Social validation, or social proof, can be a powerful tool to grow your business online. In his groundbreaking book, Influence, Robert Cialdini talks about several principles that can help convince customers to do business with you. One of those is social proof – or the idea that others have used, trusted, and would recommend your business. In the world of digital marketing, there are numerous forms of social validation that can help position you as a leader in your space. Here’s a closer look at different types of social proof that matter in today’s digital marketing environment and how you can work to integrate them successfully into your online promotional campaigns.
Do you have satisfied customers that would attest to the quality of your work in a public forum? If so, ask them for testimonials. A testimonial can be used on your website, in your marketing materials, and in client proposals to help bolster your credibility. The best testimonials are positive and specific. Whenever possible, use identifying details such as a person’s full name, company name, and position. Studies have shown that pictures accompanying a testimonial vastly increase the perception that testimonials are both honest and real.
When you’re active on social media channels, there are many ways to capture the benefits in your marketing. The connections you make, the customer service you offer and the content visibility that you gain are essential to growth. Another factor to take into account, however, is whether your social media follower numbers can help prove you’re a legitimate business. Use your social followings to your advantage as social proof by displaying follower numbers on your site. For example, your call to action for newsletter sign ups could be, “Join 1000 other homeowners in Central Utah for the best tips on keeping your home in top shape weekly.”
Another critical component of using social proof to promote your business is external reviews. Consumers are increasingly consulting external review sites, such as Google+ or TripAdvisor, before making purchases. More local customers than ever before are consulting these sources to assess the quality of businesses, and 88% of respondents in one study trusted online reviews as much as an in-person recommendation. Take advantage of this by claiming your profiles on popular review sites, which will allow you to ensure your information is up to date, participate in programs that let you offer discounts to customers, and respond to reviews to better manage your customer service. Make it a priority to ask customers to share feedback on review sites, which can help build your presence and reputation there over time.
Thought Leader/Celebrity Recommendations
Do you have an endorsement from a mentor, a thought leader, or a celebrity that would resonate with your audience? An endorsement or recommendation from a big name in your field or an individual that your audience would recognize can carry serious weight in terms of marketing and growing your business. Consider, for example, if a big name author endorses a local bookstore or a well-known TV home renovation expert recommends a particular construction firm. Fans and often just members of the general public take note.
Case studies differ from testimonials. With a case study, you’re offering an inside look at the life of a client and exploring what problems they faced, why they selected your product, and how it helped them. In the realm of social proof, case studies help demonstrate to prospective customers that your products or services are right for them. In a broader marketing sense, they go beyond this to help prospective customers understand how your products and services can really solve a problem. Invest in developing case studies using customers who are willing to open up about your products or services can help your target customers.
Are you ready to infuse new life into your digital marketing initiatives? Contact Be Locally SEO today to discuss how our team of experienced professionals can help you determine which strategies, including adding social proof to your website, will be effective for your unique situation.