Entrepreneurs: let’s stop with the fairytale storytelling! Surprised? Read on…
Okay, as a writer I am ALL about storytelling. In fact, this quote lived on my office whiteboard:
“The best arguments in the world won't change a person's mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.” ― Richard Powers, The Overstory
It’s true, and I wholeheartedly believe it. But something wicked is lurking in story town. Show don’t tell, the cardinal rule of great writing, has been replaced on social media with tell, tell a secret, tell something painful, and tell some more until readers will think you’re more in need of a Go Fund Me campaign than customers.
You know the ones. Linked-In, Facebook, and now Instagram are littered with them. They start with a life-turning moment: I was fired, I quit, I lost everything, I didn’t graduate -- pages and pages from the school of hard knocks until the author realizes they are Stuart Smalley good-enough and goes on to give Elon Musk a run for his money.
Venture down that thorny, dark path and you will be enslaved to a Click Witch espousing a false narrative: your story doesn’t really matter; you’re just looking for a thumbs up, heart, or clap.
“Well, isn’t that the point?” you ask. If you are interested in collecting emojis, then keep on keeping on. But you are doing your followers a disservice. Your story does matter, just not the spatially formatted, staccato-rhythmed victim-laden sonnets being encouraged by self-ascribed social media marketing gurus. Phew, that was a mouthful!
It’s bloat. It’s ingenuine. And sometimes it’s downright ridiculous. Or to quote the brilliant William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.”
So, what are you selling? A hard-knocks story turned money maker? Or the chance to work with an accomplished and trustworthy professional?
I know you. I know how hard you’ve worked to get to this point. I know how incredibly talented you are. Let others get to know you too.
Social Sonnets may be in vogue right now, but readers are tiring of it. Be ready to drop the fiction and show us the real you. Show us how you help solve your clients’ problems, show us how your product improves someone’s life, or show us how you help a client put together a solid business plan.
Show don’t tell. And if you’re not sure what to show, let’s have a conversation.