The concept of social proof can be simply surmised as monkey see, monkey do. It’s in our nature to want to do what we see others doing. When marketers seek to influence buyers into action, some of the most powerful messages convey that their peers, idols or gurus are already taking that action. Naturally, marketers can use monkey see, monkey do to influence buyers but how can a marketer paint a picture of what the other monkeys are doing these days? With great content!
Here are five great content pieces that provide the social proof marketers need and some tips on how to use them to move those monkeys (also works with humans!) through the funnel.
Who doesn’t love a great infographic, right? Infographics provide a visual representation of data or information, and they are just so fun to look at!
Making an infographic into a tool for social proof takes some strategy. Infographics are a great home for testimonials, as long as you keep the quotes short and to the point. Better yet, convert a customer case study into an infographic with timelines, milestones, key wins, quotes and stats. Maps are a fabulous way to illustrate how many areas you serve and stats about product adoption showcase just how many happy customers you have made. Don’t forget to incorporate certifications and accolades to demonstrate your expertise.
The most important thing about making an infographic for social proof is to know your audience. Remember, you want to show your monkey another, possibly more impressive monkey, and not a baboon. In other words, carefully choose and feature direct peers or influencers of the audience you are trying to reach rather than just choosing your favorite customer story or popping in some hot stats for shock and awe.
- Stage: Use at the top of the funnel to draw attention to your brand and tell a high-level story
- Platforms: social media, early-stage nurture, digital ads
Now that you’ve wowed your prospects with some flashy graphics and impressive monkey business, it’s time to draw your audience in with a deeper dive into the what, when and why of how your product or service has impacted others. Testimonials are the perfect social proof tool because they can help you illustrate how your product or service solved problems for your customers, increased revenue or decreased costs.
The key to success is to tell a testimonial story that is specific enough that your prospects can recognize themselves and their own challenges within the storyline but generic enough that you don’t bore people with the minutiae of someone else’s business. You can serve up a testimonial in a traditional digital format or engage an influencer to do a live testimonial on your social feeds or during a webinar. Either way, choose a person that your audience identifies with or admires.
- Stage: Use at mid-funnel to provide a deeper understanding of your product /service and who can benefit from it
- Platforms: mid-stage nurture, social media, targeted digital ads, sales enablement
Your clients may have seen your infographic, maybe they even read a stellar testimonial about a company with the same particular struggles as their own, but they still aren’t quite convinced your exact product/service is the answer or solution for them. This is when it’s time to use social proof to make a strong case for your exact solution — via a whitepaper!
Now, we call upon the experts — the people your prospects admire up close or from a far — and let the influencers do some heavy lifting.
With a social proof whitepaper, the goal is to convince your audience that you or someone else of high value to them has done the dirty work, compiled the research and found that your product or service is the answer. This is not a place to placate prospects with sales pitches or delight them with fun tag lines — this is where the deep work happens.
But, surprise! Experts aren’t always amazing writers, and providing a well-written, strongly crafted whitepaper is absolutely a must. A whitepaper is basically a research paper with a marketing purpose. That doesn’t mean it’s untrue, it just means it needs to be as unbiased as possible in its sources, while still moving the reader toward a particular conclusion or solution. It’s important to engage a writer who can handle this tall order (now, if only we knew someone to tackle this challenge…). A whitepaper is a very strong piece of content and a company should be fully invested in making it shine.
- Stage: Use at mid-funnel to provide a strong, research-based case for your product/service and/or a problem it solves.
- Platforms: mid to late-stage nurture, targeted digital ads, sales enablement, gated landing page
You have provided some really convincing social proof that your prospect has a problem, they need to solve it and that yours is the right solution. What’s left to do? Engage face-to-face. Webinars are typically live, interactive online events that offer the perfect opportunity to further provide social proof to your prospects.
There are many ways to use webinars for social proof. Some of them include:
- Engage a celebrity or influencer to host or appear on the webinar
- Invite a person outside of marketing/sales to speak directly to others in the same role in their companies (ie. have an IT person speak about implementation)
- Invite super-users or customers to speak about their experiences and field questions
- Partner with a trusted brand that lends credibility to your own
Webinars don’t have to be live, either. A webinar can be repurposed as a recorded session that is delivered on-demand.
- Stage: Use at the mid to late funnel to engage prospects in a live or recorded educational and informative session with a CTA to book a demo/buy now etc.
- Platforms: mid to late-stage nurture, gated landing page, social media, website, cross-promotions
Social proof is a powerful sales and marketing tool. In addition to creating standalone assets like the ones listed above, be on the lookout for ways to weave in social proof to your existing platforms and assets to make them stronger.
Have we proven ourselves to you?
With all this talk of social proof, we hope we’ve proven to you that the team at Content Matterz is a valuable resource for creating your social proof content and strategy. If we’ve piqued your interest, drop us a note to connect about how we can help turn those monkey seers into monkey doers!
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