In our digital age, consumers are just as likely to trust the opinions they find in online reviews as they are to trust those of their friends. The numbers prove it: recent polls show that close to 92% of consumers make a purchase decision based on online reviews of products and services.
There’s some interesting psychology behind this phenomenon. First, there’s the time-saving aspect – today’s consumers, even those making thousand-dollar purchases on behalf of their companies, don’t have the time needed to thoroughly research all the options out there. So, they rely on the experience of peers who are like themselves to save time.
There’s also the “I’ll have what they’re having” principle, which explains why companies often highlight their best sellers. And let’s not forget about “implicit egotism,” the psychological phenomenon that explains why we gravitate toward the choices made by people who resemble us. This one is key to understanding why you should always highlight testimonials from people who are most representative of your target audience.
When it comes to your social media marketing strategy, make sure to highlight your testimonials in ways and places where your target audience will be most likely to see them. This should involve finding out which online social channels your target audience uses most – such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter – and displaying your testimonials there. This will expose your target audience to your testimonials without requiring them to leave their comfortable ‘watering holes’.
Here are some ways to incorporate testimonials into your social media marketing strategy:
1. Address your target audience’s pain points
Defining your target audience is key when you’re putting together your social media marketing strategy. Indeed, what you determine about your target audience will guide most of your marketing and social media activities. This process involves gaining close familiarity with your target’s pain points – what problems they’re trying to solve, what challenges they’re facing, what goals are they aiming to achieve, etc.
Incorporate your testimonials in your social media marketing strategy by using the knowledge you have about your target audience’s pain points. Listen and participate in online conversations in groups where your target audience hangs out. Based on these conversations and on your buyer personas, you can understand what it is that you can offer them that your competition can’t (or hasn’t).
Within the relevant social media groups, you should answer questions, make comments, and share testimonials and client stories that speak to those pain points and show how you solved their problems – so potential clients can imagine how you can solve their problems, too.
Think about implicit egotism – any testimonial you have from a person experiencing the same issue as your target audience is a powerful tool to help you generate new business.
2. Incorporate social media into your testimonials
You need a social media marketing strategy because social media is so powerful, right? So, why not pull an “Inception”, and incorporate social media into your testimonials, themselves?
Social media, with testimonials, with social media….
Let me explain.
Displaying testimonials that include links to the reviewers’ social media profiles, alongside their profile pictures, gives you the best chances at having your potential clients connect with the testimonials and your brand. This means that the odds of the testimonials positively impacting their buying decisions will be greatly improved.
If your prospects can click on your testimonials to see the reviewers’ profiles and discover what their jobs, locations, ages, etc. are, then they can quickly identify reviewers who are like them (remember implicit egotism?), making it easier for them to imagine that your product, service or solution can work for them, too.
In addition to helping your target audience relate to the stories in your testimonials (which already goes a long way toward creating lead conversions), featuring photos and links to social media profiles makes your testimonials 100% trustworthy and legitimate.
You can integrate social media in your testimonials (to integrate in social media) by using the Spectoos testimonial platform. It enables you to add and aggregate your testimonials from just about anywhere across the web. It then enables you to display your testimonials on your Facebook business page and web assets, complete with the reviewers’ photos and links to their social media profiles.
The Spectoos Testimonial Platform on a Facebook business page
3. Remember that content is king
As a marketer, you’re surely familiar with the phrase “content is king”, and you most likely understand the validity of the statement. Content and social media marketing constantly intersect. In fact, 64% of marketers consider social media to be one of the top 3 tactics for content marketing, making this junction an ideal place to incorporate testimonials for greater visibility and lead generation.
One way to use testimonials with your content is to create a new content piece, such as a blog post, video or case study, around one or more of your testimonials. This is a great way to highlight a testimonial that specifically discusses a pain point your target audience typically has. It also provides you with a great opportunity to use the powerful tool of storytelling.
Neuroeconomics master Paul Zak has found that storytelling can elicit powerful empathetic responses: “Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds,” he says, and this type of empathetic reaction triggers the release of Oxytocin – the “trust hormone.” Thus, when people get emotionally involved, they’re more connected to your brand and more likely to buy from you.
Marketo do a great job with this, using moving video testimonials from real clients on their solution pages, like this one:
Because storytelling gets your prospects emotionally involved, highlighting testimonials in dedicated content pieces and circulating them on social media channels will do wonders for helping you generate more leads.
This is an activity you can schedule to do on a regular basis, or whenever you have a new testimonial that merits a dedicated content piece.
Testimonials have never been more effective at helping businesses grow than they are now, and giving them a spot in your social media marketing strategy will make them even more successful in their efforts to bring you traffic.
Whether you’re working with a new client or doing a yearly analysis of your own social media channels, conducting a social media audit and coming to an actionable conclusion can be tough. For starters, you might be wondering which metrics are the most important, or how to get through all of your data.
Here are a few tips to keep you on track.
1. Go In with an Open Mind
If you’re looking to prove certain metrics right or wrong or tell a specific story, you may find yourself ignoring data that tells a stronger tale.
Because of this, it can be helpful to tackle an audit in two parts: Have one team member pull and aggregate the data into a usable format, and have another start the analysis. This keeps one person from having tunnel vision and getting stuck on the minutia.
2. Plan Check-Ins
This is very important, particularly if the conclusions you are coming to about the success of your social channels aren’t positive.
Check in with clients or team members so they’re not taken aback by the results or feel attacked if their role has not contributed to social success. The point of an audit is to find a starting place and continue to move forward, regardless of the success of current strategies. While you may not be on par with your competitor or aspirational pages, there’s always something you’re doing well comparative to the rest of your page.
Be sure to highlight the positives as well as the negatives you’ve made in strategy.
3. Stay Focused in the Present and Past Happenings
When conducting an audit, it can be easy to get sucked into thinking: “Okay, we aren’t doing this right, so here’s what we should do instead.” You need to paint the full picture of what is or isn’t successful before you can make informed strategy decisions. Once your audit is complete, you can take the next steps forward to build a strategic future plan.
Bonus Tip: Don’t sweat a mistake in one small post. If it’s not a pattern, pull back and see if that little thing impacts the bigger picture. If it doesn’t, drop it.
Completing an audit can be difficult, but keeping your mind open and trying to stay focused on the bigger picture will make the process go more smoothly.
When Facebook first launched in 2004, its sole purpose was to connect college students socially. When Twitter started a few years later in 2006, it was designed to serve as a ‘headline-only’ version of a personal blog. The beginnings of social media were largely focused around connecting individuals with other individuals. And now, it’s predicted that the number of worldwide social media users will grow from 2.1 billion in 2015 to 2.6 billion by 2018.
While many B2C businesses have tapped into the huge potential and reach of social media by incorporating the medium into their overarching marketing strategies, many B2B companies are still hesitant to jump on board, convinced it’s too hard to successfully measure B2B online marketing ROI.
According to this article, via Business 2 Community, measuring social media ROI still poses a challenge to many:
“46% of B2B marketers say they’re not sure whether any social channels have generated revenue for their businesses. Only 13% believe they’ve proved the impact quantitatively – though that may be because just 14% tie social media marketing activities to sales levels. And for all the bashing of ‘vanity metrics’ in social marketing, those likes and shares (i.e. ‘engagement’) remain the most commonly used measures for evaluating social media success. 80% of marketers use these as primary success metrics; 56% base social success on website traffic.”
Regardless of whether your business needs to reach B2B or B2C audiences, the point of social is interaction. We need to remember that – at the core of all social media marketing, it’s simply people talking to people. People have jobs. These are the people you want to reach and influence with a targeted B2B social marketing strategy.
For B2B engagement, social media often works best as a tool to raise brand awareness, rather than act as a channel to direct sales conversions. Using social, businesses can make a genuine contribution to online conversations and add value to them. The end-goal is making sure each of your future clients is aware of your brand presence before they make that first contact to purchase something.
Here are some tips on how to effectively ‘do’ B2B social media marketing:
1. Have a plan
Before diving headfirst into B2B social, it’s important to take time out to think strategically about your business’s key messages, goals, and objectives, and some tactics for how to communicate these via social. What tone of voice should your business use to start or join conversations? What times of day and how often should your business post? What platforms should you use? Prepare a risk management strategy that covers what to do in the event of negative activity on your profile, do your research to find answers to these questions, and write it down.
Defining this thinking will help you form a more solidified social media strategy and ensure that you hit the ground running, confident that your social activity will reflect your business values and messaging.
2. Pick your social media team
Put the right people behind the levers. Your nephew might have a huge following on Instagram or Snapchat, but that doesn’t mean he’s the right person to implement your business’s social media strategy.
There are many examples of underling employees or interns who lack the ability and maturity to build and protect the business reputation online. The person posting on your behalf should know the business, employ the right voice, and be well versed in how to effectively respond to issues that might otherwise get out of hand.
3. Content marketing all the way
Content marketing should form an integral part of your overall social media strategy, so include governance on how to produce on-brand blog articles, photos, videos, GIFs and all other content that will help communicate what you do.
Whether you’re using social to create short videos that show people how to use products, or you’re hosting a live Twitter chat with a dedicated hashtag, the objective should always be to increase brand awareness among your B2B audience.
Your core audience may not be highly active social media users, but if your business’s content is good and consistent across all communication channels, your audiences will find you, remember you, and seek to work with you.
4. Cultivate content partnerships
All businesses have partners. They might be the very people who work for you, or for organizations outside your own, and these people have trusted networks of their own. Find these partners online and work to build them into your social media marketing plan. Engage with them to build a relationship of reciprocal content sharing. Follow their online business profiles and be present by sharing their posts, liking their photos and leaving comments. Your partners will help you influence and reach new audiences within your own sector and should be considered an ongoing priority.
Don’t get left behind. If you don’t have the resources to put together a solid social media team, there are agencies out there that offer social media strategy and ongoing community management services.