Leveraging Your Personal Story to Increase Engagement and Promote Your Brand

Nancy A. Ruffin
Jul 19, 2018 · 4 min read

With the ever increasing use and popularity of social media to connect consumers with brands, storytelling is becoming one of the most critical ways to increase consumer engagement and brand loyalty. You can see proof of this with the Live features on Facebook and Instagram. People want to connect on a more personal level and the best way to do that is by telling your story. They don’t want you to tell them why they should buy your product or why they should invest in you they want to hear why the product is important, what inspired you to create it, and how it has changed your life. When you get people engaged they begin to care and once they care they are more inclined to support you and your business.

Consumers no longer want to see pointless ads, but instead want to be able to connect on a more human level. As a writer, I am used to telling stories on paper, but sometimes what you put on paper doesn’t translate well when speaking or Live chatting. That’s why it is crucial that you know your story and you learn to tell it well. You have a small window to engage your audience before they turn the “channel” or surf to the next webpage. Reeling people in from the jump ensures your audience is invested and engaged in your story.

While some people are naturally gifted storytellers, there are strategies that each of us can employ to work for us. For starters, SKIP THE INTRO (Hi, my name is Sally and I’m from A, B, C company). While people do want to know who you are and what you do, you should not start your story by telling them who you are. Save that for whoever is doing the introduction or mention it later on in your talk. What you want to do is dive right into the plot of your story. You want to grab and keep the audience’s attention and wasting 2 minutes on explaining who you are and what you do isn’t the way to do it.

Secondly, pay attention to details. Don’t give too much, but provide enough that the audience can connect with you and your words. This is actually an area I used to struggle with because when I write I am used to painting a picture with my words. Often times, it requires me to be very descriptive and provide lots of details. When you’re constrained by time you have to give just enough to paint the picture, but not so much that you end up losing the audience.

CONNECT WITH INDIVIDUALS. Deliver one thought to one person in the room, and then turn your body and deliver another complete thought to another person. Have that moment. Eye contact is gold in storytelling. The more you can connect and pierce into somebody’s eyes, the more you can break down resistance. It’s also a good idea to step toward the audience and use hand gestures to illustrate points, rather than stay fixed and frozen in one place. It’s about being comfortable, transparent, and engaging.

Don’t Read or Memorize But KNOW YOUR STUFF. I know reading and memorizing can provide a sense of comfort because it helps ensure you don’t leave anything out, but when you do that you strip away the connection between you and your audience. You want the story to be organic, to flow. Be authentic in your delivery creates a level of comfort between you and the audience. It should feel like you’re talking to a group of friends. Meaning it should feel less preachy and more conversational. The key to delivering a compelling story is really understanding and knowing what you’re talking about. It’s your story so that should be easy, but make sure you do memorize the key points you want to make and then tailor your dialogue around that.

Know Who Your Audience Is. Understanding your demographic base and audience is absolutely key when trying to engage and develop your brand through storytelling. Make sure you understand their needs and wants and then cater accordingly. You want to provide just enough information to leave them wanting more. That is what’s going to get them to come back. Your story should inspire, but also generate a call to action. You want the audience to feel motivated and empowered. You want them to seek you out to provide whatever they’ve been missing and it’s your job to communicate that to them.

When we share our personal stories of struggles, trials, and triumphs people really connect to that. Because who hasn’t encountered struggle or obstacles in their lives? We all have and by sharing our stories and being transparent about our shit we give others permission to accept their own struggles. It’s not the struggle that keeps us down it’s deciding to not do something about it. When we see others win and triumph it’s a reminder that if they can, we can too!

Nancy A. Ruffin

Written by

Author & Host of The EmpowHERment Hour Podcast. Mamipreneur juggling the dynamics of motherhood & entrepreneurship and empowering others to do the same.