I was struck by some of Bill Liao’s words at a Carlow Enterprise Board lunch on Thursday. Since I heard of coderdojo and started to bring my children to it, I’ve been an admirer of Bill and his philosophy on life. I love that children (100 groups in Ireland, 250 across the globe) are voluntarily learning how to code, learning skills that could prove hugely useful and career-making for some as they proceed to adulthood. And it all started from a leaving certificate student in Cork in collaboration with Bill Liao.
Build on your stories for success today.
Money is less important than you think.
Change your story in order to be a contributor – make a difference.
Your story is vital to your brand.
The above are four statements, four quotes, that I tweeted from Bill Liao’s speech. As he said, the traditional means of selling such as advertising and cold calling are becoming less successful and hence, less popular. The way people engage with those they purchase from is also changing. Perhaps, in the same way that our forefathers purchased from those they knew in the nearest town or village, we are now purchasing from those we know and engage with in our ‘global village’.
Therefore, in order to maximise business success, or the success of any project, it is a good idea to share your story, the story of your business, with your potential customers. Think about your recent purchases – what proportion of them were from businesses you ‘know’ because they are in your local town or that you know of them because of their Pinterest presence or you read their blog? I shop local as much as possible or buy from those I know online.
Social media is the perfect vehicle for your business to engage with those who may purchase from you.
How To Tell Your Business Story Via Your Blog
People buy from people – if they can be assured of the quality of your product, your level of expertise, your high standards of customer service. Answer the following questions in your blog post or on your ‘about us’ page – Why does your business exist, why are you so passionate about it, why do people buy from you, what benefits do you provide people with, what questions do you answer?
Your business blog is the perfect place to demonstrate your company’s personality, what makes it tick, share its successes, and as people appreciate transparency, share occasional struggles too especially if you can show how you overcame them.
If your business involves selling antique furniture and it has been in the family for generations, share that story with your readers. Include a photo of your great grandfather who started the business, his son and his son. Share how the business has evolved over the years, how the emphasis on quality and customer service ensured the business survived and flourished through good and bad times and how it will evolve in the future. Show where some of your furniture is going, is it going into old traditional buildings or is it also be purchased by those in contemporary homes? Demonstrate that quality antique pieces of furniture are an investment, they are extremely unlikely to depreciate in value and are a piece to be cherished by future generations. Blog posts could tell the stories of individual pieces of furniture – where they came from, how they were made, how they might have been used.
Many newspapers and magazines now feature business success stories, often with an emphasis currently on women starting a business from the kitchen table or men, having been made redundant, creating a successful business from a hobby. If your blog and website tell your story well, it is much more likely to be picked up by journalists and featured in relevant publications.
If your story is compelling, interesting or engaging, others will share it too. One wonderful example is that of Annie Sloan, a decorative painter, an author of various book on painting techniques and creator of Annie Sloan chalk paints. Sloan has become hugely popular in recent years and much of that success has been down to her followers, the interior design bloggers who found her products and wrote about them. Each piece of furniture that was transformed by her paintwork became a story in itself for each blogger. On her own blog, she shares stories of paintwork and paint colours – all which work to make her paint more tangible for her potential customers and yes, the next piece of furniture I paint – I’ll be using Annie Sloan!
Stories can also be revealed on your Pinterest account – anyone glancing at your boards should be able to tell what the business is, what your passions are and also what your non-business passions or hobbies might be. My own Pinterest account shows numerous social media boards (some of which are shared boards) and they also demonstrate my enjoyment of crochet, reading and interiors, not to mention beautiful scenery, architecture and farming.
Do share one of your business stories with us and how you communicate it via your use of social media. If you are struggling to think of one, it often helps if you ask a loyal customer or one of your staff what comes to their mind when they consider the roots of your business.