Arlington, TX

Local Arlington Resident Shares How to Use Storytelling in Business

Kyle Smith

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One of the most important things we do as business leaders is to communicate with our customers, clients, and readers. But sometimes we struggle with knowing how to do this effectively. You’re in for a treat today because my guest is going to show how to use the power of storytelling to communicate your message in a way that people already love.

If you’re like me, you have probably spent a lot of time during this quarantine watching movies and TV shows. Why is it that we can easily spend hours getting lost in those stories … yet we don’t usually look forward to communication from businesses? What is getting lost in translation?

I recently spoke with local Arlington resident Amber Royer. She’s also a novelist and writing teacher. She’s the creator of the Chocoverse science fiction series, and in fact, the third book in the series, Fake Chocolate, was recently released.

In this conversation, Amber is going to teach us a few basic storytelling principles and how to use these for business. You’ll also learn why it’s important to read fiction as a business leader and how to get started writing fiction. Here is some of my conversation. (My questions are in bold.)

What is it about stories that draws you in personally?

Well, we are literally wired to respond to story. The brain wants to know how other people survived. So that we can apply that in our own lives without having to step in front of the danger that those other people stepped in front of. So it kind of it hits us on a level that's very, very basic.

Yeah. And so even if the story doesn't appeal to you as a concept, so You know, if you're not into fiction, think of the people that you're communicating with, and how you're going to connect to them and how you're going to hit their brain on such a visceral level. If you tell them stories, it also lets them know you as a person, because not all stories are fiction.

For someone who doesn't consider themself to be a storyteller, how could he or she apply story to their business?

I would say go on Instagram, and make your business and Instagram account because Instagram is about images, and story. And you make it personal. We want those examples. Testimonials are just a form of story that endorses your business. So if you're doing a business, remember we connect to people as people. And when people start to tell their personal stories, then we start to engage with them. We don't see the face of the business. We see our five friends who run this coffee place, and we want to come in and hang out. So that would be the first step.

Why do you recommend Instagram?

Because there are a lot of people who are looking at Instagram as a place to share images and story. And I find it's a lot more personal than Facebook, and it is also a lot more open as far as time than Twitter. And then Tick tock, of course, is just video. You can tell story through video on Tick Tock. But you don't get that whole chance to like write out pull quotes and think about how you're going to format it all before you just got to do it. Instagram is a very positive place. So people are a lot more likely to interact and say positive things and like your story and all that on Instagram than on some of the other platforms.

Any other advice for using social media? There are so many platforms!

The thing with social media, and especially if you're thinking of it from a business standpoint, or a marketing standpoint, is that you want to be the kind of person that that social media site attracts. And so if you look at my bio on LinkedIn, and my bio on Instagram, and my bio on Twitter, they're all very, very different. My bio on LinkedIn feels like a resume. My bio on Instagram makes me personal book professional. My bio on Twitter is like, "Hey, I write stuff." And my bio on on Tiktok, which I just started getting into is like, "Hey, I do funny sci fi. Are we funny or what?" You want to be the person that that is going to attract the customers on that platform. And some platforms just might not be for you because you're just not the target for that audience.

How can we use stories that can really connect us to our potential clients or readers in a way that statistics and data cannot?

When you're designing a story, remember it's going to hit somebody in the emotion level. And when you're doing marketing, I hate to say it, you manipulate people by hitting their emotions. Fast food companies do it. You know, I just saw one burger commercial that was like, we stand with you in these difficult times. They're hitting your emotions for a reason. You can't hit the emotions without the specifics, you get specifics, to get to something that is universal. So it's not just there's a guy who has a problem, there is this specific person who has this specific relatable problem that we can understand and feel emotionally for this guy as he tries to solve it, right?

If you don't have it, if it's very vague. So if you watch commercials, a lot of times they'll they'll present a character who has a problem that whatever business can solve. For example, the commercials for especially a lot of them lately on Hulu have been about insurance and things like that. Or car safety. Which makes sense, with the pandemic. Stories are the greatest communication tool to connect with people.

That was a really fun conversation with Amber, I learned a ton from her. And I hope you took away a lot of value from this as well. If you’d love to hear more about storytelling in the Arlington area, you can connect with Amber via her website.

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