All customers are different. They have different education, gender, age, needs, profession, and so on. But all customers have something in common: they need social proof to make a purchase decision.
Why do I have to buy this TV? Why do I need your balcony insulation? Why should I choose this store? You can find a variety of concerns and fears among the many questions of a potential customer. When social proof is available, it can help the client to make a decision.
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof is a form of public acknowledgment or rating for the quality and trustworthiness of a product/service that influences the actions of a particular person. It is an opinion of groups of people/customers that forms a certain attitude in consciousness. Most people accept social proof as a thing on which they must pay attention. However, not all methods of this psychological technique will affect your audience.
Imagine you are on the beautiful, functional, and informative landing page. You like it but still don’t know whether to buy the product/service or not. What can push you to make a positive decision? After you get to the review section and see approving words from an expert in the industry – you will make a decision to order a product or service.
For example, on the website of a hairdresser stylist is a video review from a happy client, who shows how the stylist has resolved a problem with her hair and thanks them for the wonderful job they’ve done. After such social proof, many women will definitely want to reach out to this specialist for help.
This is a standard example for the B2C sphere, but in B2B this principle also works. Let’s assume that your company is looking for a specialist to organize an advertising campaign on Instagram or Facebook. You see the comment of a recognized leader in your niche, who thanks a particular agency and describes his or her achievements through the advertising campaign. The share of envy, excitement, and desire to get the same impressive result dictates your next steps.
Why Does Social Proof Work?
Man is a social being. Complex joint work has led mankind to prosperity. Thanks to this, other people’s behavior and compliance with norms gained special significance and led to the formation of powerful social triggers.
When we find ourselves in unfamiliar circumstances, we are guided by the behavior of others. In marketing, this mechanism has direct and obvious applications. Showing the preferences of other customers, you motivate the visitor to explore the most popular positions, thereby increasing the probability of buying.
The use of social proof sometimes raises ethical questions, because under its influence a person can change their behavior. First of all, make sure that the impact on the client will be positive. Many users sincerely appreciate social proof, which helps make better choices.
Social networks have long ceased to be just a place for communication. It is the source for collecting relevant and honest information. Positive or negative feedback on Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks are effective for the B2B segment, especially on LinkedIn.
Examples of B2B Social Proof
Experts highlight the vast number of existing examples that you have seen, heard, and perhaps even used intuitively. Below are the most effective and popular social proofs.
Short, written simply – such reviews look real, and thus convincing. Reviews are placed on the landing pages in the appropriate section, for specific goods, on a separate page of the site or trading platform.
The review above meets all the criteria described below: It answers any questions that the client has. It gives exact figures – 2 hours and 15 minutes saved. This is already a significant advantage for the company. Another important moment is the person who left the feedback – the creative director of the company, who definitely understands the question.
Reviews on the landing page are the most effective form of social proof. All the visitors land generally on the main page of a site. Therefore it is necessary to carefully consider what feedback to provide visitors and how to create comfortable designs to improve conversion rates.
Ideally, reviews should meet the following criteria:
- The text or video describes the main problem that most customers are concerned about.
It should be made clear that the problem has been resolved.
- The feedback is from a real client.
- It should confirm and describe how the problem is solved by the product/service.
- Other issues that a potential client would like to solve can also be mentioned in the review.
The review should be as comprehensive and detailed as possible so that readers can understand that it is written by a real customer who has personally used the product or service. It is also important to give as much detail as possible about the identity of the writer.
Use the following tips:
- Say who this person is (his or her name, occupation, position).
- What company he or she works for (relevant to B2B organizations).
- The review should spell out the exact benefits of working with your company.
- Photo of the commentator.
Video review is even more powerful social proof, as it can provide customers with much more information. The quality criteria for text review also work well for a video review.
Partners and Certificates
Partners and certificates are intuitive social proofs. When the user sees partner logos, links to social networks, statistics icons on the website, he or she perceives the company more confidentially. Such elements of the site perfectly influence the brand’s reputation and cultivate the loyalty of visitors.
The more solid the partners, the more confidence in the company’s expertise the client has. The presence of partners in the B2B segment testifies to the company’s experience, connections, and expertise. That is why most B2B websites place logos of the famous companies they’ve worked with without leaving a place for less famous ones. That is not always a good practice because if your B2B website’s targeted audience is small and middle business, there are more chances that they worked with not famous companies/agencies than with famous ones.
Certificates are equally important. If your company operates in regulated industries. They add credibility to your site by demonstrating that your business meets the requirements of government or international standards organizations such as ANSI or ISO.
Many B2B companies/agencies pass different courses for skills upgrading. It is more comfortable working with specialists who know the latest trends. To prove that company’s professionals are knowledgeable, many B2B companies place certificates about course passing on the website.
Facts and Figures
It’s proven that numbers give any content credibility. Unlike words such as “much”, “little”, “enough”, “not enough”, they give the reader a precise idea of quantity. For example, each person has his or her own concept of “expensive” and “cheap”, so it is better to specify the value of the product.
Numerical data is widely used in B2B sales. This can be the number of goods the company has sold or the number of customers who have used the service. The idea is to show a potential client how many people are already working with the company, and what experience the company has.
Brief facts like “we have been working on the market for 20 years”, “we cooperate with 155 countries”, “we have developed 527 applications” have a very strong impact on the client’s decisions.
Bidsketch has a landing page that shows the total profit generated by customers through their service. This proves the efficiency of Bidsketch by the success of its customers.
The next example is from Basecamp service. They have placed the number of companies that have registered on their service for the last week. This lets visitors know that Basecamp is really in demand.
Case studies are a very powerful tool for profit growth in the B2B segment. By publishing case studies on its site, a company shows its competence. Case studies are quite a popular format of social proof today – companies talk about successful projects, proving their professionalism.
This is what must be present in such an article:
- Who your client is.
- What kind of problem he or she came to you with.
- How you helped them.
- What benefits the client has gained.
When choosing a topic to talk about, make sure that potential clients will be able to see the solution to their problem. It is also great when such an article is written by a pro essay writer – a person that knows his or her own work perfectly.
Business case studies are very useful because they provide many important details. Business examples typically demonstrate the benefits of collaboration and do not overburden the client with unnecessary details, showing whether the product/service applies to the potential customer environment.
Trying to convince B2B clients, it is not enough to write only about successful problem-solving. Customers need to get a full understanding of your service before they even contact your sales team. Your case studies should go beyond the standard “About the company”, problem, solution, benefit. Further details need to be provided so that the customer can determine if your solution can be applied to the specifics of their business.
Mentions in the Media
Mentioning your company in the press is a very effective social proof. It still has a great impact on the B2B audience.
The screenshot shows that several well-known online media have written about this company, or at least mentioned it in their materials. It is not easy to get to the articles of newspapers or a television spot, especially for start-ups. That is why it automatically raises the company in the eyes of potential clients.
Of course, mentioning the company in any media is a victory, but it would be best to get specialized publications to write about the company first. It is much easier to get to their pages, so you have a better chance to attract the attention of target users.
The Ferriss Effect
Michael Elsberg in his article for Forbes asked readers to pass a small test. He asked the question: “Which of these methods will bring maximum sales to your book?” and suggested three answers:
a) a three-minute video on CNN news;
b) a 1,000-word article in the New York Times;
c) a guest post on Tim Ferris’ blog.
If you think the answer is c, you are right. Tim Ferriss is known in America as a writer, speaker, and successful investor. He published a book on effective time management and division of work: “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich”.
The important thing here is that before the book was published, Tim was not known to many people. Simple bloggers, with whom the author communicated with through personal messages, have made this book a bestseller. They advised it to their audiences. This example proves that social proof is more important than TV and press.
Social proof is a very powerful selling trick in marketing. Cool customers reviews, case studies, partners and certificates, mentions in media, facts and figures – all this will help to convince a potential client to make the right choice in the B2B sphere.
Deep product or service analytics is a very powerful B2B sales argument. For example, many global agencies that specialize in marketing conduct annual analytical work and summarize the effectiveness of certain marketing methods.
Social proof is an important factor that helps convert visitors into clients. It does involve some trial and error to see what works best for your site. So try out several types of social proof in different variations to find what works best for you.
Experts advise to limit the number of facts, figures, and other proofs. If each landing page consists of direct examples, your potential clients may become suspicious or doubtful of such perfection.
Social proof is a very powerful selling tactic in content marketing. Cool and convincing reviews, interesting stories – all this will help convince a potential client of the right choice.