We care about what other people think. Whether it’s about ourselves, a cause, or a product, we place value on what other people think about these things, and that makes sense – we’re social creatures. And we look to other people, as we’ve always done, as a guide on what’s best. Luckily for consumer brands, our social media landscape provides a new opportunity to utilize this natural human tendency for social validation to acquire new customers and build their brand.
What is Social Validation?
Have you ever seen a long line of customers outside of a restaurant and thought to yourself, “That place must be really good since all those people are waiting so long to eat there?”
Or maybe you’ve seen a queue outside an Apple store and said to yourself, “You know, it’s about time that I get a new phone.”
This is social validation in action. We look to others for what products they’re buying, what trends are popular, and what future items we should purchase. Everyone relies on social validation as part of their consumer behavior decisions, and with social media, companies can now leverage this tool to help build their brand and acquire new customers.
How Does Social Media Play into All of This?
Pretty much everyone is on some type of social media, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. And all of these platforms allow people to share their tastes, recommendations, and preferences with the rest of the internet, including the products they’re using and what they think about those products. But unlike the line outside of the restaurant, folks don’t have to be in physical proximity to these trendsetters – all it takes is a login to their preferred social media account and, poof! trends.
Why Should Consumer Brands Use Social Validation?
Nearly all customers – 91% – read online reviews before making a purchase, and a whopping 84% trust online reviews as much as friends. This data shows that there is viable trust available in the online marketplace for advertisers to tap into, and it’s as effective as its real-world counterpart.
Another key factor in why consumer brands should use social validation is that there’s a declining trust in users from traditional marketing. Modern consumers find traditional marketing disingenuous and outdated.
Social validation marketing doesn’t require a salesman at all – there is no hard sale going on. In fact, it’s the opposite. Users seek out reviews and opinions on products they want to buy, erasing the need for a salesman. This makes the process more genuine and the brand more trustworthy.
How Can Consumer Brands Use Social Validation to Acquire New Customers?
Craft a Positive Experience That They’ll Remember
The most important part of social validation is providing customers with a positive, memorable brand experience. Start by conducting a complete audit of your current business practices from the bottom up – from the very first instant a customer engages with your service through the post-purchase process. And then identify and make the changes to enrich your consumer’s brand experience.
Encourage Users to Post Off-Site Reviews
When customers are looking for a new product or service to buy, one of the first actions they take is to use Google. Once they bust out the Google machine, they’ll then be exposed to your consumer review landscape. This makes the reviews that people post about your product on other sites incredibly important, as these will be some of the first things people see about your product.
So when users have a positive experience with your brand, be sure to encourage them to write and post reviews of your product on other websites. After they leave a review, be sure to acknowledge and thank them for their kind words. One note, you shouldn’t promise a discount/offer for leaving a review (a little disingenuous), but there’s nothing wrong with a surprise-and-delight effort if someone has already left a review.
Being Active on Social Media Is Very Important
Users want to feel engaged with the brands they use. The last thing they want is to feel like they’re interacting with a faceless, human-less monolith where they’ll be stuck on the phone for hours sifting through automated voice messages (truly a fate worse than death).
So to avoid this feeling among your customers, be active and engage with them on social media. Respond to messages as soon as possible, and be thankful and grateful when people post positive reviews. Other potential customers will see this engagement, build trust in your brand, and be more likely to buy your products.
Bonus Tips: Combine All Three Of These Efforts To Supercharge Social Media ROI
Now’s the time to put the pedal to the metal. Specifically, take the reviews your enriched brand experience generates and share them on your social media channels. This added visibility will provide third-party social validation to drive sales.
Even better, leverage a social amplification tool (like SocialToaster) to weaponize the social sharing power of your brand’s top fans to share your new reviews onto their personal social media accounts – further building your social validation in the market.
Ready to learn more about how SocialToaster can support your social media efforts while driving bottom-line impact? Sign up for a demo today, and let’s get started building your social validation together!