How to Use Social Proof to Boost Your Brand Awareness
How do you get potential customers to gravitate to, adopt and stick to your brand? To boost public awareness of your brand, you need to improve positive sentiment towards your brand in your target market. This, in turn, will convince people to buy your product while inducing current customers to stick to it. Basing your approach on applied psychology significantly increases the chances of success.
Successful marketers have long understood that there is a connection between marketing and psychology. Normative social influence or social proof is one such connection. What starts as peer pressure continues throughout life and only the definition of peer changes. The need for social identity is part of what makes us human beings.
However, knowing what social proof is and using it successfully to market your brand are two different things. In fact, the misapplication of social proof could end up negatively reinforcing your brand. Furthermore, awareness does not always translate to customers, just like traffic and conversions are two different metrics.
Optimizing Your Marketing Message for Social Proof
Appeal to the human emotion
Statistics are good, features are great, and components solid, but that won’t sell. Why don’t car adverts feature engines and brakes system schematics? It can’t be that customers don’t consider them important. It has everything to do with research showing marketing messages promising possible positive outcomes outperform ones that list features and components.
Highlight your flaws
Candy is not good for your teeth. So, candy makers tend to use danger in their marketing messages. As a result, even when someone remembers candy is not good, the danger in the marketing message acts as an activator for desire instead of a warning.
What’s the difference between snobbishness and exclusivity? Exclusivity is what snobbishness becomes when a marketer is talking about it. Stroking the customer’s ego pays off, often in premium.
Appeal to uncertainty
Fear is a common emotion. For instance, we all want to save money, which is why products with marked down prices tend to outsell those without. But then who doesn’t want a freebie?
Using influencer endorsement
Influencer endorsement is the commonest and most applicable social proof strategy. In this context, influencer refers to anyone who has enough influence on social media to give your brand significant coverage. For instance, what Gucci needs for an influencer is different from what Mom and Pop Bistro in Smalltown needs. Small business need only fork out a bit of cash for a mention-by-niche influencer while Gucci does have supermodel brand ambassadors with millions of followers.
Before signing the dotted line for influencer endorsement, you should be decided what you want. Whether you want pure impressions or, as pointed out earlier in the article, you want to optimize the impression to conversion ratio. 0.5% conversion on a million views is lower than 2.5 % on 400,000 views.
How do you optimize your views?
I have already discussed ways to optimize the conversion at message levels. On the other hand, when selecting a brand ambassador, or influencer, different kinds of concerns come into play. It is important to fully research the overlap between your influencer’s and your own target demographics.
Influencer marketing importance in social proof
You might not have noticed this, but when is the last time you actually watched a TV ad? The Ad’s come on TV and most people reach out for their phones, which were on the table anyway. Here is another interesting stat: 47% of online consumers use some form of an ad blocker. So, how is your brand planning to reach new people?
Well, influencer marketing hits the sweet spot. The influencers are the ones the other people are actually watching. That is why an increasing share of advertising dollars is going to them. And as we alluded earlier, they are not for the popular or mainstream markets only. They don’t even require big budgets.
Other than relevance, the other thing making influencer marketing hot right now is cost-effectiveness. You can roll out different campaigns to boost brand awareness using different influencers each with only a modest reach to achieve big results at a relatively low budget. This requires plenty of research to know your market and split it into niches. In each, you identify influencers who already appeal to your market and resonate with your brand to increase your impression to conversion ratio.
Types of influencers
- Celebrity: Your brand gets celebrity social proof when endorsed by a celebrity.
- Expert: You just got an industry expert to endorse your product in a tweet? Great, that is expert social proof.
- User: Users give positive social proof through testimonials, posted on google places, yelp, or Instagram among others.
- Mass appeal: What happens when your product goes viral?
Everyone and his brother wants it. Of course, it is the wisdom of the crowd that has changed and not the product. If so many people want an iPhone, then am also standing in line for one.
- Word of mouth endorsement: In this digital age, word of mouth should perhaps be changed to letters of the newsfeed. When peers recommend a product based on personal experience, it carries great influence. Don’t underestimate the power of a thousand satisfied or dissatisfied customers sharing their experiences on social media.
- Certification: Well, you feel confident when sharing info obtained from the verified account of your favorite band or athlete, right? That’s all your honor.