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How to tell a story that builds your customer base.

Firstly, let’s get something straight. There is no such thing as digital storytelling.

There’s only telling a story in an age of digital media. So, storytelling has the same impact it had around the traditional campfire. But now a campfire is replaced with facebook or twitter as the setting for the story. The challenge is that at any given time hundreds of “campfire” stories are unfolding within your neck of the woods all at the same time. To convince like-minded people to join your campfire can prove daunting.

I would argue that a good story is much more than just quickly combining a few words together with a picture and passing it around the campfire. When a good story is produced with drama, intrigue, comedy and is technically sound for the digital age, you will attract people to your campfire, and keep them coming back.

There are a lot of reasons for a story to prove to be outstanding in the digital age:

  1. The story is unique and unexpected. Unexpected content is one of the three ingredients for a successful viral according to Kevin Allocca in his great TED talk on what makes videos go viral on YouTube, a lesson that also works for other forms of content.
  2. The story is told in the public space, in ‘active communities’. The streets, Facebook, general media: all the places where the story happens are easily accessible for most people and designed to foster discussion.
  3. The story is about the audience. Treat your audience as a hero whenever you tell them something. People should not only be involved and directly addressed, it should be their story, the thing they are telling, to make it stand out. People usually listen to themselves. Hint: Testimonials are key.
  4. The story helps create real life connections, it solves a real world problem. The most heavily discussed issues on youtube, are “how to do, solve, find, etc” something … when you solve a problem for someone it turns your follower from simply interested into highly enthusiastic.

The “digital” should never be the focus of your endeavor. Success in your social media endeavors is when the “digital” fades into the powerful emotion and drama of the story being told around the “campfire” of your online marketing.