Most people use social networking to communicate with one another, not sit through a sea of sales pitches. When people engage in your message they are showing interest in you and the community (and communication) you promise. The quickest way to prove that promise is through a well-told story!
In our nature…
Humans connect with our environment and each other through storytelling. Every decision we make throughout the day is based on prior experience — either lived or learned from. Storytelling forms our perception of reality. The failure of most social marketing stems from categorizing the platforms as distribution channels — like television, radio and phone directories. This is not what social networking is (or should be) used for. Social networking is for the transmission of experiences, feelings, values, successes, failures and opinions.
To harness the power of social networking, you need to narrate the story of your firm. To succeed you’ll need to tell stories about people, not concepts or things. Stories that reflect a human experience.
Story is emotion over logic…
Good storytelling engages emotion, not logic. Retention reveals the power of a story. What we remember from a story is not fact, but feeling. All storytelling — good and bad — evokes emotional response in an audience. Unfortunately the memory from a poorly executed message can be disinterest, distrust or confusion.
We associate feeling with ideas. Storytelling is based on cause-and-effect, just like how our brains structure thought processes. Effectively, as we think our ways through our everyday lives, we are telling ourselves a story. Everyone out there is constantly working through their own expansive narrative in real time. So if we’re hardwired as storytellers — why is so much advertising — legal marketing, in particular — flat and lifeless?
The law — like engineering and medicine — is an industry founded on a community of experts holding each other accountable. You need hard facts, stats and data to present to other lawyers, judges and publishers to prove your relevance in moving the industry forward. However, that isn’t what an audience of prospective clients are looking for. By speaking to leads only in stats and data, you’re trying to solve an emotional problem with a logical solution. They are looking for a story (and yes the best stories are based on defendable data), but they are human, entertaining stories nonetheless. Storytelling is where your authenticity and niche expertise we’ve already discussed are really going to shine!
Don’t forget the reader’s perspective!
Not every story you tell has to be from the courtroom or the boardroom. As long as the lesson learned is applicable to the legal problem you’re addressing. Stories from your childhood & college years, funny stories about family and friends or just short quips that you’ve stumbled upon online can all work to connect a vague legal idea to the emotional relevance your readers, followers and friends are craving.