Story Telling Posts

Why we write stories and why we never sell on social media.

"Never sell, only story tell." That's our mantra to writing effective posts on LinkedIn and we'll explain why this is so, covering a few points including; the purpose of a post, to the art and science of story telling and the evolution of Social Media use. 

With 14 years experience, I have learned through trial and error, observation and evolution of my technique so I can can make it easy for you to become successful - there examples of client's first posts below, which highlight this!

Purpose of a Post on Linkedin

Firstly, let's look at the purpose of a post on LinkedIn. Why do we do it? 

Good question and I remember one student, for a client group of 24 which were trained in groups of 6, stating as he walked in, "I'm not doing this linky-dink-stuff, this is something my grandkids do!" 

While momentarily mortified and thinking what will the rest of the class and the rest of the group think about this and the potential effect on the  ROI I wanted to provide to the client, I had to think fast. 

I negotiated with him to take the first class and give it a shot, and if after that he saw no value, I would sign him off and he would not have to turn up. At that groups second lesson, he was standing there with the USB cable in his hand and said, "Well come on, let's get you set up for lesson two!"

I was gobsmacked again as you might imagine, "Ah whats happened?" I quite unsure of whether this was a joke or for real. "Well, I took your message on board 'learn by doing' and that I didn't need to wait for the Post Writing lesson 3 to give it a go, so I gave it a go and wrote my first post."

"A ha?" I said.

He went on, "Well, a mate commented on it, then his mate commented on it, then a few people I didn't know commented on it, and one of those people connected with me and I now have a signed contract for $50,000 piece of work... all from this link-dink sh*t"

I bellowed with laughter, "So those grandkids ain't too silly then, and you just had your 'success moment' and want to attract more business!"

By the way, you just read a story, how do you feel? 

Captivated by what you might achieve like this person? Or bored and didn't want to keep reading? The point is, the purpose of Linkedin is for business purposes, whether it be sales (that every business relies on) or building your Personal Brand in a non-sales-role; we invest time on Linkedin for a range of businesses purposes. There a lots of business reasons, not just sales, and if you enjoyed that story, next I'll share why...

The Art and Science of Story Telling

Secondly, story telling is way that we have enjoyed consuming information since cave people put artwork on the walls of caves. 

"The stuff of myth and legend," from the story of Hercules or Maui pulling up the North Island, or my personal favourite, Star Wars... stories captivate us, and it's both an art and a science.

From the science perspective, there is the famous 'hero's journey' which is a 12 step story that all great stories are written too, and they take us on an emotional journey, we are meant to see ourselves in the story. 

You know, that book you can't put down til the end, or the movie you watch and nothing can break your attention and you feel exhausted at the end like you ran a marathon, but actually sat in a chair for 2 hours!?

The brain consumes 20 to 25% of our energy in a day - thats a lot for sitting still, hence when captivated, we are using our minds eye to create out movie in our detail (why the book is better than the movie because 'your version' is created by you). In this process of ups and downs, challenges, your thoughts and feeling cause the release of hormones from Cortisol (designed to save us by telling us when we are in danger) to Serotonin (which makes us feel good), and a few others but that gives you the basics.

Hence a good story, takes us on an emotional journey and for social media I have shortened those 12 steps to a five steps story.  I also have broken it down into a really easy process and have created our POST BUILDER which asks you to populate a series of answers, that will help you produce your own organic effective posts based on your experience - your stories!

Here are some examples of my stories:

My Covid Weight - Purpose: connecting with empathy, relationship building

Client story - Indirect sell through connecting their purpose to a story

AFQY Event Promo - Through a networking lesson

New Business - sharing the story of our meeting

Client examples:

Ben Hamid's #QuaRUNtine running story 

Andre Timothy's Xmas Shopping and POS story

Parisa Shademan's Inclusion and Representation story

Russell Jones - sharing his next steps

Social Media Evolution

I've been using Social Media since 1996, look up IRC and PIRCH for those who aren't that old, and Linkedin since 2007, and come from the "One click" era, where Dial up internet connectivity drove the industry to require achieving the goal in, one click, because it as so painfully slow to load a webpage. Over time connectivity speed up, and a new generation came through and caused an evolution of how we write posts.

I used to teach "Write a post, so it is short enough, that you don't need to click the 'See more' button to read the post, due to our 'one click' mindset." 

Then came the story posts, and they were created by the younger generation who grew up with an iPad in their hand and clicked 1000 times a day, so clicking on 'See more' wasn't an issue, and they taught this old Lion a new trick fro sure, enabling story based posts - I also worked out that the opening line, what appears above the 'See More' is crucial along with alignment to your role and the image, to driving engagement - I'll tell you more about the mechanics of the platform and how they combine with Story Telling if we do a training session, which I hope we might...

Oh, and "Never sell", so imagine I opened this up with "Buy my training course for $XXX you'll be making money hand over first in no time with my secret sauce!" 

You probably get why I "Never (hard) sell", and you probably just experienced an adrenaline and cortisol rush as a reaction to "Eww what BS, I better stay away from this guy, next he'll sell me his grandmother," as the stereotypical sales jokes start to fly.

If you'd like learn how to use Linkedin effectively as a business tool to attract an audience and grow your Personal Brand be it for Social Selling or Thought Leadership, or any other purpose you'd like to discuss, the beauty is the actions are all the same just your purpose defines your content and I'd love to help you get your stories out and help you achieve success.


Ryan the Lion

PS: No, you do not need a nickname to build a Personal Brand, but you're welcome to learn why I do as explained in my About section on my Linkedin profile.

PPS: No animals were harmed in the writing of this article and I'm sure I've got a mistake or two to correct.