Successfully validating your business, new products, services and/or features requires a varied approach. There are countless tools you might use as part of your overall strategy — traditional ads, social media, SEO… But if you neglect the most important tool of all, your efforts won’t be nearly as effective as they could be. To become a world-class business and gain the trust of your customers, you have to prioritize Social Proof.
Social proof is one of the simplest, most cost-effective, and crucial ways to validate your business. Even after you’ve attained initial traction, as you roll out new products, services, features or pivot in entirely different directions, social proof is the constant that sets you up for success in each instance. According to Nielsen, 83% of people trust the recommendations of friends and family, while BrightLocal found 85% of respondents trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Social proof provides a platform to speak to people that are unfamiliar with your business by them with previous customer experience. From there, you can build strong trust with your product/service, team, and brand. People’s behaviours are influenced by the actions of others; knowing this, you can implement the following tactics that capitalize on Social Proof:
1. Partner With Industry Influencers
Big personalities excite crowds; whether that be a celebrity, affluent community members, or experts in your industry they have a great deal of influence. If someone reads an article or a post written by someone they love and respect or can relate to, anything associated with that person is held at a higher regard. This awesome phenomenon is called The Halo Effect and businesses can capitalize on it by creating a vetted network of recognizable advocates.
The Halo Effect can also have a negative effect depending on who you recruit. Invitations to industry experts are win-win situations for everyone involved as long as the benefit is mutual. So be mindful about who you want representing your company.
2. Utilize The Power Of Storytelling
Storytelling has long been viewed as one of the best forms of marketing, word to Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. We naturally think and organize our lives in stories and as a result, storytelling in any way, shape, or form can help consumers process information, you can create emotional connections that better appeal to potential customers.
An ideal example is having a high quality, brief video of a customer’s experience on your company’s front page. The video should provide a background of the customer and the problem they were dealing with before they had the product/service you offer. Then it’s explained how your product/service solved this problem for the customer and how it may have impacted their lives in a greater way. The whole idea is to trigger a strong emotional connection with potential customers.
3. Target The Right Customer Base
We naturally gravitate toward people, places, and things that resemble ourselves. The more familiar something is, the more we like it and as a result marketing campaigns that reflect our audience work better.
When you see someone who looks like you, sounds like you or even has your own name endorsing a product or service, you’re more likely to view it as something that would be good for you, too.
Therefore, it is key to really understand who your customer base is. Analyze the data, study the reports, and build out a solid profile of your target customer. Otherwise, the social proof that you market will have no effect on the customers that may actually be interested in your product/service.
4. Take Advantage Of People’s FOMO
Is everyone hanging out without me? We might make fun of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) or relegate it to something Generation Z-ers and Mindy Kaling have to endure but the reality is it has a powerful influence on us all. Simply put, no one wants to miss out on a cool product or experience that everyone else seems to be enjoying. As a result, the more reviews a product has, the more new sales it is likely to achieve.
How will you leverage social proof?
It is evident that maximizing social proof tools like testimonials, ratings, reviews, and endorsements can allow your brand to tap into several things that can help you increase the perceived value of your products and improve your sales potential. When implemented as part of a well-rounded marketing strategy, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an elite, world-class brand.
For further insights to grow your business, check out Corl’s post on The Best Low-Cost Marketing Strategies.
Corl is an investment company that provides funding for early-stage, high-potential startups. Revolutionizing the traditional funding industry through revenue sharing provides founder-friendly growth capital.
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