You’ve been asked a million times before – What is your business?

Effective Communications

Effective CommunicationsTHUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Well, where do you start? As an entrepreneur, you know everything there is to know about your business, your industry… But do you know how to tell your story?

This Small Business WeekTM (October 19th through 23rd, 2015), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC)/Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre (EC) and participating partners bring you a full calendar of events and activities to celebrate our small businesses and their contributions. The Thunder Bay Public Library, in partnership with the Entrepreneur Centre and Firedog Communications will be hosting a two-part workshop series aimed at helping entrepreneurs build their brands with storytelling, using social media more strategically to connect with their audiences. Visit www.ThunderBay.ca/SmallBusinessWeek for the complete calendar of events.

Effective storytelling, that is, conveying your unique selling proposition, is crucial to connect with your customers, win them over, and build your brand in the process. Much of this can be accomplished with social media.

Thunder Bay Public Library

Firedog Communications

Often referred to as ‘amplified word of mouth’, social media holds huge opportunity to get your story heard by the right people and spread the word about your business.

“Successful marketing is successfully telling your story,” says Stephanie Ash, founder, CEO, and President of Firedog Communications. “As a business, if you’re not able to tell your story very well, you’re not as likely to close the sale. Businesses need to tell their stories well to be able to convince people to buy from them, work with them, and use their services.”

The key to great storytelling for brand building is relating yourself to your customer. Your business must understand your customers; their needs, wants, values, lifestyle, the challenges they face, what makes them tick, etc., in order to form a connection. Those that take the time to figure out who their customers are can tell their stories in a way that makes their business more relatable to them.

Stephanie says, “Westjet is an example of a company that does a great job of connecting with their audience. They’re different in the way that their employees are owners, and they use that in their marketing to personalize their brand and differentiate themselves as an airline that people feel an attachment to.”

So how can you effectively tell your story? As a start, consider what makes your business different, who is buying from you, and the demand that your product or service satisfies. Also utilize your social media analytics tools.

Tools such as Facebook Insights provide quantitative data as to the demographics of your followers, as well as qualitative data, as to what they are talking about, what makes them tick, and their values and interests, etc. You can use this information to tailor your marketing to match up with the wants and needs of your audience, and gauge how they respond to it.

Jasmin Fisher, Marketing and Public Relations Officer at Firedog, states, “People are going to talk about you on social media. By actively listening and monitoring your analytics information, you can control the conversation to your advantage.”

Once you’ve established your brand and unique selling point, stick to who you are. Consistency is key, and you must reinforce the same message across all mediums. This means that you, your employees, as well as your suppliers and contacts must be telling the same story. Who you are as a business has to show through in all of your communications.

Stephanie Ash - Firedog

Jasmin Fisher

On Monday October 19th and Friday October 23rd from 12 to 1:30pm, Stephanie and Jasmin will be presenting two workshop sessions designed to help entrepreneurs create compelling content that tells their story and connects them with their consumers. Participants will learn to determine what their brands are and how to set goals and measure their online performance. The interactive sessions will include breakout exercises, real local examples, as well as dos and don’ts of brand building with social media. To register, RSVP to jroberts@tbpl.ca.

#BuildYourBrand with Storytelling

Monday, October 19th | 12-1:30
Mary JL Black Library (901 Edward Street South)

Your Social Media Performance Review
Friday, October 23rd | 12-1:30
Mary JL Black Library (901 Edward Street South)

The Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre (EC) offers FREE and confidential services to help small businesses start up, expand, and succeed. The Entrepreneur Centre can assist with writing a business plan, securing funding, marketing your products and services, and accessing other available resources in the community. They also provide free workshops and training seminars to equip and empower small businesses to perform the best they can. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (807)625-3960 or visit www.EntrepreneurCentre.ca.

CEDC Community Economic Development (CEDC) Entrepreneur Centre