People trust their peers more than your brand. That’s not meant as an insult, it’s just a marketing fact. People are 71 percent more likely to buy a product based on peer referrals on social media and trust in what they see from friends on social media is rising faster than trust in brands. This has led small businesses and big corporation alike to find ways to reach out to happy customers, tastemakers and industry influencers to help build their brand reputation.
But what are the most effective ways to do this? Here are a few marketing suggestions to get you started:
Tag them on social media
Follow up with new customers by sending an email or text asking to see them with the product (or after using it in the case of beauty or health products). Offer a one-time discount for permission to use the photo on social media, and then tag the customer (or at least name him or her).
Even small positive results can be enough to convince a new customer to give you a try. The authenticity of user-generated photos will leave a strong impression on customers who will be able to see the images aren’t part of a large-scale media campaign. As a consumer, think about how often a friend posts a story or photo from their latest vacation or great meal they had out at a restaurant. How did that make you feel? Did you want to visit those crystal blue waters or try out that new restaurant? This is a perfect example of peer to peer marketing that businesses are clamoring to take advantage of. Give your customers a chance to talk about your brand on their blogs, websites, and social accounts; your bottom line could really benefit.
Create a testimonials page
Social proof is as old as advertising. “America’s #1 toothpaste” or “Safest Car Award” are examples of advertising statements showing proof that the product is the best. Another way to show this proof is from your customers. Give potential customers a chance to hear from a lot of your fans in one spot. Create a simple testimonials page on your website (and be sure it is mobile friendly) and have a clearly-marked tab/page to take consumers to it. You may even consider displaying a few of the most powerful ones on your homepage.
Let your customers sing your praises for you and make those testimonials very easy to find. A great way to display these is directly from the social media channels they were originally posted to. An Instagram image of a customer holding your product with a raving review as their comment can be extremely powerful in showing a potential customer what others experienced.
Hire them as brand ambassadors
The right fans of your products and services can bring in a lot of business for you in return by tapping their own social following. When Arielle Charnas posted on Snapchat about Yves Saint Laurent mascara, the company sold 422 units in under a day, which generated $13,500. Over the course of a year, that would equal $4.9 million. Charnas is at the top of the influencer food chain, of course, but even smaller results can mean a big boost to your business and brand awareness.
Start by listening for people talking about your brand or topics related to your brand in the social media channels where your customers engage with your brand. Once you have a list of those people, identify those who have large followings of very engage fans and reach out to see if they would be interested in working together. They could become a brand ambassador or just receive free product in exchange for them sharing about their experience with their fans. A big part of that influence lies in the success people have with your product or service. When consumers see a friend getting desired results from a brand, they are more likely to want to try that brand too. This is why sharing success stories about your products and services is so very important.
You believe in your products – but consumers believe in in the experience their friends and peers have. Find new and creative ways to engage customers and influencers to share their stories and experiences with your products or services to build consumer confidence and bring in new customers.