In the world of social media, you have the extraordinary opportunity to really reach out and interact with people. From a business perspective, this can be a marketing goldmine. However, many prospective marketers often forget one of the key tenets of marketing when on social media: storytelling.

ThinkstockPhotos-452621267Storytelling is the essence of marketing. A retired US ambassador once remarked that the two best marketing campaigns he ever knew of were the US Army and Notre Dame Football. Why? Because everything he ever saw related to either corporation was a story, part of their respective “lore.” The US Army has Band of Brothers and posters that promise to make you “Army Strong.” Notre Dame Football has a tight-knit fan base and longstanding traditions. And, even though Notre Dame is just a college in the Midwest, everyone associates them with monumental American tenacity characterized by the film Rudy and with the classic “Fighting Irish” spirit.

Your own business needs that same sort of “lore.” You may never be quite as far-reaching as the US Army or Notre Dame Football, but people should nonetheless associate your business with something distinctive. Maybe you have impeccable customer service. Maybe you have amusing tweets. Whatever the case, having a distinct story sets you apart from other businesses and thereby acts as a sort of free marketing. By sharing your story through social media, you can open up to your clients, engage your customers, and form meaningful relations with them. Cultivating company lore is an art form; done correctly, your business becomes not just a service provider, but an actual fixture in your customers’ lives.

See Jeff Korhan for other insights on marketing as an art.