Do you feel shameless when you plug something on Facebook?
A lot of entrepreneurs I know feel cheap when it comes to selling their ideas on channels like Facebook. They feel shameless when they self-promote. In fact, there’s a term for it! Shameless plug. I see a lot of these type of posts:
“My new ebook is out on Amazon. #shamelessplug”
Watch this video from Marie Forleo first. She helps you take the shame out of self-promotion. It’s a very important mindset challenge that you need to work on first.
The Secret to Selling without Being Salesy
Tell a story. It is a must-have skill for any entrepreneur and marketer.
One of my favorite animated movies is Lego Movie. I consider it as the longest and most effective commercial ever made packaged in an entire movie. Forget about product placement. The movie is the entire product!
According to Fortune.com, Lego experienced a huge boost in sales and considered 2015 their best year ever. A large part of it was because of the film. Nothing better connects a brand to a consumer than a story.
How can you write a story?
You might say that you don’t know anything about writing a story. The truth is, we are all storytellers. You just have to find a way to harness this natural talent to tell your startup’s story. It doesn’t have to be complicated filled with plot twists.
You just have to make sure that your story has these five basic elements:
Every story should have a main character. When writing stories about yours startup, the main character is most likely you, a team member, or your customer.
Setting is the location and time of the action. Where did the story happen? Was it in your office? Was it in your customer’s own home as they were using your app or your product?
A plot is made up of events that happen in the story. A plot gives your story a beginning, middle, and end. A plot is set in motion when the main character gets in a conflict.
A story isn’t a story without a conflict. It is a challenge or a problem that the main character needs to fix. What was the main challenge you experienced in your startup recently? Asking this question gives you tons of ideas for a story.
Eventually, as the character struggles to solve the problem, he finds the resolution. How did you solve a problem that you recently encountered?
With these elements in mind, you’ll have the structure of how you can write a story that you can share on Facebook.
The great thing about telling stories is that it crosses all boundaries. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re from, telling a story makes your experience and product relatable.
Writing stories that sell takes practice. I have been writing for most of my life–from childhood to college to my professional life. But I’m practicing still.
Story in Action
Now, let’s see how smart marketers tell stories on Facebook.
One of my favorite marketers that I follow on Facebook is Nix Eniego. He tells captivating stories on his timeline.
Reasons why I love his stories:
- It’s relatable. I’m a marketer myself and reading his stories inspire me to keep getting better at my craft.
- He tells his story straight. Nix is very transparent with his strategies, and it’s just so refreshing to read the challenges he had to go through and the results.
- It’s filled with practical tips. He doesn’t just share stories. He actually tops it with action steps.
Here’s one of my favorite posts from Nix, which I think has all the elements of a story:
Nix didn’t give a specific timeline as to when his story occurred. But it’s definitely at the time when Fiverr wasn’t popular yet, and he was just starting out his career as a marketer.
Let’s break down a few events that Nix mentioned in this post:
- He used to earn $1.50 per 500 word-article.
- Het got better at SEO campaigns after a lot of practice and testing.
- He worked with rappers doing guerilla marketing, which further developed his marketing skills.
How was he going to succeed as a beginner marketer, earning so little per article?
He learned how to do well in SEO, took odd jobs, and just kept on hustling.
You see how Nix was able to manage to tell a story while promoting a latest podcast.
As a person following Nix on Facebook, I didn’t think it was salesy. His opening line, “Before all the high profile clients, there was me earning $1.50 per 500 word article.” is a great hook! Well, it worked with me. I immediately connected because I also started as an SEO writer churning out 10 articles a day for a few dollars.
I’m not the only one captivated by this post. It has 199 likes, 3 shares, and dozens of comments at the time this post was written.
This post worked for Nix in so many ways:
Practice Makes Stories
Writing a story might feel intimidating for founders who came from a technical background, but it’s definitely doable. It just takes practice.
I’m also practicing myself. Here’s a post I recently shared in my effort to practice storytelling:
What are the next steps you can do to practice storytelling?
1. Write a journal.
First, in order to be a good storyteller, you have to get into the habit of writing. Keeping a journal helps you do that. Record your worries, challenges, and progress you’ve made about your startup.
2. Start sharing on Facebook.
Even if it’s a super simple story. It doesn’t even have to be a story about your startup yet. It just needs to be a story. What was an interesting thing that happened to you at the airport or coffee shop? Is there a way you can incorporate the basic elements of a story in the post?
3. Edit your existing pitches and incorporate stories in them.
What was the challenge you personally experienced when you started your startup? Try them at different events and different people. How do people react to your pitch when it’s story driven?
Telling a story on social media channels is a great opportunity to reach more people that can learn more about your startup. You never know who’s listening on Facebook. A friend could be a potential user or a friend of a friend could be a potential investor.
Just keep practicing until you finally find your own storytelling voice.
Have you tried telling stories as a way to market your startup? How did you feel about it? What was the result? Let us know about your experience, so other founders and marketers can be inspired.