Your Story Matters: Here’s How to Use Storytelling to Find New Patients
By Katie Armatoski, Au.D
Did you know that the things that set you apart from your competition are the most important marketing resources you have access to?
I can’t tell you how many audiologists I talk to who don’t post on social media regularly… or at all. Some just don’t know what to say. Some don’t think they need to be posting unless they have something they need to say. Some simply don’t have the time. I’m here to tell you that not only should you be posting regularly, you should be using your social media page — and your blog — to tell your unique story.
If you don’t think you have a story to tell, think again! We all have a story that makes us different from everyone else. Maybe it’s your philosophy around the work you do. Maybe it’s how you discovered your love for Audiology. Maybe it’s something unique that happened in your life. Or, maybe it’s just the way you like to talk to and interact with your people!
Your story is your unique selling proposition. If that’s a term you haven’t heard before, the basic definition of it is “the thing that makes you better than your competition.” Of course, that’s oversimplified and there have been entire books written on USPs and how to use them to build out an effective marketing strategy, but for our purposes, that’s really all you need to know.
Your Unique Selling Proposition = Your Story
If I were to ask you right now why you think your patients should choose you over your biggest competitor, what would you say? Do me a favor and actually write it down. Anytime you feel stuck when you’re about to write something or post something online, you can look at this note and I’m sure it will spark an idea that fits your brand and tells your story.
How do you use this information to encourage your patients to come back or reach brand new patients? The simple answer is authenticity. The more complex answer is outlined below in five easy steps.
Five Steps to Effective Storytelling
1. Consider Your Voice and Core Values
One of the biggest mistakes people make in marketing is they try to mimic something someone else is doing and in the process, they lose track of who they are. You aren’t supposed to sound like other people, you’re supposed to sound like yourself. How do you normally speak to your patients? Which values do you hold most dear?
Make sure these elements shine through in the stories you tell on social media or anywhere else you share content with your target audience.
2. Always, Always, Always Have a “Why” in Mind
Telling a story for no reason is… well, it’s a little bit confusing. After reading it, people are going to be sitting there thinking, “okay, so what?” You must always have a “why” in mind when you tell a story. Do you want to connect with people? Do you want to teach a lesson in order to inspire someone to take action? Are you trying to enforce your brand’s values by illustrating them in the form of a story?
You don’t have to tell people why you’re sharing something but make sure you know your desired outcome before you start writing or speaking and you’ll find that you have a lot more focus and direction.
3. Talk About People & Paint a Picture
Everyone likes to hear stories about themselves and people just like them. So, consider telling more stories about the real people you work with (withholding names and personal details, of course). It might seem counterintuitive, but your story often has less to do with you and more to do with other people.
Talk about how you were able to make a positive impact in someone’s life and include lots of sensory details. Why does hearing the music matter so much to your patient? What does it mean that your patient can hear their loved ones better? Go beyond the basic outline of the story and paint a picture that your reader will truly be able to relate to.
4. Pick Great Visuals
Let’s face it, no one is going to stop and read your story if there’s a low quality photo (or no photo) paired with it. If you don’t think you have the time or equipment to take high-quality, high-resolution photos (or video content) that really showcase the kind of work you do, I strongly suggest investing in some good stock photography.
The imagery I include in my Ascending Audiology membership are all professionally shot and edited, and they’re all created specifically for Audiologists. Don’t rely on the same tired stock libraries everyone else uses. Your reputation is so much more important than that.
5. Be Consistent
I know that posting regular content is a big ask, especially when I’m asking you to put real thought into it. However, if you don’t post at least three times a week, the algorithms will start to devalue your content and they won’t show it to as many people. And that’s obviously no good.
Here’s something that’s super manageable that I think even the most busy Audiologists can manage. Create three posts a week. One post should establish you as a thought leader in your industry. This one is going to be more based in storytelling and take a little more time. The second post is going to have helpful or inspirational content like a tip, life hack, or relevant quote. The third post is going to be a call to action. Tell people what they should do right now, e.g. call to set up an appointment, visit your website, etc.
If you need help with content, don’t forget that my membership program includes content that you can simply copy and paste into your social media apps. You’ll also get content strategy coaching to eliminate the guesswork that comes with deciding what to post.
Are you ready to start sharing your story? I challenge you to create one post this week that shares more about why you do what you do, using the tips I’ve outlined above. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments below!