Trust and Validation: 5 Tips to Build Social Proof for Your Business in 2021
By Jolene Rutherford, Last updated: 2022-08-17 (originally published on 2020-11-24)
As the pandemic continues to rage on around the world, businesses are struggling to retain customers. While new ventures are faced with the challenge of getting their brands on the global map. Needless to say, the pandemic has shifted the consumer mindset. And nowadays the consumers are far pickier when it comes to putting their trust in brands. If you want to survive in the new normal and even thrive in 2021, then you need to focus heavily on digitisation and building social proof for your business on the local and global scale.
After all, your goal is to inspire trust and loyalty in your target demographic. This will incentivize them to keep interacting with your brand. And to keep buying your products no matter how dire the situation may seem. The last thing you want is for your competitors to be perceived as more trustworthy in these trying times. This is why today we are taking a look at the best tips to build social proof for your brand in 2021. And to earn the trust and validation of the global audience.
Start by focusing on your brand
First things first, you need to build a strong brand for people to take notice, engage with you online and offline, and ultimately decide to become your loyal customers. It should go without saying that the modern business landscape is becoming more saturated every year. And that now it’s more important than ever before to invest in the brand-building process. If you already have a solid brand identity, then you need to analyze your brand performance. And optimize it for 2021 and the years to come.
You can start by revising your brand visuals. Make sure that your brand is current and modern. And that it adheres to the latest visual design trends that consumers love. Next, revise your brand’s personality, tone of voice, and overall messaging.
Look for any signs of an outdated brand personality. Or signs of a tone of voice that no longer speaks to your audience. Your goal should be to influence the consumer mindset through your branding. And help build a trustworthy image of your company. So make sure that your values and brand messages are in-line with your target demographic and their expectations.
Inspire customers to leave positive reviews for social proof
Online reviews can make or break a business nowadays. So it’s imperative that you invest in online reputation management. Do this by inspiring and incentivizing your customers to leave honest reviews on your site and the web in general. Of course, you can only hope to get stellar reviews if your products and services are truly amazing. And if the overall brand experience is on point. This means that you need to adapt your entire digital presence to accommodate the needs of your audience.
Now that your brand is on point, you can optimize your website with updated visuals, more functional tools like filters and a search bar, and a personalized look for every visitor. What’s more, be sure to invest more in customer support and adopt an omnichannel communication strategy. This is especially important to do now that you’re running a remote workplace. So investing in the right technology will be paramount.
Having a comprehensive approach to customer support will allow you to capitalize on every touchpoint with your customers. Also, to engage with them anywhere in the online and offline world. When you make yourself available to communicate in real-time, you will invariably improve CX. This will inspire the customer to leave a positive review and a high rating score on your site, on social media, and other authority platforms around the web.
Integrate a reliable social proof tool
Nowadays, it’s important to remember that customers trust other customers more than they trust the brand. In other words, you can have the most compelling brand at your side, but if they don’t see that others have put trust in your company, they will have no problem going to your competitors. Aside from reading reviews, potential customers on your site also want to see that people are actually interacting with your business.
This is why implementing a customisable social proof tool on your website is an important part of building social proof. As it displays notifications to visitors informing them that others are buying your products, leaving positive reviews, downloading your free digital materials, and more. This type of encouragement prompts visitors to put their own trust in your brand. And leads them to convert more quickly by banishing any suspicion about your company.
Turn negative reviews into success stories
Building social proof is not just about getting as many positive reviews as possible. It’s also about acting on the negative ones quickly. No matter how amazing your company may be, bad reviews are bound to pop up at some point. But that doesn’t mean that you should stay silent.
If you let negative reviews go unanswered, then you’re essentially letting someone else tell the story of your brand to a global online audience. Instead of letting anyone write your own story, be sure to respond to all negative reviews promptly with a problem-solving attitude.
Your goal is to transform them into success stories. And to do that, you need to address every review head-on. Mind you, not every negative review should be discussed for the world to see. So depending on the issue, you can choose to resolve it privately or publicly.
Regardless of the route you choose, you should always notify your followers and the online world that you have successfully resolved an issue for a customer. This will show your audience that you put the customer above profit and corporate goals.
Get praised by influencers and authority figures
Keep in mind that influencers and other authority figures in your industry can significantly boost the social proof of your brand. People trust certain popular figures and entire authority websites. So it’s important that these individuals and businesses speak praise about your brand.
Get your stories published on authority sites in your field, have an important news outlet run a story on you and your brand, and use influencer marketing to spread the word of your brand on social media. This will solidify your position as a trustworthy brand, boost word of mouth marketing, and inspire people to quickly become your loyal customers.
However, keep in mind that it’s not just about working with influencers. It’s about working with the right influencers for your brand and the niche you occupy. The wrong kind of influencer might sully your company’s name and reputation with their personality and demeanor. As well as the values that might contradict the values of your brand.
Needless to say, you can’t allow this to happen if you want the public to form a positive opinion of your company. Make sure to research possible influencers meticulously. And consider using a dedicated tool that will help you narrow down your search. You can use various filters to find the influencers that perfectly fit your brand, it’s values, mission and vision.
Leverage the power of content marketing
Content is still king in the online world. And its importance in building social proof continues to rise as the years go by. You see, not all customers are looking to buy something from you. As different people are at different stages of the buyer’s journey. If you try to push sales-oriented content on the website visitors who are looking for quality information, then you’re risking alienating them for good.
On the other hand, people who are ready to buy won’t respond well to drawn-out articles and in-depth pieces. This means that you need to diversify your content offering. And optimize it for every type of customer in order to boost lead generation, customer retention, and ultimately inspire conversions.
Of course, content creation is one of the best ways of building social proof for your business. Because the more authoritative the content is, the likelier it will be for customers to put their trust in your brand. To achieve this and deserve the trust of your audience and the industry as a whole, you will need to create content that is SEO-driven and filled to the brim with useful information.
The key here is to position your brand as the authority in the industry. And build a website people will flock to in an attempt to get the latest and most credible information.
These are uncertain times for many businesses around the world. If you want to ensure long-term success, then you need to invest in building social proof for your company. To earn the trust and validation of your audience and other authority figures in your industry, you need to combine several key solutions.
These include brand optimization, integrating social proof tools, leveraging content marketing, and using influencers and customer reviews to your advantage. Adhere to these tips and you will have no problem inspiring consumer trust and loyalty for your brand in 2021 and the years to come.
Jolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger with an interest in digital marketing and new technology trends.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.