23 January 2024

Personal Storytelling Belongs in B2B Marketing—Here’s Why

Content creator and brand coach, Angela Snyder, believes in the power of personal storytelling, even in a professional context. Her second-ever post on LinkedIn struck a chord, receiving more than 47,000 views, 750 reactions and 150 comments. At the time, Angela says, she had no idea what she was doing. But she knew she was on to something.

Angela has noticed her posts do best when she’s being transparent, honest and a bit vulnerable—in other words, human. She believes bringing elements of that personal storytelling into B2B content marketing can help a company stand out in a crowded space. 

I sat down with Angela to talk about the role of storytelling in building a personal brand, as well as in elevating a company’s brand perception. She’s got some practical suggestions on how to get both executives and employees on board with personal storytelling—and how to navigate that tricky line between personal and professional online presence.

She also spoke candidly about following her heart and making the major career transition that brought her where she is today: a sought-after brand coach and content creator.

Interview with Angela Snyder, Content Marketing Leader

Name: Angela Snyder
Job title: LinkedIn and Personal Brand Coach
Company: Independent consulting
Previous company: Canopy
Hometown: Charlotte, NC, USA
Degree: BS, Elementary and Special Education; M.Ed., Digital Learning and Leading

Fun facts about Angela:

🥙 Food you’re craving right now: penne alla vodka – my favorite
📺 The show you’re binging right now: Virgin River
🎵 Your favorite musician/band is: The Chainsmokers
☕ Tea, coffee, or something else?: Coffee! With flavored non-dairy creamer and one Splenda 🙂
🛫 Last place you’ve traveled to: Domestically – Savannah, GA. Internationally, Colombia
🙏 The #1 thing you’re grateful for today: My family and pup!

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Angela Snyder, a former educator who pivoted into marketing back in 2022. I’ve worn many hats and have experience with content marketing, brand marketing, social media marketing, event marketing and email marketing. I love to write.

Your 2nd post on LinkedIn received more than 47,000 views, 750 reactions and 150 comments. What was the post about? Why do you think it resonated?

I was shocked when that happened! I didn’t know what I was doing at the time. But that reaction inspired me to keep going, and now I’m a content creator on LinkedIn.

In February 2022 I realized my heart wasn’t in education anymore and I wanted to do something different. I turned to LinkedIn to start spreading my wings.

I found a job posting that really spoke to me. I knew I had to throw my hat in the ring. I scrolled down and saw the benefits, and the starting salary was more than double what I was making at the time. But doubts started creeping in: maybe I’m not good enough, maybe I can’t do it, maybe I don’t have enough experience. I applied anyway—and never heard anything back.

I wrote the post that really took off about those doubts. There are always going to be other applicants for a role, some with more experience. But it’s still worth trying and believing in yourself. The post resonated with a lot of people. Job seekers, and even people not currently looking for a job, they’ve all been in a position of vulnerability and doubt with salary negotiations or feeling imposter syndrome.  

Why is personal storytelling important for building your brand on a professional platform?

Before I dove into LinkedIn, I thought of it as a boring professional platform. But it’s very much a social media platform. Of course, there are clients to be had and deals to be made, but at the end of the day, we’re all people—and people want to buy from people they trust. Storytelling is important because everyone loves a good story. Stories can be engaging and powerful, and are an ideal way to share lessons learned.  

My personal stories are what perform the best on LinkedIn. A well-told story grabs attention. Storytelling builds trust and credibility. Personal stories—when the writer is transparent and vulnerable—are more likely to resonate with other people. If people feel seen and heard, you’ve created a powerful connection that you can’t get through an ad or elevator pitch. 

Storytelling is important for my personal brand, but it also plays a really big role in the B2B space as well.

Talk to me more about the role of personal storytelling in B2B marketing.

I used to work at a B2B SaaS company. I noticed that, across the board, marketing in that space is a bit stuffy, a bit boring and outdated, in my opinion. A little too formal. It’s refreshing when someone says something a bit bold, something that rocks the boat. Maybe you throw out a video. Maybe you tell a compelling story and the ending isn’t what people expect. The B2B, SaaS market is very saturated; a lot of people are saying the same kind of things.   

If 5 companies are selling similar products, it’s important to identify what differentiates your service, your product, your offering. You can’t stand out by doing the same thing everyone else is doing. You’ve got to be innovative and inventive. That’s where storytelling comes in.

There are different ways to tell stories: you can be dramatic, you can be bold or a little bit controversial. Use humor, graphics, color, reels. But you have to be creative.

How about personal storytelling? Where does the personal piece come in?

There are many ways to go about it. You can shine a light on some of your employees and show the humans behind the brand. Telling the founder’s story and how that company, or how that brand, came to be is powerful. An even better way to go about it—going back to that idea that people are the brand—is to move away from the company page and focus on the people. Everyone within that company has a personal brand and can leverage that and tell their story.

I tend to work with a lot of people in the C-suite and founders or small business owners and position them as thought leaders. Telling their stories elevates the brand. There’s a company brand, and you may want to focus on that story or the product story, and you may be focusing on a LinkedIn post or blog, but you also want to humanize your brand—and you do that with people.

Encouraging employees or the C-suite to be active on LinkedIn or YouTube or TikTok is going to help with brand advocacy, brand awareness and demand generation. I would never have heard of some companies had it not been for employees telling their stories on LinkedIn. And now I feel like I know them, I trust them and I’d work for them.  

Hosting LinkedIn Lives, fireside chats or participating in podcasts—anything to get people out there and to share their thoughts—is great for the individual and it also elevates the brand perception.  

How do you walk the line between the personal nature of a personal profile, and using that personal profile to promote a company?

Absolutely, someone’s personal LinkedIn profile is their personal brand. In an ideal situation, every employee wants to be a brand evangelist and is happy to share a little bit about what they do in their role and what their company offers. In that case, the employee can collaborate with the PR and marketing teams and come up with ideas and stories. There can even be a content calendar for the whole team. 

But other people just don’t go on LinkedIn, or they don’t want to say anything about their job in their personal space. In that case, I suggest incentivizing it. Have a little internal competition: everyone posts something that week and whoever’s post performs the best gets a gift card or a hoodie or something.

You can also frame the idea of posting as a benefit to both the company and the person—putting them in the position of a thought leader. It’s exposure for the person and for the company. Sometimes people are overwhelmed or feel like they don’t have the time to spend developing posts. 

Working with a member of the marketing team to get started on drafting and formatting can help them feel they’re not in it alone. They can come up with a plan together. That’s another way to take a little bit off your employees’ plates who are already doing so much.

It’s really important for me to work with a company, as well as people and products, that I believe in, that I align with. That way, it’s easy and natural for me to leverage my platform and say, ‘Hey, guess what? We’re doing this great stuff!’ All I’m doing is telling the truth. It’s natural and it’s authentic.

If you don’t want to say anything about your company or your product because you’re not a fan, then maybe there’s an underlying issue. But I think if you show people the benefits for them as individuals, if you incentivize it and you make sure you’re not making more work for employees, it can work.

What are 3 tips for people who want to bring more personal storytelling into their B2B marketing?

1. Identify what differentiates you from your competitors

What are the signature topics that you can write about?

2. Know your audience

What is your ideal customer profile? Who’s in your target audience? What do they care about? What resonates with them? I really believe in people over products. Stories should cater to the audience, and not just be a giant ad for you and the company.   

3. Don’t be afraid to be different

Be bold. Don’t be boring. Don’t tell the same story that everybody else is telling. Be creative. You’re the author—have fun with it.

Thanks for spending time with us!

Thanks to Angela for giving us insight into the many possibilities of personal storytelling in the world of B2B marketing—and thank you, reader, for spending part of your day with us. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Angela as much as I did.

I’d encourage you to connect with Angela Snyder on LinkedIn.

Want to read more about personal brands and LinkedIn?

Check out these related Uplift blog posts:

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Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin

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