How Brand Storytelling Is the Missing Link to Building a Loyal Community of Followers

Don't confuse storytelling with marketing.

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Prior to becoming a full-time branded content consultant and speaker, Melanie Deziel leveraged her degrees in journalism from the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University to lead the content creation and strategy for The New York Times, HuffPost Partner Studio and Time Inc’s portfolio of 35-plus media properties.

At Social Media Marketing World 2018, I had a chance to catch up with Deziel to discuss the differences between marketing and storytelling, which are often mistaken as being one in the same.

In the interview above we discuss the following key differences and strategies around both tactics including:

Marketing is trying to sell whereas storytelling is trying to connect, entertain or inspire your audience.

The reality is that most C-suite executives aren’t consuming Snapchat or Instagram Stories on the regular, which is why a clear distinction should be made.

As I explained recently to an executive at a well-known Fortune 500 brand, your story is what makes your company human and relatable -- not your products or services, which is what you sell.

In today’s day and age, people want to feel connected to the brands that they buy from, which is why social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even LinkedIn are placing high emphasis on real-time video content such as Stories and live video. When used as tools, these content formats help you transform your company’s sales and marketing department into a newsroom with insights and updates as told by real people such as employees and influencers.

The key to storytelling is what makes you stand out, which is what most companies struggle with conveying.

I often suggest that brands begin with their own employees who can articulate why they like working for their organization and show what “a day in the life” on their job looks like and then scale outward by engaging existing customers and influencers who can be the face and voice of the brand as well.

As Deziel and I discussed, content is like dating and “hooking up.” If it looks good and appealing then you’re likely to stick around and consume, engage and hopefully buy from the brand.

While more brands and creators shift their focus away from traditional digital marketing into storytelling, many struggle with the reality that the "view" metrics aren’t going to quickly be in the thousands overnight. That's why it’s important to leverage existing communities like Reddit and even Instagram hashtags to get your content in front of users who might not follow you (yet) but rather follow the topic of discussion or subject matter.

Watch more videos from Carlos Gil on his YouTube channel here.

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