Post image for Great News! Nobody Wants to Hear Your Story.

Great News! Nobody Wants to Hear Your Story.

on March 27, 2014

Look around and take an inventory of all the products around you. Right now, looking at my desk I see my computer, two monitors, a power adapters, external hard drives, a USB hub, a printer, two microphones, two microphone stands, an audio recorder, a mixing board, speakers, a tripod, pens, notepads, a printer, a video camera, and a camera light.

All of these products have three things in common:

  1. I don’t know their stories.
  2. I don’t care to know their stories.
  3. I love using these products.

If you can say the same about the products around you, then why are you listening to “social media experts” that keep telling you that it’s all about the story.

I agree that story can help sell products, and for more complex products, especially in the B2B space, it’s almost always critical to have a really good story. But contrary to what has recently been hammered into our heads as an industry rule, story is not necessary for success as evidenced by all the products around us we happily use yet don’t know their story.

Not wanting or needing to know a story doesn’t mean we don’t want interaction with these products. In many cases what we want are alerts of new products, new features, or coupons. That’s not story. That’s timely relevant information from consumers or potential customers interested in your product.

Storytelling is used to improve message retention and more often to increase your likeability. It’s often unnecessary and designed to pump up a wilted ego rather than drive the bottom line. Most customers don’t want to be your friend. Be happy they want your product or service.

Hazardous to Your Social Media Health - Ebook“Don’t assume all your customers want to be tied into your every action or that they care about you. Some just want your news, or your offers, or, more likely, your discounts to your products,” said Lisa Barone (@lisabarone), Vice President of Strategy at Overit. “It’s okay for you to give them that and cut out the chitchat.”

“Stop telling your stories” is one of the recommendations from my ebook, “Hazardous to Your Social Media Health: 50 Previously Condoned Behaviors We No Longer Recommend.” For this post I expanded on the topic of stories being unnecessary. To learn more about social media rules that are no longer valid, download the book for free. You’ll get tons of fun insight from 56 industry experts.


Stock photo of typewriter courtesy of Bigstock Photo.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah McMurray March 27, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Yes! This is exactly how I feel about most of the things I buy. Most advice on social media marketing makes no sense to me – I require products to work, and to be available to me when I need to buy them, not to talk to me like they’re an actual person.

Mark Bromberg March 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm

On a product level i agree that the story behind the item is more often than not, of no interest. However, if what you are selling is a service, then the stories behind your past successes are critically important.

dskorepa March 28, 2014 at 4:51 am

This article seems to assume we are incapable of making the story about the consumer, and kinda misses the point. There may be some truth to a consumer not caring about the brand’s story, but they do care about their own story, and that product may play a part in it. Storytelling is great technique, but the story has to be about the right characters and appeal to the right audience.

David Spark March 28, 2014 at 7:18 am

I agree, that storytelling is a great technique. My argument is more about the advice we’re given about storytelling as it’s critical to all selling. It actually isn’t. Honestly, I’d love it if everyone believed we need story in everything because we’d have 10 times more business. But the reality is it’s often not needed.

David Spark March 28, 2014 at 7:19 am

Completely agree Mark, and that’s where we get most of our business.

David Spark March 28, 2014 at 7:20 am

No, but I’m sure you appreciate there’s an actual person behind them making them, but you don’t really need to know the details of that to enjoy the product.

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