As much as we try to deny it, what our friends think about us is important to us. It’s that little voice in the back our heads before we walk out the door that says, “I wonder what this person is going to think of my outfit”, or “I hope so and so comes out to the party tonight.”
Yes, marketers have called this phenomenon social proof– a manner of judging the validity of a product or service based on our peer groups.
While these practices range in execution (from celebrity endorsements to testimonials), to be successful with it requires one thing: an honest approach from your brand.
Even with a number of phony attempts companies try to use to gain influence, today we’re going over some tips on how to keep your social proof as authentic as the people behind it.
Who Your Friends Are Matters
It’s no secret that we trust brands that work with other brands we like. After all, these people have gained one of the biggest trusts we have: our relationship with our money.
However, to get there took some steps: we had to be introduced to a brand, felt like it was coming from a reliable place, see how the product works (as well as what it’s made out of), and then, (most importantly) believe enough in their story to want to make it a part of our own.
Who your brand associates with is not only a part of your mission but theirs too. This means that the philosophies, identity, and following behind it are also something you value as well.
An excellent example of this is the constant partnerships between breweries and food trucks. Not only is it good for both parties involved, but they share a similar ideal behind their product as an artisan craft.
Even if you think a partnership or collaboration might be out of the realm for what you’re after, you’d be surprised on what you can find in your social or peer network.
Show a Genuine Side on Your Social Media, Then Let Your Users Say the Rest
Social Media is perhaps the most honest method of social proof we have. Even with folks that pay for followers or subscribers, people are quick to call them out, hurting their reputation more than it helped.
As 8/10 of internet users have a Facebook, there’s a powerful percentage of folks out there ready to not only be introduced to your business, but to also learn and love it too. In yet, while so many people try to master ‘Social Media Marketing’, they fail to do the hardest thing: tell an honest story, and let others spread it because it came from a genuine place.
The driving factor behind a company’s success is that it makes sure to keep its brand’s online presence genuine, instead of giving into the temptation to serve canned content and activity. Don’t post articles just for keyword metrics, don’t pay for followers just to make your account look more appealing – operate your brand’s online presence the same way you run your personal social media accounts.
Rather than focusing on metrics, SEO, or hashtags, master the honest sell, something that has proven very successful for them.
Finally, I’ll note that with whatever social platform you’re on, it’s important to be genuine about your numbers. I know it’s true you probably want 24,000 more followers tomorrow, but to get there, you have to engage in a meaningful way with the fans you have now. Post content that’s relevant to both you and them, as well as respond to their posts and comments. You want these folks to be an evangelist for your brand and sometimes, that requires a little bit of personal touch.
As commonplace as they are, testimonials are still a successful tool
I’d show you a few examples of the success of testimonials, but the good folks over Boast already compiled 20. With the added elements of social media (as well as the ability to verify validity), the age-old method of capturing what customers say about your product or service still matters…a lot.
Rather than making up quotes with stock photos, take the time to reach out to your customers individually about their experiences. Show them you genuinely care, and in return, they’ll do the same.