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A piece of advice in social branding that I always give to the social entrepreneurs that I have worked with is: “Never consider yourself a brand, be a person.”

In this era of social media, mobile technology and content marketing, what can make or break a business is the ability to tell a good story about their brand and present the story in a unique but comprehensible way.

So what leads to goodness? How do we tell a story successfully?

You can tell a story that people will listen to, but that is not good enough. You can tell a story that people will listen to and respond to but that is still not good enough. You have to tell a story that people will listen to, respond to and share their stories to others. Engagement is the true power behind a story.

The ability to engage humans comes from being human. Being a soulless brand that makes a product, you are voluntarily isolating yourself from your customers and opportunities. You have to be a brand that has a strong personality, that connects, that makes friends, that creates conversations and, at the very least, that sells a product.

I like using the analogy of friendship when talking about social businesses. Remember what Aristotle says about friendship? It’s something humans cannot live without, and by definition, it is the way one wishes well to another for the other’s own sake.

Since whenever we become more aware of the world, we have been making friends with people who we find interesting or connecting in some ways. At first it started awkwardly, but as we know each other better, awkward greetings become engaging and worthwhile conversations. We trust each other, we offer helps to one another and we build great relationships and loyalty to one another. 

Do you wish the relationships between your business and customers to be this way? The key word is social, and you can make the decision to be social as much or as less as you want.  

This post orginally appeared on the author's blog here