Social proof is a holy grail for marketers.
Consumers are always a little hesitant to trust advertising and marketing messages, and with good reason.
Of course companies are going to say good things about their own products in ads they created themselves.
But when someone gives a good word to a product without any incentive or bias, other people listen.
Satisfied customers say positive things, and word gets out.
Bonus points if the satisifed customers are people with some degree of social clout, like social media “influencers” or prominent members of local or online communities.
One asset companies can leverage to produce this social proof is their online content.
Ideally, you want people to share it and spread it to their own friends and followers.
When you create a piece of content that's good enough for people to share, that in itself is a form of social proof for your brand.
In a recent article from Convince & Convert, the author (a SaaS company cofounder) explains how to transform your content marketing efforts into a great opportunity for social proof.
Create Incentives for People to Share
You should release high-quality content about your brand, of course, but if you’re the only one doing so, you’re completely missing the mark of social proof.
The goal, after all, is to encourage your audience to leave reviews, share your messaging, invite friends to purchase your products and create their own content about your products.
When generating content with the focus of driving shares, think through the lens of, “Would my audience want to share this?”
Is the content funny, emotional, or educational? Does it support a cause or belief?
If not, get back to the drawing board.
A great example is John Lewis, a U.K.-based department store, that created online traction this past holiday season.
The creation of an ad featuring a lovable dog, Buster the Boxer, jumping on a new trampoline made for social media gold. Nearly two million people shared the touching video because of its lovable character and message.
Incentivize your followers to leave reviews, share your content, and invite friends to purchase your products.
The goal should be to increase conversion rates by positioning your brand as well-loved.
If you can convince others to trust you because you have evidence that others already do, you can generate a positive perception of your brand.
Social proof isn’t all positive, however, and with the ease of sharing comes the difficult task of crisis management.
You don’t have to look far to find some recent examples.
You can find more ideas for leveraging your content strategy to gain valuable social proof over at Convince & Convert.