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Lead Nurturing

Social proof can give your clients the information they need.

What Is Social Proof in Marketing? And Why Does It Matter?

By | Content Development, Lead Nurturing, Marketing Strategy

Social proof—it’s all over the news these days. But what is social proof exactly?

Social proof is when you like things because other people or brands like those things. They influence your opinion.

For example, think about the last novel you bought, it probably had raving reviews from big-name authors on the cover, right? That’s an example of the principle of social proof.

If Stephen King had great things to say about this book, then it must be good and you have to buy it. Otherwise, you’re missing out.

And social proof doesn’t only come from celebrities. Those around us every day are also an important source of social proof.

Have you ever bought something based on the recommendation of a friend? If so, you aren’t alone! About 77 percent of consumers found this to be the most persuasive way to learn about new products and businesses.

So how can you leverage this in your marketing?

Testimonials and other social proof examples may seem like small items, but in the big picture, they play a significant role in moving potential clients toward a sale.

Social proof is the hook that helps sell consumers on a product or service. Including some form of social proof in your marketing strategy will help give your potential clients the right information they need to consider doing business with you.

First Things First: Consumers Are Looking at Your Social Media

Your social media profiles say more about your brand than you might think. Consumers tend to look at your profiles to see the content you’re producing and if it’s worth their time.

Don’t worry about how many followers you have, how many likes you’ve gotten, or how many comments were left on your posts. At the end of the day, that doesn’t matter.

Your clients aren’t looking at that—what does matter is the quality of what you’re posting.

Utilizing social proof on your social media is a great content idea. For example, you can post part of a testimonial that someone left you or a link to case studies you have.

Whether you want to showcase a new client or a stellar testimonial you received, this kind of content is great for your social media.

Think of social media as a place to showcase your social proof and bring out your brand’s voice in a more casual setting.

Testimonials & Reviews Are More Important Than Ever for Social Proof

If your company’s page on different review sites like Yelp and Google looks like a ghost town, this isn’t a good sign for your business. But it doesn’t take a ton of reviews to make a difference.

Having just one review can encourage someone to do business with you. For example, every star increase you have on Yelp can increase revenue by 5 to 9 percent.

Before making a purchase, trying a new restaurant, or seeking a spontaneous haircut, most people today will look at a business’ reviews. Studies have shown that the average consumer checks two to three reviews sites before making a decision. If there are no reviews, they will be less likely to choose your business.

The same goes for testimonials on your website. By simply including attributed quotes from your happy clients in an easily accessible spot on your website, you can increase conversion rates.

This is word-of-mouth marketing in the digital age.

Don’t Forget About Case Studies for Social Proof

Although reviews and testimonials provide solid social proof, case studies prove why the reviews and testimonials can be trusted. Ultimately, clients want to know that you can solve the problem they’re facing.

If a client is interested in your product or service and you have case studies that show you’ve solved a problem similar to the one the person has, this helps build trust in what you’re offering.

Case studies allow you to build this personal connection with potential clients—which can help them move one step closer to becoming your next client.

Social Proof Should Showcase Your Clients

If you work with notable clients, show them off! Somewhere on your website, cite some of the businesses you’re working with.

If you’re working with other businesses, drop their logo onto your site—that alone has been shown as a viable source of social proof that pushes people to buy.

This will make you more credible to potential clients. One of those notable clients might be one they connect with or admire, which only makes them want to connect with you more.

Create a Conversation With Social Proof

So why does social proof matter?

Social proof offers your potential clients a mental shortcut to get from “Should I care about this?” to “tell me more.”

Create a conversation with your clients by giving them the information they need to care and want to learn more about your business and services you offer.

Social proof plays an important role in marketing. Are you using it to your advantage? Schedule a consultation with one of our experts to start putting social proof into action for your business.

Don’t feel like blogging? Create this kind of content instead.

By | Content Development, Lead Generation, Lead Nurturing, Marketing Strategy

“If you don’t have something meaningful to say, don’t say anything at all.”

As a content strategist, I spend a lot of time working with clients to help them blog consistently. Blogging consistently produces results — there’s no question about it. It can help you grow your audience and become known as a thought leader in your industry. It also builds traffic to your website so you can convert more sales.

Important stuff.

But even more important is being smart about when you ask for your audience’s attention.

If you don’t have something meaningful or helpful to share, blogging just to blog doesn’t do anything to help your audience. And at the end of the day, your blog is about them, not you.

Think about it this way — if someone who’s never heard of you before lands on your website today and sees your latest post, are they likely to read anything else you’ve written?

Going on a Blogging Hiatus

Over the last few months, I took a little blogging siesta. This break started as most business breaks do — with total and complete burnout. I was trapped in Content Development Groundhog Day and when I thought about writing my weekly blog post, the first thing that came to mind was a series of listicles (a.k.a. the lazy girl’s blogging strategy). That’s when I knew it was time to take a week off.

Just one week, I promised myself.

Then one week became two.

And two became…well, you know the rest.

As a content strategist, I know the data behind consistent blogging. There’s no doubt that it works, but that didn’t change the fact that I just wasn’t feeling it. So, instead of pounding out content just to prove to myself I could be consistent, I decided to experiment with something new. A few somethings, in fact.

Here are the four pieces of content I created this summer during my blogging hiatus.

Making Personalized Introductions

Making an introduction for your clients and colleagues is one of the most useful and personal pieces of content you’ll ever create — whether that means making an introduction to people they want to collaborate with, sharing new resources or tools that can simplify their business, or telling them about articles you think they’ll find useful.

When people know you are always on their mind and you are thinking about their business and their success every day, they tend to reciprocate. This strategy may not build website traffic, but it builds deeper relationships, loyalty and a strong foundation for referrals.

Making these connections took a fraction of the time it would have taken me to blog all summer long. Instead of writing listicles, I spent more time listening to the people around me and hearing what they needed…then connecting them with one of my colleagues who was a good fit to help them solve their problem.

Quick Tip for Making Meaningful introductions

Personalize every single introduction you make (or don’t make one). If you’re going to connect two people you know with one another, add a personal note about each of them explaining how you met them, what you love about their work and why you’d recommend them.

Anyone can fire off an impersonal email introduction, but only you know what needs to be said to make a genuine connection between the two people you’re introducing.

Playing with Instagram Captions

I’m a total sucker for Instagram. Well, me and about 300 Million other people.

One huge trend in my business over the last 12 months has been an exponential increase in requests for help with Instagram. We are now creating content for both product-based businesses and clients in the service sector. I have an incredible social media team working with me, but it was high time I figured for myself out what works (and what doesn’t) on this platform.

So this summer, I played around with it.

I used it for business a little bit.

And family a lot a bit.

I tried short captions and long ones.

I got crazy with hashtags and went hashtag free (ok, I never actually went hashtag free, but I got close a couple of times).

I even tried story style and get-to-the-fricking-point style.

What did I learn? Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform (duh). People want pretty pictures. But what I found surprising is that people are more likely to like, comment and repost when the copy is brilliant, too.

Pretty copy + pretty pictures = SLAM DUNK, IG-style.

I stopped using my Facebook business page months ago because it wasn’t performing, so I wasn’t expecting to get much traction from Instagram. But after three months of experimenting, color me surprised (and grateful) to know that Instagram is a platform where I can connect with some pretty amazing new clients.

Quick Tip for Instagram Captions

There’s no better playground than your personal Instagram account. If you want to figure out what works for your business, do a little trial and error testing on your personal account so you’re polished and ready when you start integrating business posts.

Psst…you can do this on Facebook too. See what gets the most traction on your personal profile. The same type of language, pictures and stories will often work on your business page, too!

Being Relentlessly Helpful

Tim Grahl, one of my mentors, always says marketing is about being relentlessly helpful. As you’re creating content for your audience, ask yourself if it’s useful.

You don’t need to blog every single week to effectively sell your services. Creating relentlessly helpful content for your audience could be as simple as answering client questions, Periscoping about a useful book you recently read, or recording your screen as you walk through a process your ideal clients use everyday.

Quick Tip for Being Relentlessly Helpful

When you create content, make sure it’s making your audience’s life better or making their businesses run more smoothly. Helpful content is the kind of thing people thank you for and remember.

Using Meaningful Words

The words you use on your website and in your blog are definitely considered content. But so are the inside words that you use with your team. For instance, I think we can all agree that no one wants to feel like they are just a number on a list. Yet many entrepreneurs refer to their email subscribers as their “list”.

Ick.

I spent some time over the last few months redefining my “inside voice”. The words I use internally with my team matter just as much as the words I use with clients. In fact, they matter more.

And since I work intimately with a small number of clients, we know a lot about each other. I know my clients’ kids names, where they’re headed on their big vacation for the year and what they’re struggling with in their business. When you work with people this closely, “lists” don’t matter.

People matter. The results they’re achieving matter. And they way they feel about your word choice — that matters, too.

Quick Tip for Choosing Meaningful Words

Content Marketing is about creating a sense of belonging. Choose words that make people feel like an important part of what you’re doing and make sure everyone on your team is on board.

Now it’s your turn

What kind of unconventional content have you been working on lately? Share a link in the comments to the most useful piece of content you’ve created (or read) recently so we can learn from you!