Once upon a time, a dietitian went to a dinner party. She sat next to a lady called Marita. They started a conversation about food intolerances and Marita asked the dietitian her opinion on why food intolerances have increased over time. The dietitian shared some of her private practice client stories and told Marita about research she had read in this area. This led to further conversation around the topic (over a few glasses of wine of course) where both dinner guests engaged with each other and shared questions, thoughts and ideas.
The advantage of social media, is that this sort of conversation can be shared with millions of people, beyond the actual dinner guests at the party. The disadvantage is that with such an accessible medium, attention spans are dwindling and the amount of content is endlessly rising, however it usually lacks the intimacy of that personal dinner party conversation.
More so than ever, we have to find the best stories to tell and most importantly, tell them right! That means telling them to the right people, on the relevant social media platform, using the right language and at the perfect time.
What is good story telling?
If you think back to the last engaging dinner conversation you had around a topic of nutrition that you are passionate about, you could probably determine the critical success factors that made it good story telling. Things like two-way dialogue, personalizing your messages, respecting a differing view point, backing up your stories with fact rather than fiction, sharing a personal anecdote. And a real dinner conversation winner; debating a highly controversial topic!
This checklist below is not what story telling must be, as there are an infinite number of ways to tell a good story. However, most great stories would follow these guidelines:
|Story telling is…||Story telling isn’t…|
|Useful info in a narrative||An article with thousands and thousands of words|
|What motivates you or your team||Your business financial goals|
|Your brand values and benefits||An advertisement|
|About your customers||About your brand|
|Emotional and engaging||Boring and un-original|
|A beginning, a crisis, an adventure||Something “cool” that happened|
|An interaction between your customers and your brand||A sales pitch|
Find your brand story
Brand story telling is less about crafting a story than it is about finding one. And this means finding your unique point of view. In an online world of more nutrition information clutter than ever before, how are you going to make your story stand out? It doesn’t need to stand out to a large audience (think small dinner party intimacy), but you need to know what you offer, who is your brand for and why is it different to everyone else’s.
One of the very first things a parent does with a young baby is read them a story. Why? Because humans love stories! They appeal to the emotional, decision-making parts of our brain in ways that scientific facts and figures can’t. And we all know that consumers (yes, that includes you and me) use emotions (feelings and experiences), rather than information (brand attributes, features and facts), when making purchase decisions.
So go on, grab a pen and paper and start writing your brand story.
You never know…it may even become a best seller!
Teri Lichtenstein is an APD and director of FoodBytes, a nutrition consulting agency specializing in digital nutrition communications. Besides reading stories to her kids, Teri loves telling stories at her company blog and on her Twitter and Instagram platforms.
Teri has partnered with one of Australia’s leading social media educators to offer specialized social media courses for dietitians and nutritionists.
The next upcoming course is the Facebook and Instagram Nutrition Masterclass, which will take place on Wednesday 27 July in Melbourne, from 9am to 1pm. For more information about the course, presenters and registration information, click here.
Dietitian Connection members receive a special discount of $50 off the course fee. Please enter the code ‘DCMasterclass’ at checkout.
Additional courses will be held in other states later in the year. If you are interested in attending a digital and social media workshop, please send an email to [email protected] and specify what area of social media training interest you.