Telling stories is one of the most powerful means of forging connections among people.
Stories have the power to convey the culture, history and values that unite people. They are relatable, encapsulating, educational – we see ourselves in them and we want to be a part of them. A research study labelled “Do You Know?” created by psychologist Dr. Marshall Duke of Emory University and his colleague, Dr. Robyn Fivush, revealed that the single best predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness was the sharing of stories.
The story a school tells can also help solidify relationships in a way that factual statements encapsulated in numbers and statistics do not. It can also help your school break through the noise and provide clarity and understanding.
Great Storytelling Can Break Through a World Cluttered by Messaging
However, great storytelling takes time, effort and clarity of thought. Storytelling expert Bobette Buster encourages people to view storytelling as a transaction – an exchange where its important to continually consider who your audience is.
Knowing this, how can you use storytelling to inspire growth and build relationships between your school and the broader community?
Here are 4 steps to utilising storytelling as the foundation of your marketing strategy:
1. Determine your audiuence
Your school is unique and we believe every school has its own story to share. Take some time to consider who your audience is and ask yourself, ‘Who wants to hear this story? Who would be delighted by this?’.
From there you can start to determine where does your point of difference lie? Do you have a specialty program? Are your students excelling in a unique activity? Then, consider your “why?” Why do we do what we do? What are we trying to achieve? What are our missions, visions and goals for the future?
The answers to these questions will become your story. People are interested in how you view yourself, where you are headed, and why you have chosen to do what you do. It’s important your story is real – go to your strengths, be what you are and not what you are not. Share your school’s history, your culture, your future plans, and allow your community to get on board your story.
2. Collect Stories From Everywhere and Everyone
Everyone has stories to share, so create a space for people to do so. This might be opening the floor in a staff meeting or in the classroom and getting others to share their experiences with your school. The more storytellers you feature, the more who will be encouraged to share their own experiences.
3. Incorporate Stories into Your Website and Social Media
Stories are used to engage people in your brand and we use advertising techniques to communicate those stories. If you embed these throughout your website, your social media, and across all your channels, you can further your reach and the engagement with your brand.
Stories incorporated across your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc provide a human-focus to these channels. You remove the “sell sell sell, buy buy buy” aspect people become accustomed to from other businesses and organisations, and instead incorporate something relatable, that people want to read, follow and engage with.
This can be achieved through quality video content, images, quotes, even updates on what happened that day.
4. Encourage Story Telling Among Your Team
It won’t surprise you that “word of mouth marketing” is the cheapest and most effective form of marketing out there. In fact, in 2020, statistics showed that 86% of customers trust word-of-mouth reviews and recommendations and that word-of-mouth promotion is the most trusted of all forms of marketing. The best people to spread the word about your school is your own team. When you share your stories and filter these through from leadership, to teachers, to learning assistants, to groundskeepers, and to anyone who forms part of your school, the word can spread further and wider and so can your school’s reach.
Sharing your unique school story can help elevate and set your marketing apart from your competitors. It creates a foundation of relatability, connection and inspires success and school growth.
If you would like to discuss solutions for your marketing strategy, contact us for a free consultation.