Call them testimonials, reviews, ratings, or endorsements - whatever you call them, adding a social media element to them makes them even more powerful, engaging, alluring, and trustworthy.
For B2C operations, 95% of consumers consult customer reviews, and more than half will specifically seek websites with reviews:
In the B2B sphere, 94% of professionals consider UGC (user generated content, like case studies, testimonials, and customer videos) as "extremely effective" or "very effective."
The stats point to a reality that anyone who has ever picked a restaurant based on a Yelp review knows first-hand - social proof works to meet and exceed three important business goals:
- Attracting new customers
- Increasing sales and conversions
- Building customer loyalty
But before discussing the steps to harnessing the power of your testimonials, let's go over the different types of social proof you can use. There are five types of social proof that work to accomplish the aforementioned goals, and examining the psychology behind them teaches us why they work so well.
1. Expert Proof
When companies use a quote or testimonial from an expert in their field, people subconsciously trust the opinion more because it is from an industry leader who they know and trust.
Kristi Hines, a freelance writer and certified content marketer, uses a testimonial from Neil Patel, a marketing guru, on her site as expert proof that her services can be trusted.
2. Celebrity Endorsement
Psychologically, people associate products with the person advertising them. Therefore, a famous face speaks volumes as to the quality and desirability of the product. Just ask Chrysler and Jim Gaffigan.
3. Customer Testimonials
British sales enablement provider, Salestrong, understands the benefit of giving existing customers a voice. Their "clients" page includes customer testimonials that are linked to their customers' own LinkedIn profiles.
4. Wisdom of Crowds
There was a famous psychological experiment conducted in 1968 when researchers put 15 men on a street corner and had them gaze at nothing in the sky, observing as passersby's stopped in their tracks to look up.
Psychologically, people tend to do what everyone else is doing. Therefore, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter show users how many others have pledged to support a given project, expecting that this will lead more people to follow the same path.
5. Power of Peers
While people trust the wisdom of crowds, they trust their friends even more. Though the researchers in 1968 didn't attempt it, if they would have put someone on that same corner looking at the sky then had his actual friends walk by, certainly 100% of his friends would look up beside him.
TripAdvisor shows users when their Facebook friends have reviewed a site or attraction:
To Do Today
While these five types of testimonials may seem like a concept that could be interesting to explore someday, putting it off indefinitely will leave your business far behind your competitors.
Here are 5 action steps to take so you can start harnessing the power of your testimonials as soon as possible:
- Create a list of top customers and fans, and send them a request for a testimonial
- Identify influencers in your vertical and offer them your product in exchange for an honest opinion
- Use real people's names and pictures (linked to one of their social media accounts), so potential customers can more easily relate to them and be more likely to convert
- Analyze which ones get viewed the most and result in the most conversions
- Display the best and most effective testimonials on your website and landing pages
Having testimonials is great, but really knowing how to use them to power your lead generation strategy is priceless. No matter which type of social proof you choose to use, acquiring, analyzing and optimizing your testimonials will help your business achieve the greatest results.