The human mind is hard wired to act on social impulses. Here are some you may recognize:
- When your friends are talking about a new gadget, you want to learn more about it.
- You avoid places with no one inside when you and your partner are deciding where to eat.
- When you are looking for a service provider, such as a plumber or a pest control company, you ask for recommendations from your family and friends.
- You choose a service provider that claims to have served hundreds of thousands of clients over a smaller business.
Psychologists and sociologists call the phenomenon of letting others influence a person’s decision-making process social proof, or informational social influence. In essence, social proof can be summed up as “following the crowd.”
Why does social proof in content marketing matter?
It matters a lot. For years, psychologists have understood the impact peer pressure has on our actions, but only recently have people linked it with content marketing.
Social proof is the marketing tactic for allaying customer fears and concerns. If content marketing’s purpose is to build the foundation for word of mouth marketing, social proof’s role is to use content to make your brand more trustworthy and deserving of your target market’s money. Below we’ll discuss a few ways to do just that.
Make testimonials more visible
Testimonials are an old tactic all marketers are familiar with, so much so that most sites have entire landing pages dedicated to testimonials. But what they may not realize is that people do not really visit the ‘Testimonials’ page on a website.
For testimonials to count, they need more visibility.
Place banner ads beside blog posts and in between paragraphs so people will see them as they read content. They can also be integrated in product pages, the home page, and other landing pages with ‘buy’ buttons.
Then look at the conversions generated by these ads and compare them with both your testimonials page and homepage. Did it work? If not, work on the content of your testimonials.
Make testimonials results-oriented
A testimonial that reads, “Company X saved my business! Thanks Company X!” is pure fluff and tells the reader nothing.
Instead, write testimonials through the following angles:
- What exactly did you do for the customer?
- What results did your service/produce generate?
- Did your product/service offer great value for money?
Anybody can say he or she was happy with your service or product. What is more interesting is quantifying a customer’s results with hard data:
- Did your product generate savings? How much? What percentage?
- Did your product save your customers’ time? How many hours?
The more specific your testimonials are, the more trustworthy they appear to readers.
Tap influencer reach and power
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be celebrities, industry experts, and other personalities in your niche.
- Experts – A guest blog post or even a mention from an industry expert can do wonders for your reputation and authority. For example, if you operate an ad agency, you can do an interview with a high-profile client to discuss your services.
- Celebrities – Celebrity endorsements are as old as advertising itself, but getting a celebrity who is actually relevant to your industry can still work.
Reach out to someone your customers trust, someone whose ‘thumbs up’ can improve your image dramatically.
Add a client portfolio
Having a line of client logos at the bottom of your homepage may seem like a dated strategy, but it is so simple and easy to add that there is really no harm in using it to build your credibility.
Before you add a carousel of logos to your homepage, however, be sure to first ask permission from your clients. You need to make sure the clients you feature want to be associated with your brand after their experience with your company’s products or services.
You can also feature logos of publishers and media outlets that featured your content to show the coverage your brand received from the media.
Ultimately, social proof is all about leveraging the power of influence. Fortunately, there are several kinds of content, be it text, images, or videos, that you can leverage to reach out to your target market and highlight the experiences your customers have with your products and services.
When consumers are in doubt, they turn other people’s actions and buying habits for guidance on who to trust. Your job is to make the process easier, crafting content that builds confidence and establishes your brand as being worth their time and money.