You may have heard it several times over, especially in the past couple years, but I think it will ring true in 2013 more than ever: Stories are going to fuel business, organizations and products in 2013, and social media is going to play a big role in those stores. It's been proven that stories have a different effect on the mind. Stories draw people in and make them feel something. Your success or failure will depend on what you make people feel, and we feel something when we connect with a story. When we connect with a story, we want to share that with our friends, family and the rest of the world.
I think Jeff Jones, the CMO of Target said it well when he was recently interviewed about Target's marketing strategy in 2013:
"In the past, marketers would make campaigns, they would put them in the world, and they would wait to see what happened. In today’s world, it happens hourly. It happens daily. And this is a brand that has such enriched deep content that our guests want to hear from us on. So if we can create content and share content and allow our guests to speak on our behalf, that’s really beneficial for them to deepen their engagement and it helps us amplify our message as well."
As a business, your goal should be to create content that speaks well for your company and tells a story we can connect with. I don't want to get too entrenched in the science of storytelling, but it actually is quite interesting what a story causes to happen in the human mind. You can read more here. This is evident in the new movie "Lincoln." As I was watching this film, I was entranced by the storytelling ability that was portrayed by Abraham Lincoln. Whether or not this was accurate of Lincoln's life, the portrayal I see in this film was enough to convince me that storytelling has such an amazing ability to capture someone's mind and communicate a message. If you haven't seen the film yet, I would highly recommend it, if for no other reason than to see this storytelling in action.
So what should your marketing look like in 2013? Your marketing should tell a story. Tell someone a story. Compel them to share it with their friends and family. Better yet, make it easier than ever for someone to share your story over social media. People will share your story and social media will be how they do it. Create an experience around social media, and you'll get more traction than you could imagine.
So what are some next steps? It's always good to have resources to go to for help. A book I would recommend is called "All Marketers are Liars" by Seth Godin. A conference I would recommend is Story and it actually takes place right here in Chicago.
Now, stop trying to push your message on people, and instead tell a story and compel people to share that story. That is how you will win in 2013.
Josh Burns is the director of web & social media at Park Community Church in Chicago, IL. He loves helping businesses and organizations learn more about how they can use social media to grow and share their story. He is also an avid blogger at joshburns.net.