My brand story began 10 years ago when I built an online niche business called WorkCabin that leapfrogged the competition to become the biggest service of its kind in Canada. Today, that expertise is channeled into my other business, WorkCabin Creative, an agency founded in 2010 and based in southwestern ON. I help clients grow trusted brands, build wildly effective communication strategies, & create unforgettable experiences. I can say that with confidence because I've been there and done it with my own startup 10 years ago. And I've helped organizations and businesses do it too. Over and over again through WorkCabin Creative since 2010.
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5 key reminders for successful social storytelling

5 key reminders for successful small-town storytelling

5 key reminders for successful social storytelling

Social storytelling has been around for a long time. Way back when, we all did it. It was street-level and it was all face to face. Or, sometimes it was on the telephone. And if it we were hearing a story from a friend or family, we often believed it.

Then along came social media. Suddenly the ability to amplify (or share) a story grew exponentially. Most importantly, organizations and businesses could show vs tell, with more power than ever before. And with that huge potentially for spreading stories by audiences, also came the huge ability for having audiences influence even greater audiences. We call that viralness.

Why is social storytelling so essential today? It’s key because a great story or narrative over time converts people into fans and into loyal customers or donors.

Here are 5 reminders for helping you build a successful storytelling effort for your business or organization:

Be Human

This should be a no-brainer, but it takes work. Take a step back whenever your writing or video starts to be too corporate-ish and robotic and filled with jargon. You don’t need to be a CEO. You need to be human. Talk like you are talking to a person. Any business can tell a story. But it doesn’t mean it will come across as genuine and authentic. Ditch the elevator pitch garbage. Today, people can spot push-marketing from a mile away.

What’s the story after-taste?

Successful stories and ongoing narratives produce an action because they trigger an emotion after reading or watching it. It could be to make a donation. It could be to use a service. It could be to say “Hey, we’re local people just like you!” Or it could be to start a greater conversation with people around you. When you are planning a story, ask yourself this critical question: What do you want people to feel after reading/viewing it?

Don’t forget behind the scenes

Humanizing your brand means going beyond logos and letterhead and corporate slickness that permeates so much marketing today. People love to see behind the scenes because it feels like an exclusive look, and it takes on even greater meaning to those who already like you. Now they’re getting extra special access! Photos, live videos, videos, Stories on Instagram, are all easy ways to take people behind the scenes of what you do and how you do it.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Stop trying to be perfect all the time! Being human (see Don’t Forget Behind the Scenes) also includes showing flaws. You’re not perfect. Don’t try to be. Your audience isn’t perfect. Your audience needs to see themselves in you, too. You can easily turn a difficult experience into a learning experience for others. Showing all your sides will help you build trust. Showing the Good, the Bad and Ugly will keep you real.

A narrative is never one and done

You only need to look to Hollywood and sequels to know that it can take many stories to build a narrative. Never think of one story as being the single solution. Storytelling work best over time, and through accumulation. There are many parts to a story. Don’t try to tell everything in one story. You’ll overload the audience. Effective storytelling, just like in the movies, TV and in books, keeps audiences waiting for the next sequel, episode, or chapter.


Based in the woods and working far beyond, Gregg McLachlan is recognized as a leading trainer, creative marketing rethinker and rural social media strategist in southwestern Ontario. He works with small businesses and organizations who want to elevate their branding. He has been a conference and workshop guest speaker for rural downtown business associations, provincial government agencies, municipal economic development departments and tourism organizations, as well as provincial and national nonprofits. His new conference and workshop talk for 2018 is entitled, 2017 Is Sooooo Yesterday, and helps organizations understand how social media is evolving and how to stay ahead and be effective. Contact Gregg at gregg@workcabincreative.ca

Learn more about Your Town Rising, a new initiative co-founded by Leslie and Gregg McLachlan and find out how you can bring them to your town

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