Social proof: this isn’t proof that you have a personality or are capable of small talk over dinner. Social proof is the term used to describe consumer behavior and how social media platforms provide proof positive that you are a credible business with value to offer.
Here’s a reality check:
- 87% of people who buy online research the company’s website and social profiles first
- 92% of online buyers trust non-company reviews (like social media reviews)
- 88% of people trust reviews on an online profile as much as a personal recommendation
- Online buyers prefer 40 or more online reviews before they trust a company
- 85% of online customers think that reviews that are three months old (or older) are not relevant
Testimonials, online reviews and your company’s presence on social media matter. They matter because people will vet you online. And that is what social proof means.
Knowing that: how is your business doing? Do you have a clear social media strategy that builds your brand authority? If you don’t, aren’t sure or want to improve it, read on.
If you already know you need help elevating your social media strategies to perform, Hire a Writer has an expert for that. ;) Reach out to learn more.
Create a Social Media Strategy
In this instance, a social media strategy isn’t necessary about your posting trends or hashtag research. Here, we are concerned with social media strategy in a global sense: how does your involvement in popular social platforms establish credibility and build your revenue?
It’s imperative that your business starts with an authentic assessment of platforms:
- Where do your customers look for information online?
- Where do your customers make online purchases?
- Where do your customers have an online presence?
Depending on your industry, there may be different answers to these questions. It’s important to narrow down the scope of where you are making a social media investment. It is an investment. Significant time is spent on research, content creation and execution.
Pick Your Platforms
Your team needs to pick the top three social media platforms that will work for you. Unless you have a large team, that’s probably the maximum number of platforms you can actively engage on. If you spread your impact over too many platforms, your presence will be thin or sporadic, which could erode the social proof they provide. Here is a cheat sheet of what most platforms are known for:
- The Top 3 most popular/well-used platforms: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook
- For professional connections: LinkedIn
- Professional, entertaining and short-form: Twitter
- Youthful, fun and fast-paced: Tik-Tok
If you are an IT company or specialize in coding, there are many sharing sites and platforms that you may want to engage with.
Engage With an Audience
There are two steps to getting an engaged audience. The first is to actually make connections. If you are a reputable business, people will expect to see that you have a decent number of followers or connections. For instance, if someone wants to buy your product and sees that you have 10 followers on Facebook, that could be problematic.
It isn’t advisable to buy followers, since it may put you out of terms with a platform. That risks a penalty that you don’t want. Instead, you can implement a systematic plan to integrate your platforms onto your website and invite current customers to like, follow or subscribe.
Once you have a following, you need a regular posting plan. Many businesses will hire this out to a social media marketer. These professionals will have expert recommendations on the kind of content and posting strategies that work best for your brand.
Because there are numerous data points and reporting associated with each platform, it’s important to leverage outside expertise.
For most businesses, content is about original thoughts and sharing. The concept of community over collaboration is a popular one, for good reason. There are plenty of ways to establish yourself as a credible authority source by re-sharing written or video content from businesses you trust.
This could be as simple as re-sharing a news article from the Washington Post or New York Times. You can also share posts from colleagues or other industry leaders. All of this supports your bid as a reliable source of good information.
Offers and Revenue
At the end of the day, becoming an authority for your industry on social media should pay off in real dollars and cents. Amassing an audience and speaking to them with authority will make your online profiles a hub for best-in-class information and insight. This is a powerful and winning way to close more sales and increase profit.
Longevity on Social Media
It’s important that you maintain the momentum you get from launching social media profiles. To have a long and happy life on social media profiles, your team’s strategy should extend beyond initial setup. Maintenance mode should include:
- Regular offers and updates
- Engaging posts and content creation
- Cross-purposing content from your other online platforms (blogs, articles)
- Mentioning your social presence in the press
- Connecting PR efforts with social media
Your effectiveness in digital marketing as a whole is lived out in the relationship-building and credentialing you do on social media. At the heart, making connections on public platforms is about positioning your brand in the marketplace.
You are leaders and experts. Your voice is important in the industry. You are a go-to for the press. All of this is achievable through great digital strategies that deliver robust and convincing content on social media.
Streamlining all of the strategies and stages your business inhabits is essential to long-term success. Platforms may come and go, content may shift, but the core of your outreach and social proof can stay strong if you invest in the right way.