Social Strategics – Followers into Customers Part 1

You are getting loads of ‘Likes’ and Retweets, perhaps you are even lucky enough to get shares and comments on some of your posts, but that just isn’t converting into sales or more business, what do you do?

What do you do if you are a heart based business who has no interest at all in a sales pitch and corporate sales approach? What if doing that makes you so uncomfortable you could curl up in a ball and hide?

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In this series of posts I will show you ways to create the kind of posts using language and conversation you already use daily and turn your fans and followers into paying customers and brand advocates.

Tell Brand Stories – everyone tells stories all the time, in conversations with friends every conversation is littered with cool stories, they make you laugh, they make you cry, they make you go “Oh”.

A good narrative is not an ad or a sales pitch—it has an emotional factor that harnesses the communal element of storytelling, bringing people together and connecting them through shared experiences. A powerful and effective brand story communicates to customers how your service can impact their daily lives. Identify and study the patterns of the people your products serve, and use this understanding to develop a brand narrative.

One important fact you need to remember in all this story telling, brand story telling is not just one post , image or article; IT IS THE SUM TOTAL OF EVERYTHING YOU SAY AND EVERY STORY YOU TELL ABOUT YOUR BRAND – consistency is key, be consistent in your personality, your message, your vision.

What cool stories can you tell about your brand and your products or services?

  • Could you tell the one about the client who came to you with a problem to solve who went home not only with the initial problem solved but even more than they bargained for?
  • Could you tell the one about how your product can be used to create amazing results e.g. if you’re selling a hedge clipper a pic of an amazing topiary would create a story in your audiences mind that tells the story of how they could create something like that if they bought your hedge clipper.
  • Could you tell the one about how you came across the product or service when your need was dire and found your answer?
  • Could you tell how you use these products yourself in your own life because of the effect they have and the problems they solve for you?
  • Could you tell a story that’s quirky, fun or just plain weird that captures the imagination and compels more sharing – here I am going to inject another caveat BE SURE ANYTHING YOU POST THAT IS QUIRKY IS YOUR HUMOUR AND WITHIN YOUR GUIDELINES it is not meant to make you look silly but to allow your audience to connect authentically with your humanity and humour.

These are stories we tell daily, imagine if I asked you where’s the best coffee shop in town what would you say? Immediately you would tell me the name of a your fav coffee place and then tell me why it’s your fav, wouldn’t you? This is the art of conversational recommendation and we all know how to do it, we have just not yet applied it to our own products and services.

I don’t want you do hard sell anything or become pitchy or advertorial in your heart based marketing, I want you to recommend your products and services because you use them, and are passionate about them, and they are the whole reason you got into this business in the first place.

One small interjection here: If the last statement does not apply to your products and services then perhaps a rethink is in order right now!

So how do you pull stories out of your organization and tell them in a way that relates to your customer? Remember my catch cry “Meet them where THEY are”, you have to be relevant to your perfect customer for this to work and that takes some preparation. You have to give them what they want right now using the What’s In It For Me, formula and create an emotional bond between the product or service your business offers and your perfect customer who will come out of that audience who is already engaging with your content.

Let’s start with a few characteristics of a compelling story:

It’s true. Make truth and authenticity the cornerstone of everything you create. Your marketing content should feature real people, real situations, genuine emotions and facts. As much as possible, it should show, not tell. It should explain–in terms people can relate to–how your company adds value to the lives of your customers.

It’s human. Even if your company sells to other companies, focus on how your products or services touch the lives of real people. By the way, when writing about people, follow this rule: Be specific enough to be believable and universal enough to be relevant. (That’s a gem from my writing school days.) Apply the “they didn’t come to buy a shovel, they came because they needed a hole”, to everything you write about your brand.

It’s original. Your story should offer a fresh perspective: What’s interesting about your company? Why is that important?

It serves the customer. I’ve read many brand stories that were badly produced or just flat-out boring. According to writing teacher Don Murray: “The reader doesn’t turn the page because of a hunger to applaud.” In today’s marketing context, that applies to anything you produce: video, audio, slideshows. Armed with these fundamentals, ask yourself some questions:

  • What is unique about your business?
  • What is interesting about how it was founded? About the founder? What’s YOUR SUPERPOWER?
  • What problem is your company trying to solve in a YOUnique way?
  • What inspired the business?
  • What “aha” moments have you had?
  • How has your business evolved?
  • What’s a non-obvious way to tell your story? Can you look to analogy or metaphor instead of example?
  • What about your business that you consider normal and mundane would others think is cool?

A big brand version of storytelling done exceptionally well, it’s watchable, engaging and emotional

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTbLBL2P6YA]

An example of quirky of storytelling done well:

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The Dis-ease Created by Trying to Be Normal

normal-funny-quotesI remember the feeling of being torn apart as a child, of knowing, yes knowing deep within that magic was real and my parents fear of my belief completely at odds with this knowing inside of me that their words, fear and anger could never shake.

I felt like an alien, born to the wrong family, a mistake had been made and as I grew older my wish and hope that I had been adopted, as these people who had so little in common with me couldn’t possibly be my real parents.

This feeling of disconnect, of not being loved unless I conformed followed me and no matter how fast I ran from it I am sad to say it eventually caught up with me and enveloped me in a fog of normalcy as the pressure to stay true to the magic I felt within corroded that intimate connection with my souls essence and blanketed my own magic. Always the ‘good girl’, the responsible oldest child and always expected to mother my brothers when my own mother wasn’t up to the task and eventually ‘mother’ her against my will, I became at least outwardly who my loved ones expected me to be.

The weight of their opinion was just too great to bear, and when I married I like most young people with unfinished business married a man who had just as many perhaps more fears than both my parents. The ‘real’ me popped her head above the fog occasionally and was immediately shut down again by the fear in my parents and spouses attitude, this went on for years.

The real me, could never be fully extinguished though, there was just too much of the imaginer in me, she could see and hear the trees as they ‘got happy’ before approaching rain, she could speak to dragons and she always knew the ‘why’ of people. Because I could always see other people’s why’s I knew when they were lying and still do, did you know most people lie to themselves way more than they lie to others?

This innate and natural ability to see others why’s I believe is what made it so easy for me to give in to conformity, as when you understand another’s why, you understand their fears and are able to forgive them. You understand they are not trying to hurt you, not really, they are just trying to make themselves feel safe, but this lead to me repressing my own magic to allow my loved ones to feel secure that they were right, and it was many years before I found the spark that lead to my release from the bonds of responsibility this ability of mine chained me with.

What was that spark? It was the realisation that by allowing them to feel safe in their cage, I was keeping them from fulfilling their true purpose, from finding their own magic and freeing themselves from the chains that bound them to ‘normalcy.’

I almost allowed myself to die before I understood this one fact that has helped shape my life from that point on. It is not my job to allow you to stay in your cage, I must at least unlock the door and open it by not agreeing with popular opinion and staying true to my own magic and not conforming.

420110_640x640wcBy being me openly even if by doing so I confront your idea of normal, to provide a different point of view and to share the real reality that there are infinite possibilities available to everyone in every moment and it is their choice whether they take advantage of them. There is no ‘normal’ there is only possibility and unique variations, and scientifically speaking the universe loves to create, to change and revels and supports the magnificence of individuality.

Once I understood this, there was no going back, and I decided I was not going to die just to keep the status quo, in fact I would rather die to disrupt it.

When I tell you I nearly died keeping the status quo I mean it, as a result of being trapped by the opinions of those I felt were stronger than me, by the time I was 30 I developed dis-ease, a dis-ease known as Multiple Sclerosis and ended up in a wheelchair and a death sentence of just 5/6 years at the age of 34. Everyone who feels stuck or trapped is actually dying, one way or another, you may feel so depressed you can’t get out of bed in the mornings, or so trapped you develop pain, or so repressed you develop cancer however you manifest the dis-ease you are feeling about your life, it all amounts to the same thing.

How do I know this? Because when I developed Multiple Sclerosis and ended up in that wheelchair, the ‘normal’ thing to do would have been to believe the doctors and to keep the status quo and die on cue. But I didn’t, in fact I recovered which is so not normal, and now even my doctors are having to re-evaluate their beliefs, now you have to love that?

Let me tell you normal is an illusion, there is no normal and if someone asked you to be normal, ask them to define it, you will find they cannot. Normal is a made up state and is different to everyone, every culture , family and individual has their own standard and they are all different. Which version of normal is the right one?

If there is no normal, then what are you afraid of? Other peoples opinion? That my lovely is none of your business.

Tell me about the ways you keep the status quo in your world.

Tell me about your yearning to break free.

What chains do you loop around yourself to appear ‘normal?’

Then tell me what small step you will make today to loose those chains and to pick the lock on that cage.

[su_box title=”Mastering Chaos” box_color=”#2aaba1″]#This post is an excerpt out of the notes I am making for my book Mastering Chaos. I started writing it years ago and got stalled both by life and by a lack of motivation to continue. Now I am picking up the threads again with loads of new experiences under my belt and will share some of my notes as I write with you.[/su_box]

G.O.O.S. ing it! Getting Out of Stuck

get out of stuckI once had a teacher write on my report card, “Anne is bright and quiet but has no fire. She will never amount to anything.” he he well I proved him wrong didn’t I?

Loads of life experience later and after a long year of extremely long hours and hard work….

Recently I had to G.O.O.S. it! myself, to move away from this project I had put so much heart and soul into, so much of myself and had huge plans for and had so much potential.. that even as I was leaving the potential of what could be was tugging at me.

After spending all of last year helping to make tangible the potential of Pathways Wellness Centre, I had to admit it was just a project pit-stop that helped me to realise that I DO have it within me to take an idea and use my skills, talents, experience and education to create something with massive potential for success. What a ride! One I will be eternally grateful for.

I had to let go because it just wasn’t going to work out on any level no matter what I did, and I had to admit it to myself. There were just too many obstacles and no flow for me there any more and if I really, really admit the truth to myself, I knew it right from the beginning. You know that saying about people telling you ‘who they really are’ within the first few moments of meeting them and how you ought to listen to this and believe it first time. The same thing can be said of projects and opportunities, you can MAKE them work, but it is all just such hard work.

When you find yourself fighting with your team for even the simplest changes that you know are just good business, it’s time to re-evaluate everything. No flow, no go!

I want to hear about all the places you feel stuck in your life… Are you afraid of missing out on something if you leave? Are you stuck because of worrying about what others will think if you leave or unstick yourself? Are you fearful of what might happen if you leave or unstick yourself? Afraid of the unknown or even what success on your own terms might mean?

fear of mediocrityThese are the main reasons we become and stay stuck where we are, I am here to ask you if there is a part of you that is more afraid of mediocrity, more afraid of spending your whole life with your song unsung? Could you be motivated to G.O.O.S. it!

What if I told you that the world is waiting for you to awaken to your YOUnique magic and unleash it as a force for good? Think about it and get back to me

This note is just to let the universe know that I understand the lessons and am now ready for it to awaken to the big picture of my life for the universe to reveal it to me in ways that make my dreams come true. I am putting it out there that I am now ready for the doorway to my true purpose to open and reveal the infinite possibilities awaiting me.

Now I am on the threshold of something new and I don’t even know what it is yet, the freedom I feel is worth all the uncertainty, a new adventure is about to open it’s doors and I cannot wait. Better the freedom to sing my song than staying stuck in something that was creating so much angst and unhappiness don’t you think?