5 Ways To Quickly Build Your Community Online Through Storytelling

I love this topic.

So, let’s get started right away.

First of all, I think it’s important to talk about how communities are formed in general?

Understanding the psychology behind it is as important for growing a community as it is to publish storytelling content for the said community.

Stanford University’ Social Innovation said it best when they wrote in one of their reviews,

"It’s about people.

First and foremost, community is not a place, a building, or an organization; nor is it an exchange of information over the Internet. Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs.

Members of a community have a sense of trust, belonging, safety, and caring for each other. They have an individual and collective sense that they can, as part of that community, influence their environments and each other.

That treasured feeling of community comes from shared experiences and a sense of—not necessarily the actual experience of—shared history. As a result, people know who is and isn’t part of their community. This feeling is fundamental to human existence."

Now, let me ask you a very important question:

What is the NUMBER ONE thing that lets people bond with each other the fastest?

The answer is a shared common emotional experience.

And guess how you can create this the best in a digital environment?

STORIES.

Plato has said it best when he said,

I would probably alter this quote a bit for the sake of this post and say,

“Those who tell the most genuine stories online, generate the most engagement on their content and build their communities the fastest.”

Now, how can you practically go about creating that online community around your business and brand through storytelling?

Well, here are my best 5 tips for you that I’ve been testing out with numerous clients and students:

(1) Identify your overall story archetype (or the story archetype of your business brand). Preferably 1.

What is a story archetype?

In plain English, a story archetype is simply the kind of transition that happens from beginning to middle to the end of a story.

Examples of that are:

  • Overcoming An Evil Thing or The Obstacle Archetype: There is an evil force threatening our hero/their world/mankind. The hero must fight and slay this monster, which often isn’t easy, but they come out triumphant and receive a great reward. Think of movies like Wonder Woman, Star Wars or Braveheart.
  • Rags to Riches: This one is fairly self-explanatory: at the beginning, the main character or hero is insignificant and dismissed by others but something happens to elevate them, revealing them to be exceptional. Think The Ugly Duckling, Aladdin and Superman.
  • The Quest: In the quest, our hero must set out on a long, hazardous journey, and will battle all obstacles until they are triumphant. Think The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter.
  • Voyage and Return: While also based on a journey, the Voyage and Return is very different from The Quest. Here, the main character travels out of their ‘normal world’ into the overwhelming and unknown, before escaping back to the safety of their home. Think Alice in Wonderland, Finding Nemo and Gulliver’s Travels.
  • Comedy: A story made up of comedic events, normally involving mistaken identity, misunderstanding or confusion, resulting in hilarious chaos. Think A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Some Like It Hot.
  • Tragedy: This is the story without the happy ending. While our other archetypes have seen triumphant heroes and slain monsters, this plot takes a different turn, and ends in loss or death. Think Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Breaking Bad.
  •  Rebirth: Our final plot type, rebirth, sees our hero ‘falling under a dark spell’ – whether this is sleep, sickness or enchantment – before breaking free and being redeemed. Think Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and The Secret Garden.

Does your overall life story resemble a rags to riches story, or rather the one of the seeker of a quest?

IMPORTANT NOTE: I also strongly want to note that for the sake of building an online community, definitely stir away from the ‘Tragedy’ theme!

In conclusion, those story archetypes have been the same since the beginning of time, since men first wrote stories in order to collect history.

Whichever story archetype best fits you and your life in relation to your business/brand, go with that and be consistent throughout your entire marketing.

(2) Test out which one of the 4 story themes your audience most resonates with when it comes to your brand. Share those more and more with your community to create that unique brand loyalty.

For a personal brand – or digital influencer – I have found the following 4 story themes to work the best to in terms of building up their communities:

[A] The family person. Are you a mother, a father, a husband, a wife, etc.?

The reason why your growing community will be able to relate to this so quickly is that we all have families in one way or another.

It is something that makes you immediately likable.

Most of the time, a large part of what it is that we do even depend on our families!

They are the reasons why we do what we do.

[B] The Underdog.

An Underdog can be both your overall story archetype but it can also be a powerful theme you can share with your community online.

Just watch this video by one of my favorite bands Kodaline.

What do you notice about it?

An underdog who has become an underdog through no fault of his own, being brave and standing up to a group of bad people.

An underdog theme ALWAYS generates an emotional response.

As a result, it’s a powerful topic to use throughout your branding.

[C] The Seinfeld Theme.

The Seinfeld show was one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms ever created.

Not everyone might share stories about their families online or, talk about their underdog experiences.

If that is you, the Seinfeld theme is for you.

What consists of a Seinfeld theme?

Anything really that a lot of people can relate to that can happen throughout a typical day.

In other words, it’s a day-to-day experience.

Here is an example of how a Seinfeld post can look like and how you can generate ROI from it:

However, if you are the kind of person who feels like they can not come up with something rather general on a day to day basis and pack it in an interesting way, I would probably stir away from choosing this theme as the overarching story theme of your brand.

The main reason being that in order for this to work and to generate the engagement you need, you need to truly be consistent.

Whereas with a great Underdog story, for example, you do not need to show up quite that frequently.

[D] Results and achievements.

You might think that sharing results and achievements online are equivalent to boasting.

You could not be more wrong.

Far from it.

At least, if you don’t do it every day and only share the important milestones with your tribe ;).

People love celebrating success with each other, especially your tribe.

Not only that, they will also see you as an authority figure in that area you’ve achieved a result or success in.

So, whenever that happens – dang, be sure to share it instantaneously.

I look forward to seeing it <3.

Side Note: Speaking of results, you might want to check out this related blog post: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/12/03/can-realistically-make-100k-online-12-months/ 

(3) Weave your story and your theme consistently into these 5 major content buckets.

Now that you’ve decided on your overall story archetype AND you know which one of the 4 story themes works the best for your tribe, you are probably wondering what type of content to even post, right?

Because, even if the content is king, being consistent in your organic marketing approach online is even more important!

So here is the thing.

Digital content of any business or company usually falls into any one of these 4 buckets:

(a) Educational content aka you posting about all the awesome stuff you know.

(b) Inspirational content aka you sharing a bit more about your underdog story or struggles.

(c) Funny/humorous content aka you just being your awesome self.

(d) Controversial content aka your opinions/insights about the industry.

(4) Create a clear mission statement and a shared common goal for your tribe. 

There is no community in the world that is a community without a common shared goal.

Whatever community it is, the one common shared goal is THE ONE THING that holds every one in your tribe together.

For example, let us look at The Honest company.

Every customer of their products shares a belief in protecting the natural environment as well as the (little) people. 

And the company also communicates this shared mission and goal throughout their social media.

What shared goal and/or mission do you envision for your own community?

(5) Be sure to have micro funnels in place everywhere to ensure long-term ROI.

According to the Online Marketing Institute, it takes up to eleven (!) touch points that a customer/client must have with your brand/company before even deciding to do business with you.

If you know this right now then you really need to go back and look at your entire social media and content strategy.

In essence, the more strategic calls-to-action you place throughout your content and social media profiles, the more you speed up this process.

Plus, you’re adding a ton of awesome value to your customer/client along the way and how cool is that, am I right :)?

We are going to talk more about Social Media Funnels in a later article on this blog so be sure to SUBSCRIBE to it to get notified once the article is published.

{Btw, see what I did there ;)?!}

 

Finally and in everything you do, be consistent in your approach.

Stay true to who you are and be authentic in how you present yourself online and you will do just fine.

If you found this article to be helpful, definitely share it with your community, like it and/or let me know in the comments down below.

Let’s do this!

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Hi! I'm Cornelia Pauline, the author of this pretty badass blog. My team and I have been running a full-time, international digital marketing agency for the past 3 years. We've helped many of our clients scale up to multiple 6-and-7 figures. Throughout this blog, I hope to provide kickass value by sharing my knowledge with you ;).

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