The following excerpt is from Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising, Fourth Edition by Perry Marshall, Bob Regnerus, and Thomas Meloche, with Mark Ingles. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Bookshop | Entrepreneur Press
Stories make you immune to competition. People are going to knock off your product, but they can’t knock off your story. Nowhere is that truer than in the world of Facebook advertising.
This plays out every day on Facebook. The Facebook News Feed is simply a scroll of stories from people and brands you choose to follow. Facebook is the only medium to truly connect your business with new people who are very similar to you and will enjoy hearing your stories and seeing your pictures and video.
That’s where Facebook beats the social competition when it comes to building a following based on the power of story. Twitter is very short. Instagram is very visual. TV and radio don’t have any real-time feedback (i.e. comments sections) and are too expensive for most of us. Facebook is the perfect platform where you can develop an entire lifestyle or personal brand and truly build a following. Yes, it’s harder in 2020 than it was in 2014, but people are doing it every day. Who you are, why you do what you do and why you created the product is really important.
The people that we’ve seen the most success with have been the ones willing to be vulnerable and go deep, the ones who skip past the superficial stuff. They’ve got something of value to offer the marketplace. They open up personally and tell real stories about themselves and their products and why a product is special. Even for simple things like headbands, jewelry and checks, there’s a story to be told. It’s your job as an advertiser to discover the story of the product, the company and the customers and weave that into your marketing to take advantage of Facebook’s strengths.
We spend the most time with our own clients, diving into their story. Not nailing your story will give you poor results. When you find the unique story angle to connect your business to the product to the marketplace, you have set yourself up for success.
The Right Time to Deliver Your Story
The time to tell your whole story is not when you first meet your future customer. When we created a 30-second video for a client, we carefully chose to do a five-second intro of who the founder was. Then we dove into the part of their story that most resonated with their customers.
It doesn’t make sense to lead with your backstory or core beliefs. You start with the part of the story that’s important to your customers. They don’t care about you just yet, but that time will come. So, first, within your story, identify hooks to your product and service to get the viewer’s attention. Then, once you have their attention and pique their interest, you have a platform to go into more detail with your story to keep them interested.
Product Always Follows Story
One of the misunderstood fundamentals of advertising is that many people think: I have this great product, and all I have to do is put out an ad and everyone is going to buy it. People fall in love so much with their product they forget actual people have to buy it. Yes, there are a few products that stand out on their own, which people will buy without a story. However, a majority of products and services can’t stand alone without a story angle.
Too many ads are superficial. They trot out features. They detail things that are expected of a product, but nothing that attaches an emotion to the product so people understand why they need it. When storyboarding an ad, you get someone to talk about their back story, core beliefs and why they do what they do, because it starts to get their mind focused on the reason that a product or service exists. It gets them into the mindset of how the product or service benefits the marketplace and their users, not just utility.
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“I’m Not a Storyteller!”
This is an objection we hear all the time. Business owners use this excuse to cop out of doing the harder work of digging deep into finding their own story. Don’t fall for this trap!
Listen, if you feel you’re too boring, find excited customers who will talk about your product. Allow them to tell their story about how your product changed their life and you’ll begin to see common threads. The experience they have with your company will spur your inner storyteller. You don’t have to be great at holding an audience like Jimmy Fallon. You just have to be you.