest and most dedicated customers, and interaction with those customers will give the company a better sense of the further stories it should try to tell.
Some of those stories will come from the company itself, while some will come directly from the consumer. Testimonials are a key example of brand story that pre-dates digital marketing but has become especially important in the era of social media. If your digital marketing strategy involves daily engagement with consumers, it should also yield ample opportunities for you to pick up on compelling stories about people’s experiences with your product or service.
These stories, too, can feed back into the narratives you’re presenting about your business itself. As connections to your customers grow and expand, those relationships can become their own form of story, telling other prospective customers about how public feedback and employees’ personal experiences have contributed to the development of new product lines, the adjustment of company practices, and even the alteration of digital marketing strategies.
How Do You Tell It?
Whatever type of story you or your digital marketing team are focusing on at any given time, there is a wealth of different ways in which it can be conveyed to the consumer. As with the stories themselves, it is often a good idea to use each of them in conjunction and to allow them to build off of one another. And as you do so, your digital marketing analysts will most likely acquire valuable data about how people are engaging with different types of content, and how likely they are to return for more, or to follow the links from one story to another.
The aforementioned social media “story” features are certainly one example of an outlet for the narrative content of your digital marketing strategy. However, it bears mentioning that that form of narrative is usually visual in nature, or at least fairly light on words. This is, of course, not what most people think of when they hear the word “story,” but in the current landscape of digital marketing it is increasingly the preferred way for consumers to process narrative information on-the-fly.
This is not to say that modern consumers don’t still have an appetite for more in-depth stories, told in a more traditional way. It’s just that those kinds of stories are best reserved for consumers whose attention you have already captured. These could include people who have subscribed to your email list, people who have clicked through to the about page of your website, and people who return to that site on a semi-regular basis to read your blog.
In each of these cases, there is an opportunity for you to maintain connections to those consumers by presenting your business as a living, breathing thing – a story that is still being told, and one that makes them want to return for the next chapter. Email-based digital marketing campaigns can serve as an ecommerce analogue to a movie premiere or an advance copy of a book, allowing dedicated consumers to feel as if they’ve been told what is happening before anyone could get the story via an ordinary, mass digital marketing platform.
What Does It Do?
It’s no easy matter to achieve such success with your digital marketing that your consumers will regularly check back for detailed stories about your company. But if your digital marketing team can get you to that point, the benefits may continue to accumulate for the foreseeable future.
Such success means that highly-engaged consumers are more likely to tell their own stories about your company via testimonials, social media posts, and so on. And this in turn provides a cache of content that your digital marketing firm can more-or-less freely draw upon in generating new content and sketching out new stories for your brand.
Consumer testimonials can be assembled into blog posts and positioned on a website or social media feed in a way that tells a story about customer service, product satisfaction, or an overall productive relationship between buyers and sellers. Feedback of all kinds can be channeled into social media stories, complete with accompanying information or reactions from the company itself. These in turn may catch the attention of casual followers in ways that don’t seem like pushy advertising.
That difference is essential to digital marketing strategies as a whole. Consumers are more and more jaded about the advertising that they are being fed on a daily basis, but much less so about good faith efforts to convey information about a brand to persons who are sincerely interested. Those efforts are most recognizable when the brand is clearly aiming to tell a story, rather than make a sales pitch, and then consumers are much more likely to pay attention and find the content of a would-be sales pitch on their own.