If you don’t like hard-hitting sales pitching in your marketing, I’m with you. That’s why I’m a firm believer in stories as a powerful way to engage readers, connect with them, and bring them to your brand.
Sharing stories is a more natural approach to building a relationship with your customers. In a restaurant, for example, your marketing is a direct outgrowth of the warmth and hospitality you extend to your customers on-site.
But what I hear from clients is that they don’t know what stories to tell. They feel like they don’t have any interesting stories, or that they’ll run out of stories after a week or so.
And that’s when I share my “secret” for food businesses who want to use story marketing.
Well, actually, I have more than one “secret,” but this is the most important one:
It’s not about you. You need to shift your perspective to approaching story marketing from your customer’s point-of-view. Sometimes we’re all too close to our own products to really know what makes them great. This is the time to step back and look through your customer’s eyes.
What might they be interested in? Think about what they don’t know about your restaurant, your food product, your farm, your partners and purveyors, even your cattle and pigs (if appropriate).
How is a product prepared? How are the ingredients sourced? Where did the idea come from for this new dish?
Your stories don’t have to be dramatic or life-altering. A simple human interest story works just as well.
And for social media, you get a nice feedback loop built in; as you share different types of stories, you can quickly see which ones get shared more often, which ones garner comments, and then tailor new stories based on this info.
Honestly, for foodies, I don’t think you can run out of stories to tell that they’re not interested in!
Here’s another idea: “borrow” stories from your suppliers, customers, employees. If you’re sourcing local produce from a farmer, their stories are also your stories. What crops do they grow? What challenges do they face?
Finally, keep your marketing hat on at all times. Once you are in-the-groove to focus on looking for stories in your business, they will appear everywhere. And with just a little bit of thought, you’ll start to see where these stories should go in the social realm – “oh, perfect for Instagram,” “great Snapchat story,” “let’s tweet these daily specials.”
Stories have always been a powerful way to grab someone’s attention. Social media and the reach of the Internet means that stories are now being told – and shared – globally. At the same time, the intimacy of storytelling means that they are great for bringing together local communities around shared values or ideas.
If you want help with finding your stories, or more information on how to tell them, here are some ways I can help.