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Seeking out social proof

The most powerful words about your business come from your customers.

Brand advocates can benefit your brand, boost your marketing campaigns and extend your reach – and to get it right, companies need to make sure that social proof is embedded across their processes.

What is social proof?

Any feedback that comes from your customers and clients can be shared as social proof. This may be a testimonial, reviews on Feefo, Trustpilot or Google (My Business), or other information such as completed feedback forms from events, seminars or training sessions. Not only is the information valued by your audience as a more impartial source of information, but you can review the comments to learn exactly what matters to your customers.

How do I gather social proof?

The best strategies usually involve various teams working together. An automated request for a review, for example, can be provided after a delivery or booking confirmation, and that’s a simple addition to the sales process.

…feedback may highlight that your current messaging isn’t focussed on your customers’ priorities.

Automated emails won’t capture all the information you need, but including customer service teams in the process and providing a mechanism for collecting feedback can add a further dimension. Customer services teams should be trained to elicit and record such feedback, while the marketing team can promote the various feedback channels that are available and, further down the line, can use high ratings on sites such as Feefo and Trustpilot as part of their marketing messaging.

Recognise, record and report

With all these new digital channels and improved processes, don’t forget the importance of feedback delivered in person. From the thanks of a happy customer to praise given to a member of your sales team, customers are always telling you what they think of your business. You may not think it’s as important as a Facebook comment or an online review, but the chances are that if you find a way to capture that information it can be a valuable source of social proof. We suggest it is hugely important that all frontline staff across your business are trained to recognise, record and report any positive feedback that can be used as social proof.

What can social proof be used for?

Once you’ve gathered feedback, it’s up to marketing to make sure it is shared and that any messages become integrated with your brand. As mentioned, the feedback may highlight that your current messaging isn’t focussed on your customers’ priorities. For example, internally, you may take for granted an aspect of your brand that customers particularly value. Great feedback can give you an opportunity to reshare an existing message in a fresh way or provide a reminder of a successful campaign. It’s a source of renewable content and that makes it valuable to companies always looking for ways to update and refresh their online presence to maintain SEO goals. Don’t forget that if you’re planning to use review sites to gather social proof, you must make sure that the site is regularly monitored – if you do receive a negative review, whether or not it is deserved, an early response can limit any potential damage.

If you’re interested in sourcing some social proof to back up your marketing messaging, we work with clients to provide a strategy that allows you to harness your customers’ voices to grow your business. Contact us to find out more.

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