People may tell you that each person is a unique being. But at the end of the day, there will always be a few decisions made that are based on what everyone else around is doing.
This much can be said when it comes to buying decisions. And this is why marketers and business owners should start giving social proof more weight.
Why Social Proof Matters
Basically, social proof is any form of proof, evidence or seal of approval coming from people that your audience trusts. These people may be celebrities they idolize, friends they’ve known for a long time, or subject matter experts they trust. And most of the time, whatever these people say, goes.
Why does social proof matter?
- People want to look or act like people they admire.
- People believe that influencers know a lot more than they do, so they see these influencers as trustworthy sources of information.
- People who have used a product or service before know how effective it is, so they probably know better.
If you’re marketing a specific brand, no matter how often you enumerate the benefits of your products or services, the word of another consumer who has used your brand before will have more weight. Did you know that almost 70% of all online consumers check reviews and recommendations first before making a buying decision? This is further evidence of the importance of social proof.
How to Incorporate Social Proof into Your Content Strategy
No matter what kind of field you’re in, or what your current content strategies are, social proof will definitely amplify your results.
Here are a few ways you can use social proof to your advantage:
Customer reviews and testimonials
Have your customers rate your products and services. For a lot of consumers, they instinctively look at how many stars people give when looking at your brand. This becomes their gauge when considering whether or not your products and services are worth it.
How do you do this? Ask for reviews on your product pages and on your website. Find ways to connect with customers and ask them for a review. You can even apply microformatting on your site or pages so that Google displays your reviews when you come up in SERPs.
How different are testimonials from reviews? Basically, a review is just a general report or feedback on how your product or service was. A testimonial, however, is so much more than that.
Testimonials narrate detailed stories on how the entire experience was. These are often more difficult to get from customers mostly because it requires more of them. Where a review may only ask you to rate them in stars from 1 to 5 or ask you to leave a comment on how the service was, a testimonial digs deeper. The customer would have to discuss what their initial problem was, talk about how they discovered the product or service, and share how this discovery offered solutions to the problem initially discussed.
The great thing about working with influencers is the fact that they have already captured the audience you’re after. They know how these people think. They have influenced a few decisions these consumers have made. By working with them, you get to use this influence to your advantage.
Of course, influencers do everything they can to protect their image. They have already mastered their routines and strategies. They also have a fixed set of beliefs and principles. When working with them, you cannot control them and tell them what to do. Remember, they already have the social following you’re still in the process of getting. So you really have to prove that your products and services work and will benefit the influencer’s followers. Otherwise, they might think twice about working with you.
You know what the great thing is about social media and this digital world in general? People can say something about your brand, and you get to hear about it in an instant. Now, just imagine how much help this can give you when it’s the press, or another big brand, or maybe an influencer mentioning your name. You automatically gain the attention of their entire following.
How do you deal with mentions? Why, by showing appreciation, of course! You can publish a social media post, or probably create a content that features the mention. Talk about how grateful you are for the mention (but don’t overdo it!) and you’ll earn the respect of influencers and other brands.
Do you have to focus on mentions given by influencers and big brands? Definitely not! You will comes across regular users and consumers who will mention your brand on their respective social media accounts. Give them a shout out and show appreciation for the fact that they took the time out to talk about how much your brand has helped them.
There are so many milestones that give social proof. All you need to do is closely monitor your numbers the same way a mother would keep track of every milestone their newborn child reaches.
Did you reach 500 likes on Facebook today? 1,000? 500,000? 1 million? Celebrate this fact by posting about it. Other milestones you can rave about would be the number of downloads for your app, or the 5th anniversary of your company. You can create a list of milestones that you can celebrate. Clueless on what milestones you should be looking at? Just take a peek at your targets. If you’re targeting a million followers on Twitter, and you reached it this morning, then I would think that’s something worth telling the world about.
Note that these milestones do not just have to be posted on your social media feeds. They can also have their very own corner on your website’s landing page.
Social proof will definitely take you further in terms of content marketing. It’s all about how you use every single interaction, every single mention, every single form of engagement that anybody has with your brand.