Credibility is everything today. For brands, leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, you name it, it all boils down to how trustworthy you are, and how consistently you deliver on your promise. Once upon a time, advertising was the be-all, end-all of getting in front of more people, and intrusive phone calls were considered the norm for offering products and services. In this customer-centric era, word of mouth is the foundation that your brand reputation is built upon. To use it regularly and in different forms, you need to revamp your marketing strategy completely.
What that means is that you should add more creative tactics to your existing strategy that will serve as social proof to your target demographic and generate more trust and engagement among your audience. In case you’re new to the concept, let’s break it down into several key principles that will allow you to leverage social proof to your advantage and make sure that your brand builds its credibility over time.
Understanding social proof
Simply put, social proof has become an integral part of modern-day brand marketing, which allows you to utilize your customers’ trust and your success stories to generate even more traffic, conversions, leads, and ultimately, profits. To fully understand the impact of social proof, you also need to understand the brand marketing definition, which focuses primarily on raising brand awareness, and thereby increasing brand visibility and boosting your reputation.
Social proof in its many formats is now truly vital for proper brand marketing, since improving your brand’s visibility and recognition through your loyal customers is one of the most effective ways to get your brand the spotlight it deserves.
User-generated content front and center
This includes your most avid customers who have already shown their trust in your business on more than one occasion. They will be the most likely candidates to take part in interactive social media polls that will show the interest in your brand, publish stories and posts where they tag you, and engage in similar activities that showcase their loyalty.
Of course, in addition to these campaigns to generate customer action, you can also collaborate with influencers who will regularly rave about your brand, in a transparent way, so that people can actually relate to your business.
Tools to raise immediate interest
Social proof is not just an idle piece of feedback sitting on your site, collecting traffic. When you know how to time your credibility-building efforts, you can actually use social proof to inspire immediate action, especially among customers who might be having second thoughts, since they are on your site for the very first time.
To generate social proof, you can use a tool such as Cue to produce convenient notifications when someone makes a purchase on your site, thus showcasing existing customer interest to your potential customers on the site, perusing. These notifications imply trust and security, and they are the perfect example of how people interact with your brand at any given moment. Such simple steps tend to improve your conversion rate for the long haul, not just for the time being.
Reviews and testimonials
Word of mouth in the digital realm has taken the form of reviews and testimonials, allowing you to slowly build up your authority in the eyes of your demographic, one comment at a time. Although independent review sites such as Yelp and platforms such as Google are a good start, you should go beyond these spots and ask for feedback actively and on a regular basis.
If you own an e-commerce store, you should enable star-based reviews and comments on each product. When customers post photos paired with a few kind words, your business will be all the more trustworthy. Share these on social platforms, and of course, enable reviews on each social network, too.
When you offer tiers of services and people don’t want to find themselves stuck in a contract with someone who’s simply not compatible with their needs and preferences, your work should do all the talking instead. Single out a few specific and most successful examples of your work, condense them into clear and concise case studies with a visual edge, perhaps in the form of an infographic, and publish them on your site.
Take it a step further and share your latest work on social media, so as to inform your existing followers to take a look at your updated portfolio. Think of it as a corporate CV for your brand. This is you showcasing your experience, expertise, and uniqueness, and how others have put their needs in your hands.
You might have used social proof in your brand presence so far, but perhaps not strategically and not enough to raise awareness of the trust previous customers have placed in your brand. Amplify the impact of your marketing strategy with the help of social proof, and you’ll give your brand a far better chance not just to leave a good first impression, but to generate more sales, improve traffic, and above all, enhance your customer retention rate. Remember, it takes time for your social proof features to take effect, so make sure to update your content regularly with social proof in mind to boost your credibility in your industry.
Jolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for technivorz.com. Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and mean to people.