Why should your audience buy from your business? Your potential customers are bombarded with ads left, right, and center. You need to give them a reason to pay attention to your brand.

That’s where storytelling comes in. People have communicated through stories for thousands of years. Stories are used to make sense of the world we live in and allow us to share that understanding with others. They’re universal–prevalent in every known culture.

The fact that stories still resonate with us today shows just how powerful a tool they can be. Stories are memorable and they help your audience to connect with your brand. The best stories naturally guide them and inspire them to act.

Let’s take a look at some of the practical ways you can use storytelling in your marketing.

1- Tell Your Origin Story

Every organization has a story: where it all began. What led you to take the risk and start your own business? Sharing your founding tale gives your audience an insight into your business and offers them a way to connect with your brand.

Focus on the passion led you to start the company, along with any barriers you had to overcome along the way. People are likely to be captivated by a story of human struggle, particularly when it ends in triumph. That’s the kind of story your audience will remember you by.

If you’re worried that your story isn’t captivating enough, then don’t feel like you have to make something up. It’s far more important to be authentic and create a genuine narrative that your listeners can relate to while helping to build trust.

2- Get Your Employees Involved

Telling the story of how you founded the business helps to put a face to your brand. But you don’t have to rely on just one face. Share stories of your employees to help show the human side of your business and encourage them to share stories as well.

Remember, people do business with people. The more your audience sees and hears about those behind your products and services, the more they can relate to you. If a new employee joins your company, you could publish a blog post giving some information on their background and what motivated them to join your company.

3- Make the Most of User-Generated Content

As mentioned before, authenticity is important. Stories allow you to bring authenticity to your brand, which is essential for forming a connection. What’s even better than a story told by the company? Authentic content created by fellow customers.

If a potential customer sees that someone else had a good experience with your brand, then they are more likely to trust you and want to buy from you. That’s because people are more likely to take recommendations from family and friends than brands.

There are different ways you can share user-generated content or UGC. Many brands have success using Instagram, where you can easily repost and regram content from other people’s accounts.

In fact, the Internet Trends 2017 Report found that effective UGC can generate 6.9 times more engagement compared to brand-generated content on Facebook. Many big brands are already leveraging UGC on Instagram, including Red Bull, Qatar Airways, and BMW, whose accounts the report found to consist of more than 50% regrammed content.

You can try to encourage users to share their experience with your brand using a custom hashtag, and then select images to regram on your own account. If you need some help generating buzz, then consider offering a prize for participation to help people get excited about sharing their images.

Other brands have had success with UGC video campaigns, such as Coca-Cola with their “Happiness is Movement” campaign. Video content tends to perform well and offers customers another way to feel like a valued part of your business.

The added benefit of using user-generated content is that it takes some of the pressure off of you, allowing you to focus some of that time and money elsewhere.

4- Be Consistent

All of these stories help you tell the story of your brand. It’s an ongoing process that changes all the time, as new employees join your company, more products and services are added, and your business continues to grow. That being said, you want to maintain some consistency.

Your brand should remain consistent across all communication channels, whether that’s your website, newsletter, Facebook page, or Instagram feed. If you’re using a different logo or colors on your digital channels compared to print marketing materials, then you end up creating confusion. The same is true if you are not consistent with your values and what makes your business unique.

Start by creating a cohesive brand narrative that focuses on your USP and your values. Keep this in mind every time you use storytelling in your communications. It’s what will help you create the big picture that will draw your customers in.

No matter which platform you use or what idea and information you are trying to communicate, storytelling is there to help you enhance that message and help your brand to stick in the mind of your audience. It’s all about being authentic and building a genuine connection with your audience to help drive long-term brand loyalty.