Boosting The Social Proof Of Your Online Business
Having an online business presence with an effective website and social media pages is essential for today’s consumers.
You won’t build a loyal customer base if you can’t earn your visitors’ trust, which is why companies value social proof so highly.
Social proof isn’t a new concept, or one that only applies to social media. It’s a psychological phenomenon. In online terms social proof is how others view your business based on perceived popularity and following. Blogs have used it recently by displaying the number of subscribers. This creates a pack mentality that popularity is synonymous with value.
To get you started we have compiled a basic go-to guide of how to attract and retain an online following.
Joining an expert’s internet community is the first step toward meeting a valuable online network. Relationships work differently online. It is easy to create dozens of friendships when you are talking to people in chat rooms and message boards. Even if an expert only spends a little time sending links and messages, thank them and make use of the wisdom they share. Foster online relationships as you would direct contact.
“Forums can provide vast amounts of knowledge to help you build an online presence, however you will need to sort the good from the bad,” Porters CA media manager Jill Porter said. “Get ideas from a forum, test the theories by putting them into practice and see what works for you. Compare this community advice against more reputable sources like social media agencies who post regular blogs on the topic.”
A blog is a great source of free advice. Perth Agency Word of Mouth provides a regular blog relevant to small and medium businesses. When you establish that a blogger is providing you with information you feel is relevant, it is worth connecting with these experts to see how they can help you. Professionally created websites are considerably more user friendly and visually appealing. If your website does not work effectively or is run through a slow server, you are likely to lose your audience before they even open your page.
Create Helpful Content
People value great content. We live in an age of infinite information, literally at our fingertips. If you want to stand out from others in your field, your information needs to be better, relevant and needs to appeal to your consumer.
“When it comes to great content, you need to consider who your target audience is and why you are posting certain content,” Jill said. “If everything you post on social media is dry informational material you may soon find your followers “switch off” or unfollow your page, so try to keep it interesting.”
Learn about your niche and give the people what they want; when you focus on their needs, they will naturally meet yours. An engaged audience will linger longer, click more ads, and buy more products.
You may consider sharing local information which receives post likes and the occasional funny post or more personal information about your business activities and staff. Post likes keep your social media presence in the spotlight. These “fun” posts can be balanced with relevant business information and articles which are more likely to be read when someone is doing specific research before choosing to deal with your business.
NOTE: Be careful of the content you post and what you like. If some of the content you post is crass, political or antagonistic, this defines not only the views of your business but also alienates a large percentage of followers who might otherwise be interested in your product.
Who are your followers?
Many people are blinded by number of followers they have on Facebook or Instagram. There is NO POINT having 5000 followers if they are all interstate, overseas or not at all likely to be interested in your product. Be ruthless. Block followers who are not useful. This is not to say that you should block a doctor because you sell mechanical parts, if the doctor is in your area they may like your posts and that will be seen by their followers. If however your follower is a business in New York, the more they like your posts, the more you will gain followers well outside of your ideal demographic. By blocking irrelevant followers you can get a clearer indication of the success of your marketing.
When someone follows you, send them a short message about your business. This solidifies your name in their minds and sets you apart from your competition.
Reviews are the most obvious form of social proof. Not only do visitors look for them to gauge a product’s value, they also value sharing their opinion.
Reviews come in many forms. Lists count, and so do like and dislikes on media websites. While you can ask others for reviews, this will annoy some people; making it easy to find and review your site is usually a better option.
Your social proof will grow as your site gets more traffic, and reviews. Consumers know how to spot fake opinions, even if they are only consuming the latest adventure on your travel blog.
Have you claimed your business on Google? Look yourself up and select “claim this business”. You will be notified of reviews giving you an opportunity to respond and engage with customers.. This also enables you to post information which keeps your business higher in the Google search engine.
Sometimes your success comes from helping others. Set up a google account in your business name with your business logo as the profile photo. Give reviews to others often. It helps other businesses and your logo and reviews provide subliminal recognition and appreciation for your input. Setting up a google account is as simple as opening google and clicking on the nine dots in the top right corner.
Who are you? Nail your bio.
Visitors don’t trust unknown authors. While adding a name to your posts can help, they want to see a face. While we live in an online world, humans still want connection. While a real photo showcasing your facial features works best, drawings also work for some niches.
Your bio should promote you and your expertise, however too much self-promotion will advertise that you are an amateur. Find the right balance, create an honest bio and allow potential customers to feel some connection with the personal.
Your bio’s placement also matters. If you are running an informational website, focus on your content and include a link to your bio along with your author credits. If your site is about you, feel free to transform your bio into a landing page. Studying your niche and the popular websites within it will help you decide where your bio fits best.
Today’s customers see your online presence as an indication of your ability to operate effectively in a modern marketplace. Slow ineffective systems, inarticulate or irrelevant content and limited website interactivity and lack of online sale options tells your audience you are not keeping up.
Social proof is a resource, and it is every company’s job to nourish and protect it. How can your online business do it better?