Tips for Telling Your Company’s Story

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shutterstock_279711674In a consumer world full of websites and apps that direct customers to the cheapest gas, best deals and lower-priced everything, it can be increasingly difficult to earn customer loyalty. Sometimes your business can’t or won’t compete on price for products and services, so you must gain customer attention through other means.

Making that human connection with a customer through telling your company’s story is one such way to get that attention. There is a collection of consumers out there that want their purchasing power to have meaning and to make a difference in the world. These are the people who bestow loyalty to companies that have a compelling story.

There are many ways to tell your company’s story, but here are a few tips to get you started.

 

Be Relatable

Consumers want to know that you understand them. By understanding them, you are better equipped to serve them. If your company was founded because you had a personal problem and you created something for yourself to solve that problem, that’s relatable.

Everyone has problems but not everyone is equipped to solve them. The fact that you have an MBA from Harvard may be the thing that equipped you to solve your own problem, but the masses won’t relate to that.

They will relate, however, to someone identifying a need and taking matters into their own hands to meet that need. It is something they wish they could do for themselves, but will accept your help now because you’ve already paved the way.

 

Promote Your Ethics

Back to that group of consumers that want their buying power to make a difference the world – they chose companies that align with their personal ethical views. They are looking for companies that treat their vendors and employees fairly, that have robust corporate social responsibility programs in place and that give back to their communities through charitable actions.

Look at the response REI got when it launched its #optoutside campaign and announced it was closing stores on Black Friday. Consumers that had never shopped at REI flooded social media to commit to shopping at REI because the company took a stand against the consumerism of the holiday season. Instead, it took significant steps to support its values of getting people active in the outdoors.

 

Create a Timeline

If part of your company’s draw is the long history it has in its area of expertise, use a timeline to show that history. Timelines are impactful because they give a visual representation of how far your company has come and garners trust in your products and services because you’ve kept your business open for a long period of time.

Take Arrow Cattlequip’s historic timeline, for example. Its timeline shows that not only has it been in business for 27 years, but it has also grown from a single family ranch into a global operation. That tells customers that Arrow Cattlequip understands their needs because they were once a small operation too. Also, its products are of good quality because it was able to build a corporation based on them.

 

Use Data

You can tell your story by using data pertinent to your business and presenting it in a quickly and easily digestible manner – also known as an infographic. Infographics can be used to show customers how to get the most of your products and services, how well you know them by providing demographical information or to share your company’s success story.

 

Made a Video

Telling your business story face to face, virtually of course, can be incredibly powerful. Again, it all harkens back to the consumer’s need to feel a human connection. Reading words on a computer screen can be a cold and lonely experience, but watching a video complete with emotive background music and the faces of the storytellers is inclusive and inviting. Social media makes sharing videos easy and very cost-effective.

YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Periscope all allow businesses to connect with consumers of all ages across the globe for little to no cost. The weight behind online shared content can make any business an overnight global success.

 

Make It Personal

Does your company have a mission, service or product that draws in employees and customers alike? Get your employees out in front of your customers and allow them to share their personal experiences working for the company. Letting customers see the real people behind the scenes that are providing their products or services allows for a trustworthy connection.

Let your satisfied customers draw in new customers by allowing them to share their experiences. Using customer testimonials to tout the quality of your products and services builds trust with would-be customers. Customers are going to talk about their experiences with your company whether you are listening or not, so tuning in will allow you to show gratitude for the positive feedback and manage the negative feedback.

 

Telling your company’s story in a compelling and relatable manner can be one of the best marketing tools available to you. Better than deep discounts that drive fickle business, building a loyal customer base that chose your company because you have shared values is the key to long-lasting success.


Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career

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Every CEO Should Invest in their Company’s Employee Advocacy Program

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Every CEO Should Invest in their Company's Employee Advocacy Program

Chief Executive Officers may have been the last to join the social media revolution, but they are slowly starting to catch up with the rest. The latest numbers have up to 80 percent of global CEOs engaged on social media although newer CEOs are participating 52 percent more than their tenured counterparts. On the other hand, these CEOs are mainly vested in LinkedIn accounts and efforts generated from the company’s own website. In 2014, zero CEOs reported using Facebook–down from 10 percent the previous year. There were no CEOs on Google+, and only ten percent were using Twitter.

The statistics reveal that CEOs are starting to embrace social media a bit, but they also show that there is considerable room for improvement. This is especially true for networks where customers are most likely to be rather than other CEOs and business professionals. Up to 32 percent of North American employees are contributing content on behalf of the company to expand the reach of current branding efforts and create new channels for drawing in new customers. Their executive officers are not.

CEOs and Employee Advocacy in Social Media

Social media is now as mainstream as television, radio, and other media outlets. Almost every single one of the top 100 brands in the world are using YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Facebook recently achieved an astonishing benchmark: 1 billion people logged in to the social network in a single day for the first time–that is one out of every seven people on Earth. The ubiquitous nature of today’s social media has provided companies with active channels to promote marketing activities, boost customer service and retention actions, recruit new employees, and keep tabs on the competition.

Because there is often little overlap between a company’s activity on social media and the activity of the company’s employees, there is a tremendous opportunity to significantly broaden the reach of branding, advertising, and recruiting efforts with an employee advocacy program. Many people are inadvertently advertising their ambassador status when they list an employer on their social media profiles. Employee advocacy takes this a step further by supporting and encouraging intentional communication and sharing of content with an employee’s social network.

In order to maximize these efforts, a leadership team must not only guide employees through the process of distributing content on social media, but also to ensure that employee contributions benefit the company and stay away from troublesome contributions. The executive team must also support and participate in employee advocacy programs if they are to be successful.

Executive participation shows an understanding of the power behind advocacy programs and a willingness of the company to embrace activities that will effectively change the culture within the enterprise. Aside from being good leaders by example, CEO participation also shows a willingness to buy in to the measure as employees may not want to participate in sharing the company’s message when the CEO is not willing to do it either.

A Starting Point for Social CEOs

For CEOs that have shied away from social media so far, or for those who are only engaging in peer networks and activities, employee advocacy programs can provide a natural launching point to start joining networks that have greater visibility. As CEOs become advocates for the businesses they are running, they demonstrate acceptance of the fact that social business is the new normal and not a passing trend. The result is greater visibility for the company, and an increase in value of the CEO to the enterprise.

Even more importantly, when the leadership of a company becomes involved in social media programs, it encourages more employees to participate. A recent Gallup report shows that companies with engaged employees are 21 percent more productive than their disengaged counterparts. In other words, CEOs can indirectly affect the productivity levels of their employees by encouraging engagement with the company and, therefore, boost the profitability of the entire enterprise.

While CEOs may not have to be as active as their employee advocates, in a time when an increasing amount of value is placed on an individual’s level of social media savvy, it would be a mistake for CEOs to pass by this opportunity to join the social media movement and become part of the culture that is spreading throughout businesses worldwide. It would be an even bigger mistake for CEOs not to support the establishment and provide enough resources for their won internal employee advocacy program.

Want to learn more about employee advocacy? Check out these resources:

I’m curious: Is your CEO the biggest champion of your employee advocacy program?

Maximize Social Business

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