What Miranda Lambert Can Teach Us About The Power Of Storytelling
As a country girl who was born and raised in the great state of Texas, its no surprise that I am a huge fan of country music. I have had a strong connection to a love of horses for as long as I can remember, spent my teens watching George Strait make a name for himself at the famous Silver Wings dancehall in Brenham, Texas and am a huge fan of powerful, talented women in the industry like Jennifer Nettles, Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert.
As a personal branding coach who has an obsession for how important storytelling is in the game of marketing, I naturally follow some of my favorite musicians and brands on social media. Facebook and Instagram are the perfect places where followers can have a more personal connection with their favorite people and brands. The more insight we have into the lives of others, the more real and relatable they become Personal connections builds trust and brand loyalty. People do business with people they like, know and trust.
Storytelling is one of the most overlooked assets of business owners but its without a doubt the most important. There is so much focus on promoting products and services that the power of the story gets pushed to the back burner but the story is what people buy. Sharing a story is what provides authenticity and vulnerability, the key ingredients for relationship and trust building. If people are not buying what you are selling, its pretty plain and simple as to why.
Because they aren't buying into YOU.
With billions of people having access to social media, one would think being transparent would be easier than ever but the problem is that our society has become one of showing constant perfection. Instead of embracing our imperfect lives and short comings we have become a society of showing off, trading in our true selves for a life that is nothing more than a facade to gain massive quantities of likes, comments, shares and followers. Believing that the more we look like we are holding it all together with the perfect life, job, business, marriage and family the more liked we will be.
But that could not be farther from the truth.
Since the beginning of time, people have gathered around one another to share and hear stories. As humans we are naturally wired to emotionally connect with the emotions that are shared through storytelling. Stories entertain, inspire and empower. We see people every day but when we know a person's story, we can really see them in a way that we never have before. A window to their soul is opened up and we can start to relate to them on a deeper more compassionate and empathetic level, to their pain, joy, happiness, struggles and frustration.
There is no better way for me to explain the power of storytelling than through an example and recently I watched an incredible testament to this unfold on Miranda Lambert's Instagram account and Facebook fan page.
Miranda attended the CMA awards with Anderson East and posted a picture of the two of them dolled up and dashing. She briefly shared how she was feeling in that moment and thanked her glam squad by tagging them. At the time of writing this blog article, this particular post had 107,866 likes and 2,580 comments on Instagram and 56K likes, 2,448 comments and 356 shares on her fan page.
Unfortunately in the world of reality social media drama full of so many keyboard warriors, the post she made from the CMA awards was plagued with negative and judgmental comments. The very next day, Miranda made another post on social media. Just a country girl, riding her beloved Gypsy Vanner horse Leiani, in a ball cap and no glam but this time she had a whole lot more to say and share.
"Every now and then I decide to re-join the world of social media and post something really personal. Not promoting anyone or anything. Not selling a better version of myself to anyone or trying to look cool like we all do all the time. Just a picture that either I or someone I know and care about took the time to take and see the beauty in. This is one of those moments that im proud of. My friend Tommy snapped it on a trail ride on his phone at golden hour on the farm in TN. What a blessing. I'm wearing yoga pants and no makeup and im on the back of my beloved Leiani. A Gypsy Vanner horse. . But... Last night I was all dolled up and 'out on the town' with my sweet man at the CMA awards in Nashville. I was excited about the night and posted a picture. Just now when I looked I realized so many comments were judgmental and negative. Cowardly people hiding behind a keyboard or cell phone writing their useless comments about our eyes and clothes and body language. What a bunch of bull shit. Thank y'all for reminding me why I read books, write songs, and spend most of my time with animals and people I trust and love. And one last thing... 'Words are things. You must be careful, careful about calling people out of their names, using racial pejoratives and sexual pejoratives and all that ignorance. Don't do that. Some day we'll be able to measure the power of words. I think they are things. They get on the walls. They get in your wallpaper. They get in your rug, in your upholstery, and your clothes, and finally in to you.' Maya Angelou"
At the time of writing this blog article it had 268,121 likes and 11,962 comments on Instagram and 389K likes, 25,867 comments and 28,753 shares on Facebook.
Proof is in the numbers that people relate to authentic real conversations. Yes her photo at the CMA awards was beautiful, fun and entertaining but when she stripped herself down to be more raw, to share a moment of vulnerability of what she was feeling and left us with something thought provoking to reflect upon, look at the response her sharing a story generated. So what can you take away from this example?
YOUR story matters.
You don't have to be a famous country music singer to have something powerful to share. You are the only person who has your unique combination of struggles, experiences, gifts and lessons learned and there are those out there who need to hear you share your story in a way that only you can share it.
Telling your story is the key that can unlock someone else's prison.
The story is what will build trust with your audience in a way that no product or service ever can (have you ever heard the phrase "facts tell, stories sell"?) When people can truly see you and not just a highlight reel of your "perfect" life, you will begin to see the power of building quality relationships and experience the success that can only come from standing firmly in your truth.
3 Key Tips To The Art Of Storytelling
1. Break out a journal and start writing. Ask yourself these questions:
• "What parts of my story am I comfortable sharing publicly and what parts of my story do I want to hold more privately?"
• "What areas do I feel convicted to help and serve others who are going through a similar journey?"
This is how I coach my clients: stories are like storms. When you are going through a current storm of chaos and emotions its best to journal as you are working through it and wait until you have come through the storm with some clarity before going all in to share the full story. You will have a solid place to teach from and lessons learned to share v. trying to work through it and help others at the same time.
It can be difficult to try to help others as you are working through your own difficulties. Think about situations you have already worked through in your life and come out the other side so you have a full picture from beginning to end to share with your audience. Stories always have a beginning, a middle and an end or often times referred to as "the moral of the story".
Sharing pieces of your storm, current moments, like the one Miranda shared are great teaching tools too as long as its done from a place of positivity. Always work through your emotions before sharing to ensure you are coming from a good place and mindset.
2. Share your story from a place of empowering and inspiring others. Storytelling should be done from a place of teaching and uplifting, not from a place of whining or complaining. When sharing a hot mess moment, be sure to do it from a place of "wow I really screwed that up royally but this is how I fixed and this is what I learned from it. So if you have been there too friend don't beat yourself up over it, you aren't alone".
3. Authenticity is key. Let go of the fear to let the messy parts of your life show. Trying to convince others that you are holding it all together all the time will attract an audience on the front end but they will quickly start to compare their lives to yours, become discouraged when they aren't living up to the facade of perfection and lose interest.
And not only that, but trying to put on airs is exhausting. Because lets be honest with ourselves, we all at some point in our lives have forgotten to grab a roll of toilet paper before we sit down and have to shimmy with our pants around our ankles across the floor to find some. We all have our #HotMessMoments so striving to show the world how your life is full of rainbows and roses all the time is not fooling anyone. I can promise you. Being ourselves requires a lot less work.
The key to authenticity is to properly know what to share and how to share it. We want to attract and inspire our audience not drive them away so discernment and good judgment are extremely important.
I hope this has helped you to see how powerful your story truly is, why the world needs it and how it can help to build brand loyalty with your followers. Your story is the key to owning your worthiness, to fully embracing who you are and what makes up the one-of-a-kind unique incredible human being that you are. Products and services are a dime a dozen but no one can duplicate you.
Start using your story and not what you do or sell to position yourself in front of the right people. Leading with your "what" is selling and doesn't bring you or anyone else much purpose. Leading with your story is inspiring and in the world of business, people who are inspired are the ones who open their hearts and wallets while blessing you in return with a much more meaningful life.
To quote the wise words of Brené Brown "You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness."
Your story matters. Fearlessly share it with the world. xo
April Williams is a Creative Momista and Soulpreneur of 2 boys + whimsical wavemaker + creative expressive + Texas country girl + branding junkie who loves green mint tea + horses + fuzzy socks + surrounding herself with high achieving amazing women + peppermint anything + the color red + cozy coffee shops. She is a branding strategist providing social media management and content strategies for creative women entrepreneurs.
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