Social proof is one of the most powerful phenomena we have available to us as marketers. As human beings, we’ve always trusted the opinions of other people and used them to arrive at our own conclusions, but this element of our society has only continued to become more and more important as we’ve shifted our attention to digital technologies.
In layman’s terms, social proof is the idea that when we’re shopping around online, we place a certain amount of emphasis on the opinions of other people. That’s why we check reviews before we make a purchase. We want to make sure that we’re spending our money wisely.
For B2B companies, social proof most commonly takes the form of customer testimonials. Reviews and ratings are typically out of the question because most B2Bs don’t deal with so many customers that the volume is there for them to be effective. Still, if you can encourage a happy customer to share a few kind words about you, that can often say so much more about your company than any advertising material.
Why social proof is the future of B2Bs
There was a time when it was enough for a B2B company simply to come up with an offering that other companies would need and then to wait for the leads to roll in. But times have changed, and in the same way that people are increasingly turning to friends and family for recommendations outside of work, they’re also increasingly turning to associates and colleagues for recommendations during working hours.
Part of this is also fuelled by the rise of social networking. After all, it allows people from all over the world to come together in a shared forum to discuss something. So if you’re a printing company, for example, then you can bet that there are LinkedIn groups out there where people are talking about the different printing suppliers that their company uses and the experiences that they’ve had with them. You need to make sure that you’re a part of the conversation.
But simply being a part of the conversation isn’t good enough. After all, not all conversations are positive. But the good news is that you can encourage positivity and give people a reason to talk about you at the same time simply by providing a top quality service to the people who are already using you. This is when social proof is at its best: when people are doing your work for you and singing your praises on your behalf.
Social proof is an undeniably powerful tool, and while it’s already being used by some companies, it’s not yet as widely used as it could be. Because of that, there’s still plenty of time for you to get involved, even if that’s just by starting to include reviews and testimonials on your website. Better still, find a way to empower your customers and to give them a reason to talk about you. Good luck.
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