Everybody knows about the power of word of mouth, but how does it play out online? And even more importantly how can we help our small business benefit from this super powerful form of marketing.
I can say how great my products or services are. I can scream it from the roof top. But one of the most powerful tools I have is social proof. When others vouch for me and share their own experiences publicly. So how can we encourage this and how can we show the social proof to potential customers to help them decide to engage with us.
Let’s take a look.
On my Facebook page for with love (www.facebook.com/withlovenz) people can, and do, leave reviews of products they buy. But it’s the next step that is just as important. Sharing, celebrating even, the reviews. I always make a point of sharing these reviews to my page, so even more people see the review and hear about how awesome my products are from previous purchasers. You can also share to other social media such as Twitter and Instagram (especially so if they send you a great photo of the product in action), and other communications such as your newsletter, on your website or business card.
I always make sure I reply to the review. I thank them for leaving a review and how happy I am that they are happy with their purchase. These people who do things such as leave reviews without being prompted are powerful people. These are the people that can be the biggest assists to your brand. They are often the people most likely to naturally become brand reps for you, sharing their experiences with their friends and family both online and in real life.
How do you get reviews? Encourage people to review you, ask them if they would like to (but don’t be pushy), share the reviews you get, thank people. All of these things will encourage others to follow and write their own reviews.
Make it easy for people to review you. If you have a website make sure your contact area encourages reviews. Possibly even have a testimonials area or forum, depending on your business type. I highly recommend for businesses that are active on Facebook to make sure they have their location set to enable the review function. If you are confident in your brand there is no reason to hide this section of functionality. I know I am always suspicious of pages that don’t have this enabled – does this mean they get lots of complaints and don’t want them showing on their page?
Enable comments on your blog if you have one. Allow people to interact (and reply to them!). These people are naturally engaged with your content and make fantastic advocates.
The next tip I have comes from a very successful blogger, Pat Flynn. Share your numbers. Pats brand is smart passive income (the brand name explains it all really) and on his blog he shares how many followers he has on the different social media platforms, how many people are subscribed to his newsletter and RSS feed. Pat recommends that once you get over 150 followers (depending on your medium/s) those are numbers worth sharing. Then each new visitor to your site is reassured that you are a credible or popular source.
How do you use social proof to promote your business? Or what areas of social proof are you killing it in that you could take advantage of to better promote your business?