How many banner ads do you click on these days? There is a running joke about it being more likely you'll win the lottery than click on a banner ad, and current social conversations are heading in the same direction. A decade ago you could throw up any kind of banner ad and you would get a huge return on your investment, but over time businesses knew to grow their brand they would have to speak to their customers, which is what happens today and we can call it the 'social conversations age.'
Send out a tweet telling everyone about your latest product. Post a photo to Instagram letting everyone know about a new dress you have in stock. Businesses are even trying to build their online brand by writing helpful content on their blog, even though it doesn't really target anyone in particular.
Online conversations don't work anymore because nobody wants to listen. They simply don't care.
If you want to grow your online brand going forwards, you'll need to accept a huge paradigm shift from bland social conversations to a carefully-constructed narrative is needed.
When it comes to building an online brand, an amazing narrative can help you make millions of dollars.
It can help you climb above all the competitors spending too much time with online conversations destined to go nowhere. There is only a tiny little problem you need to deal with first: narrative is difficult to understand when it comes to your online brand.
We all know social conversations involve shouting about our products on a blog or social media. You tell your followers you're having a sale, or you go one step further and try to get inside their head because someone once told you talking about a product's benefits instead of features will make them more likely to buy it.
Let's just ignore everything you've been told up until now, and instead we'll go into more detail about how you can use narrative to build your online brand:
#1. Engage With Identities Instead Of Interests
If someone is interested in something they might feel the need to buy your product. If your product forms a part of their identity they will do everything within their power to get it.
Do you pay any attention to the fitness industry? Millions of people exercise every day, and although a few might force themselves to train you can say the majority of them are interested in it. Do you think they'll run home to read the latest blog posts from a business looking to promote their online brand?
Only a small percentage of them will, but the greater majority will get on with their lives doing something unrelated to fitness. On the other side of the equation, you have the people who follow Nerd Fitness, a hugely popular online brand. It's designed to target nerds, a group you wouldn't normally associate with fitness.
But that is exactly what brings them together. Nerd Fitness doesn't waste time with pointless online conversations, but instead they try to make all the fit nerds feel like they belong to a part of a community. They do this so effectively the business is run by a small team of people and they're approaching 7-figures. I mention them in particular because it's something you can relate to.
If we wanted to go all the way to the end of the spectrum we could talk about CrossFit. They don't need to have social conversations because everyone is preaching their name for them. Everyone who loves CrossFit is willing to spend much more per month than the average person who goes to the gym even though the training they do is less effective. They just need to belong to something.
#2. Focus On Attachment Instead Of Likability
Simon Sinek is the genius behind Start With Why, and his Ted talk was one of the most popular ever. He claims a customer doesn't buy what you sell, but why you sell it. In simple terms, it means they buy into your ideas and it's easy for them to spend money on something they've fallen in love with.
Don't try forcing them to like you or your product.
The ultimate example is probably a company you've seen referenced a thousand times, but the 'attachment instead of likability' is so strong it would be wrong to ignore them. The company I'm talking about is Apple, contenders to be the first company worth a trillion dollars and it's thanks to attachment. When was the last time Apple were involved in online conversations? They just release products and everyone buys them.
Steve Jobs will go down in history as a legend, but if we're being honest he wasn't a likable human being. Apple's products are worse than the competition and in a blind test most people would like an Android phone better, yet millions of Apple fans upgrade their products when a new one is released even though there is nothing wrong with the old ones.
Steve Jobs helped Pixar become the biggest animation studio in the world, and what do they do? They tell stories, like Finding Nemo, where the audience (including adults) become attached to animated characters. He did the same thing with Apple, and even though their product specs might not win on paper they don't have any competition when it comes to the story around them.
#3. Building A Connection With Customers
Someone having an attachment with an online brand might be a coincidence, but millions of people having that special connection are no accident. If you can't build it through simple social conversations, how can you get someone to bend over backward to buy your products?
It comes down to 3 little things we're going to look at now:
Potential customers must feel like they are connected to you in some way, whether they are or not. Toms Shoes gives a free pair of shoes away to someone who can't afford them when you buy a pair. Anyone who lands on their website and reads about this will feel familiar with them straight away. They will think they're charitable, even if they're not, and they won't want to buy their shoes anywhere else once they've bought the idea which has nothing to do with online conversations.
You wouldn't enjoy buying something from a company if they were only interested in your money. If you felt like they recognized you as a person it would be a completely different story. Everyone loves to feel appreciated. The only way some of the companies up against Apple survive is because they offer customers features they want as opposed to ignoring them. They would go out of business if they didn't listen to people instead of having meaningless online conversations.
Social conversations interrupt your life causing you to waste time. A powerful brand should give people hope, which isn't a waste of time. Your product should follow it up by giving them power. When they give you their money it's so you can help them become who they want to be. They want a Rolex watch because they hope it will give them power. When they finally buy the watch it should make them feel invincible. An online brand will have an easy time selling more if their products give people confidence.
The fight for narrative starts now. If you want your online brand to succeed, it's time to stop with the endless social conversations. You need to go deeper and build a narrative with your customers using everything we've talked about today. All of your competitors stuck in the 'social conversations age' won't be able to compete with you.
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