Storytelling and Community Engagement in 2014

This morning I had the privilege of leading a panel discussion at New Media Dayton about how to tell stories that attract customers to your business. Smart folks like Brian Drew, a digital marketing specialist at Teradata, Bryan Suddith, social media strategist at R&L Carriers, and Matthew Sliver, founder of Creative Catapult, shared some of their best ideas and thinking about the opportunities they see for businesses to connect with customers using blogs, video and social media.

Among my takeaways from what Brian, Bryan and Matt offered:

• You should be blogging

Someone in your business has to write regularly about how you helped customers, about projects and events that are important to your customers, and about ideas and events that interest the people with whom you want to do business.

• Use basic tools

You can but don’t have to spend a lot of money on technology. Ask questions and compile the results on your website with off-the-shelf services like Survey Monkey. Conduct live chats with customers or attendees at events with free services like Twitter.

• If your business is primarily B2B,
you need to be all over Linkedin

You want consistently share information about your company, your industry and your customers but make active participation in discussions within your industry a priority. You want to hang out with and keep up with the experts who are leading change in your industry.

• Make the time to share stories
about your customers and what they care about

This is not advertising what you have on sale this week. Google rewards  businesses for original, relevant content with higher search rank. Customers, and the people you want to be customers, want and like information about other people and what they are doing at work and in their communities. In 2014, find ways to make storytelling an integral part of what and how you communicate with customers.

More About New Media Dayton

New Media Dayton meets on the second Friday of every month and brings together business owners, top managers and leaders for a wide range of businesses and nonprofit organizations to learn together about ways to use digital technology to organize, market and communicate.

You can follow New Media Dayton's activities on Twitter @newmediadayton and by searching for #nmdayton.

To catch more from today's storytelling panel, here's the Twitter stream: