Your social influence, if used properly, is one of the most effective marketing tools you have at your disposal.
Internet shopping has fundamentally changed the way consumers interact with businesses across all industries. Until this time, people were primarily influenced by what friends and family said about a company or their personal experiences.
Now, social influence is on the rise, and business owners are finding more unique ways to engage and build trust with their audience with the power of the internet. Another name for social influence is social proof. It all boils down to taking actions to show users that you're reputable, trustworthy, and offer top-notch products and services.
There are plenty of exciting ways to show consumers that your brand is worth their time by creating unique content.
In an effort to help online businesses thrive, we want to examine several low-cost ways you can build social influence and grow your business.
Create a testimonials page
Testimonials are effective tools you can use to grow your business. If a high-profile client or reputable news source makes a statement about your products, ask if you can use their feedback on your testimonials page.
As a general rule of thumb, you'll want to make sure that the testimonial is honest and represents a typical experience with your brand. Create a page dedicated to showing prospects why you’re the best in the business.
You can break down your testimonials based on the product, customer case use, and more. If someone leaves you positive feedback and say that shopping with your business helped them accomplish a specific goal, or addressed a common pain point, don't forget to highlight that feature on your sales page.
Congruency between what you’re selling and what the testimonials say is vital for building trust and helping prospects come to the right conclusion about your brand.
Allow on-site product reviews
The next way you can use content to build social influence with your audience is through individual reviews on each product. Believe it or not, 70% of consumers look for reviews before making a purchase. This statistic means that people don't just rely on friends and family for feedback. Instead, the opinions of people with real experiences play a dominant role in purchasing behavior.
You're likely familiar with the effectiveness of this strategy if you've ever used Amazon. Under every single product on Amazon is a list of reviews for the product on display -- providing users have left feedback.
Consumers are free to browse through the good and bad reviews and make a decision for themselves. There's evidence that shows the effectiveness of product reviews. Specific products with a list of real reviews see a 270% boost in sales compared to pages without reviews.
Mention company milestones
Company milestones are often mentioned during internal meetings, but are you using this information to improve social influence? Consumers want to hear about how your company is performing in a way that makes sense to them.
For example, a SaaS company might include the number of downloads on their homepage. When someone stumbles across the brand website for the first time and sees that thousands of people have invested in this product or service, they are experiencing social proof.
Here's a quick example to show you what we mean.
If you had to choose between two companies that offer a similar product, but one states that they have over 1,000,000 installs and features awards from reputable news organizations, and the other is a basic landing page, who would you trust more? It's a safe bet that you would go with the company with awards and over one million customers.
A little transparency goes a long way. The next time you’re thinking about updating your homepage, start thinking about ways you can display these tidbits cleary for new visitors.
Share customer feedback on social media
Customer feedback is useful on your website, but it can provide more value when you share it on social media. You're going to see people mentioning your brand and telling you how much they enjoyed their experience with your company. Use this as an opportunity to share their thoughts with the rest of your audience so people who are not committed can see how other people feel about your business.
Let's say you’re interested in a new coffee company. You've browsed their website, checked out on-site reviews, but you're still not ready to make a purchase. One day, you’re browsing Twitter and find the company, so you decide to give them a follow.
Weeks go by, and you start seeing more and more posts from real users complimenting the coffee company for their exceptional product and service. You would probably feel justified to go back to the site and have another look. This situation we just described is social influence in practice.
If you're not getting much feedback on your social media page, you can create a feedback form and use it on your website and email. Reach out to current customers and ask them to leave their thoughts. Make a note saying that their opinions may be shared on social media. If the user agrees and fills out their form, you can create the perfect piece of social proof content.
Compile the best reviews and make a collage that shows off your company’s strengths. Sharing this image on social media is a surefire way to get more people engaged in your brand. What makes this tip more compelling is the fact that 43% of consumers check social media when they’re thinking about buying a product.
Work with partner brands and influencers
It's possible to create content that builds social influence by working with partner brands and influencers. Regardless of your industry, plenty of other companies would happily promote your brand on their website if you're willing to return the favor.
Partner brands are especially helpful at building social influence because it’s a safe bet that the brand you're writing for has a similar target audience— the difference pivots on the type of product, and the pain point it solves. Look for companies that operate in your industry with an audience that could also benefit from the products or services you offer.
The reason this qualifies as social influence is because the brands promoting your product have a dedicated audience. So the opinion of this company can have a significant impact on how consumers perceive your brand. Think about your favorite company. Now imagine that the company promoted a product from a different brand. You would go in assuming that the other company is a good fit because you value the opinion of the brand sharing their content.
A whopping 60% of bloggers write between one and five guest posts every month for other publications. Their goal, in this case, is to spread brand awareness while bolstering social proof.
On the same note, social media influencers are an excellent choice for building influence. The same rule to other businesses applies here. Consumers trust influencers on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram to promote helpful products with actual value. If someone's favorite influencer is sharing your product, the person seeing the ad will instantly trust you more than if they found your company elsewhere.
There's no doubt that adding a social influence strategy to your business can help you dramatically improve consumer confidence and sales. You have to take the time to gather valuable feedback from customers, which can include sending feedback forms via email, making it easy for users to leave product reviews, and by forging partnerships with other companies.
All of these steps lead to a more transparent and trustworthy business. At the end of the day, your goal is to provide a great product to your customers. But for people to see the value of your brand, you have to find ways to put your company on display.