The first reason that you want to participate in the social business culture online is that it’s not a good idea to let other people tell your story. That’s true and so is reason two. The second reason is that the online social business culture is a great place to attract a community of people/fans who want to tell your best true story for you. They key is that phrase “your best true story.”

The idea is that even the most well-meaning fans and advocates don’t know us and our values nearly as well as we do. If we want our best story shared with others who might want to do business with us, we need to participate and help with that process. A great business story from the right person can highlight a business. Lots of “right people” telling the same story can attract a stream of “right people” that we want to business with.

Here are five steps to get the right people telling your story for you. 

  1. Choose one best true story about you. Start with one story you like to tell. Look for a specific event that’s both smart and filled with heart. Don’t try to pick a story that explains everything about you and your business. You need only one — one great customer experience story, one great obstacle you’ve overcome, one great idea you’ve made a point of building your business on. The story doesn’t even have to be about you. This story about the FedEX man says a lot about my standards for irresistible business.
  2. Articulate and live what the story represents about what you value. The story of the FedEx man underscores the kind of head and heart investment that invites customers to become fiercely loyal fans. He went beyond expectation. He was generous in doing that. My life was better for choosing his brand. Whatever story you choose, live the values that you see in it all day, every day so that folks can see them in you.
  3. Decide who the right storytellers are. The right storytellers will see what you value in the story. Some of them will be the people who love you already. Listen when you tell the story to identify more people who see values immediately. Find ways to bring them closer to you. Help them. Invite them to participate in what you do. Let them suggest and direct ideas of their own. If you’ve chosen people who share your values, their work will extend your brand in the best ways.
  4. Make it easy, fast, and meaningful to share the story. When great people ask how they can help, point to where you’ve written the story and say that just to pass it on would be so cool. If the conversation is off the web, tell them you’ll send a link that you’d love them to share if it resonates with them. If it does, they’ll feel proud to pass it on.
  5. Celebrate your heroes. The people who value what you do are doing things you value too. Look for chances to celebrate their endeavors, their attempts, and their successes. Show your gratitude by letting them know that you see how they’ve made your life easier, and more meaningful.

It’s hard work trying to make the world turn alone. It’s even harder to try to build your own business when you’re the only one talking about how great it is. We don’t really need to resort to shameless self-promotion or bribing people with favors or prizes to get fans.

All we have to do is connect to the people who share our values and want to build something bigger than themselves. People notice when you make their lives easier, faster, and more meaningful.