Digital storytelling to inspire action in your tourism business

First published on March 23, 2018
Last updated on May 23, 2023
In this post Tourism Tribe expert Despina explains how Digital Storytelling works as part of your Social Media strategy. How being creative in your social voice can keep customers engaged

In our fast-paced, digital world, it’s essential to make your mark and establish a presence through different online and social media platforms. Every day in the tourism and small business worlds you need to prioritise your marketing efforts to master digital storytelling and help your business expand its reach and engage your online audiences with the digital media available at your fingertips. In other words — if you’re worried about your social media presence, and don’t know how to make it better, digital storytelling is an excellent strategy to consider as your solution.

What is Digital Storytelling?

“Storytelling” is often used loosely as a term for good writing. Yes, granted it’s a borderline cliché buzzword. And, like “content marketing,” at times can be ambiguous. If you are wondering what digital storytelling is, here’s a quick explanation. Digital stories are made of multimedia content by way of photographs, videos, animation, music, text, sound, to tell a story to your clients.

Using digital storytelling principles helps your website, social media audience and potential customers become familiar with who you are, what you stand for and why you do what you do first. Business offerings and promotions, second. In this post I want to help you discover the magic of digital storytelling; learn essential traits and tips for good digital storytelling practice, and in turn, hope to ignite action to get you creating your own magic! Read on for the 5 steps you need to achieve this excellence.

1. Live to tell a unified story

The first step to your digital storytelling mastery is living to tell a unified story. You might have seen this called “brand story” or “brand purpose” or “purpose statement”. Formulating a unified story is a one-sentence summary of the difference you make in the lives of your customers. To determine what your unified story is, listen to your employees, clients, and partners.

  1. What consistencies and patterns do you hear over and over again about your brand?
  2. What words do they use to describe the quality you bring to your audience?
  3. What do your current visitors and customers tell their friends about you?

Keep in mind that the more time you invest in a unified story as a foundation of your business, the more natural the next steps of digital storytelling will become. Take your time, investigate, and listen to the people who support, engage in, and love what you do. One more hint — simplicity is the key to making this step successful.

A few things to note about digital storytelling is that it should be:

•    Planned

•    Purposeful

•    Empathetic

•    Original

•    Consistent

•    Creative

•    Strategic

Defining your purpose statement is a work in progress. Here is an example of my refined version to story to share with you.

“School for small business greatness igniting excellence in people through inspired training solutions.”

This one sentence started as a half page document. Drilling down, refining, listening, connecting and aligning who I help, why I do it and what I stand for has made a remarkable shift in all areas of my business and the story I live to tell through it. It is powerful.

2. Choose your platforms wisely

The second step to your digital storytelling mastery is choosing your platforms with purpose and choose them wisely. You need to be clear and know who you are marketing to and where you are marketing to the audience you want to attract. More importantly, who your business is speaking to most often.

Do your research and understand how a day in the life of your ideal your client plays out. Derive everything from this one person, not from current media channels and trends. Keep in mind that having fewer people more richly engaged is better for your brand than being everywhere and trying to be everything to everyone.

3. Think in chapters

The third step to achieving digital storytelling mastery is channelling your favourite author. This idea may seem confusing — are you building your business, or writing a book? Putting it out there, why don’t you do both. I did in 2014. Self-published my first book, Adventures of a Balloon Girl. One of the best things I did and it’s mostly the same process when looking at your digital footprint because you want to bring your clients from one area of your brand and business to the next. Ultimately this is about bringing them on a journey and help them come along for the ride the entire time. The transitions shouldn’t be forced, but natural. Writing out your process can help with this. Some questions to ask and assist you in mapping this out:

Does the flow of your business brand make sense like the plot in a book?
Can your clients jump around within your brand’s story, or does it have to be experienced in a particular order?
If you were to write an inspiring book about your business what would it be – think the title, forward, who it is for, content and 12 core chapters it will include?
Equally as important as thinking in chapters is planning — you know what they say, fail to plan, plan to fail. Planning is accurate in business as it is in other areas of life. Take out a pen and paper or pull up a Google doc — it doesn’t matter how you get it down, but you must have a plan. At the very least, you need the unified story and a complete picture of your audience and the topics they are interested in. Break these topics out, including social media, videos, blog, and research you can use to write this section of your plan.

4. Fireworks and campfires

The fourth step is what I call fireworks and campfires. Hold on — let me explain. Interest and excitement in a digital story come from the ebb and flow of the plot — it should go from excitement to stability. Too many “fireworks” or too much excitement in your brand story is off-putting for your clients. “Campfires” are the steady sections of your brand story that keep the “fire” or interest of your clients burning. They should provide comfort, but still a few snaps and crackles to surprise them.

Building excitement and calm is important: the point of fireworks is to inspire vision, a new way of thinking, or allow your clients to come up with a “what if?” idea; the campfires will keep them moving through the decision-making process.

5. Connect with non-digital platforms

The fifth and final step may seem counterintuitive but hear me when I say — it’s the most crucial to obtaining to retain clients and mastering digital storytelling. This step is to connect with non-digital platforms. What? Yes, you heard me right. Take that piece of paper or Google doc you created and base your entire brand and digital story on it. Taking your connections offline ensures that your story is a story and not a sales tactic — and believe me, clients can tell the difference. A phone call, a meeting, industry networking events, exhibiting at tradeshow, speaking engagements all play a pivotal role in building your digital assets and brand power. Ultimately, keeping the purpose of your business to help your clients at the front and centre of your brand at all times will always win.

To recap, to ignite excellence in your digital storytelling greatness, build your brand, and ensure that your visitors are getting the right message from you and across all media. A way to do this is to have a unified story, platform purpose, ‘chapter’ thinking, fireworks and campfires, and non-digital platform connections. Thank you for reading for this — I hope you gained some great insights and inspired to share your story.


This article was originally appeared on Institute Of Excellence Blog

About Despina:

Despina - Tourism Tribe coachThank you so much for reading this article. Ignite excellence in people is the reason I get out of bed in the morning, and that is the reason my training and mentoring practice exists. I help the experience makers of the small to medium business communities use the power of online tools, tips and strategies to grow their business. This is done via face to face group and one on one training and live online tutorials, delivering a combination of digital marketing, social media and tourism marketing specific business development outcomes.

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