If you’ve been following this blog series, you already know that social proof is critical to a brand’s performance, success, and competitiveness. Featured as some sort of testimonial, social proof creates trust among potential customers. To create social proof, an individual (such as an influencer, loyal customer, or even an expert) endorses a brand’s products or services, oftentimes through social media channels or product review forums.
Social proof is one of the most credible ways to make a brand appear more reputable amongst new potential shoppers and audiences. In fact, a lack of social proof can actually make it difficult if not impossible to compete. The best testimonials allow potential customers to learn about a brand, their products or services, and how they perform, positively influencing their decision to purchase.
To develop an effective social-proof cross-channel strategy, it’s important to first understand how they can be used in marketing to boost your brand’s credibility.
Social Proof Strategies That Can Be Used in Marketing
Testimonials and Reviews
One thing we know for sure: The only way to improve is through feedback. While criticism is often hard to take, it can be leveraged. Through negative reviews, you gain an understanding of where your business falters. You can then use this information to make changes and improve customer experience and satisfaction. Feedback is, essentially, the key to earning loyal customers.
Positive feedback can be used to your advantage. A good review from a happy customer is the quintessential example of social proof and can go a long way when it comes to integrity, winning conversions, and loyalty. Testimonials provide proof to new customers that your business is legit and offers value.
In fact, more than 92% of shoppers will read reviews before making a purchase. So, if you aren’t featuring social proof across your channels, you may be missing out on a key touchpoint to boost conversions.
Testimonials and reviews are a great way to showcase brand credibility, as they usually refer directly to (and rate) a product, service, or exchange with customer care. These are also easy to share on social media and webpages to get the word out about your happy customers and reputable services.
If you aren’t doing so already, leverage your mailing and SMS list, and ask subscribed customers to review their experience with your business in post-purchase messages. You can even incentivize reviews by offering customers something in return. For example, offer customers who leave a review a discount or free shipping on their next purchase.
Inevitably, you will receive some adverse feedback. While negative comments on your social media and site can make your business look bad, there is a way to turn this around. Use this as an opportunity to reply to these unfavorable comments to show that you care about your customer’s experiences – and improve them in the future! Reply and engage with your customers to learn how you can do better. This also shows them you are willing to go the extra mile to make up for these negative experiences and reviews.
Ratings and reviews can be leveraged across all your marketing channels. Be sure to always share your 5-star reviews on social media to intrigue prospects and encourage these users to convert. You should also showcase your brand’s social proof on your website and in email campaigns. Direct your audience to these testimonials and reviews with phrasing like, “See why we are the best in the business” or “Don’t take our word for it, see what our customers have to say!”
Awards and Accolades
While reviews are a great form of “word of mouth” marketing, awards can take your business’s reputability above and beyond. If your brand has won awards or been ranked on top lists within your industry, skipping out on showcasing these major accomplishments would be a huge missed opportunity to boost business.
Show off these achievements to your customers and prospects. This is an exceptionally effective way to let them know your business is known for its excellence. Display badges or icons on your homepage to showcase these awards and be sure to provide information detailing the significance of this achievement. In addition to your site, you can also leverage any awards or accolades across your social media and within emails or SMS.
Nothing says “reputable” like a happy customer who shares their positive experience with your business on their social media. While there are many brands that would ignore user-generated content, this is an opportunity to showcase your credibility and success to prospects. Happy customers will usually tag your brand in (or direct message) user-generated content featuring your products. Share these posts on your social media pages to maximize reach.
You can even create a branded hashtag – featured in your social posts and bio – and encourage users to include this in any posts they create reviewing your products. A branded hashtag will also store all this user-generated content in one place for potential customers to seek out positive feedback featuring your products and brand. While this strategy can be used on any platform, it is most commonly used and effective on Instagram.
Traditional marketing methods, while still effective, are now being challenged by the rise of influencer marketing. Influencers have grown more and more popular in recent years, and we see brands taking advantage of this trend to bring in new business. The bottom line: Users trust influencers.
While we often see many big stars advocating for major brands across social media, you don’t necessarily have to enlist Hollywood personas to benefit from influencer marketing. With the introduction of micro-influencers, influencer marketing has become more affordable and attainable for smaller brands.
Influencers have a large following because people want to see and purchase the products or services they use and trust. In fact, 92% of users trust an influencer over a generic advertisement when it comes to making a purchase.
So, when brands compensate influencers to show off their business on social media, this makes your brand more trustworthy amongst the influencer’s audience. Influencer marketing also exposes your brand to a wider range of users and new audiences, so your products are in front of more eyes.
While reaching a whole new group of users isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you’ll want to keep your target audience in mind when choosing an influencer. For example, you probably won’t want to leverage a TikTok influencer for older adults or a parenting blogger for Gen Z audiences.
Third-Party How-To Videos
Storytelling is an important part of any successful marketing strategy. A video can tell your brand’s story, provide depth, and be very informative. They are an interesting and engaging way to visually capture your brand’s values, culture, and processes for viewers.
Similar to influencer marketing, third-party videos are also a great way to showcase your brand’s products in action. In fact, 87% of millennials enjoy watching videos that feature product demos or sponsored content.
When it comes to social proof, third-party how-to videos and product demos can be used to create brand credibility. In actuality, videos can boost your conversions, as six in ten YouTube subscribers said they would trust how-tos and product demo videos from content creators when considering buying a product.
In addition to influencer marketing, creating third-party sponsored videos featuring your brand’s products can increase your reputability among viewers.
For sponsored brand videos, it’s important to first ensure you and the creator of your choice (whether an influencer, a customer, or even an internal brand representative) are on the same page about deliverables and requirements. For example, if there are certain things you want communicated in the how-to video or product demo, highlight these in the contract. However, be careful not to be overly scripted – you want this social proof content to be authentic!
How-tos and product demos should feel candid and be true to how the creator feels about your brand and products. This means, sharing their real opinions. The more authentic your videos are, the more viewers will trust your brand.
Zero Gravity Marketing: The Social Proof Experts
Let’s face it: No one can build credibility like us. If you’re looking to make your brand more reputable and earn the trust of new customers through social proof, our strategies can take your business from average to extraordinary. To learn more about our digital marketing services, contact our team!