You are looking to build a fierce community around your business. You know that creating an online store is easier than ever, and many people are selling the same thing online.
So how do you differentiate yourself and your brand? You do it by building an amazing and loyal following. This post will be a mini-guide that shows you how to create loyalty by utilizing social proof.
Let’s take a step back first and go through the logic of building a loyal following, also known as a brand community.
- You can’t build a strong community without demonstrating your brand values.
- The best way to build a brand is to give people a reason to believe in you and your authenticity.
- The easiest way to do this is with social proof. You can demonstrate your brand values by showing future customers how happy your past customers are.
How do you do that though? The best way to showcase social proof on your website is to utilize two simple social proof tools:
- Customer reviews and testimonials
- User generated galleries
Customer reviews and testimonials
While reviews are testimonials are two different things, many people consider them to be the same. Let’s go through the difference and how you can generate both.
Customer reviews are the most common and useful form of social proof. Having them on your website allows new customers to see that your company is legitimate. It also helps web visitors view valuable feedback on the experiences others have had with your products and services.
An effective way of using customer reviews is to allow customers to post photos either of themselves or of your product in real-world situations. Reviews can give customers more confidence when purchasing from a website where they are unable to see the product in person.
How do you get customer reviews?
To incentivize customers to give you reviews, the best method is to create a loyalty program that rewards them for it.
As a reward, you can give a customer points towards their next purchase or provide them with a gift or discount on their next purchase. Either way, you want to encourage honest reviews at the height of excitement for your customers. That is usually when they get their product!
One important thing to remember is to make sure that you give reviewers who attach a photo with their review better perks or more points. You want to encourage photographic evidence, and you will understand why when you get to point #2.
Testimonials are like reviews, but they are curated versions of reviews. You want to make sure that you are asking your best customers for testimonials and showcasing them on your website.
If you don’t know who to ask for testimonials, or how to ask for one here is a simple guide and script you can use.
Who to ask for a testimonial
Look at the back end of your and see who has spent the most with you. You can also sort by the number of orders per person to give you a sense of who loves your brand and your product the most.
You can provide these customers with an incentive to provide a testimonial But more often than not, your best customers like you and they are willing to help out your business for free.
What to say to get a testimonial
Make sure when you are reaching out for testimonials, you are being authentic and using your own language. Depending on the nature of your business, you may want to meet in-person and get a video testimonial or record a virtual meeting, but here is a script you can use to reach out to customers to get started.
Hello [customer name],
I hope you are doing well and you have had a wonderful fall so far.
I really appreciate all the business you have given us over the past couple of months, and I’m reaching out to see if you could provide us with a testimonial.
You are one of our best customers, and a testimonial from you would help us expand our business, and we would be forever grateful.
I have a few written questions in a Google Form that you can answer, or we can schedule a call next week on Wednesday at 2 PM.
Here is the link to the form: [LINK}
I look forward to hearing from you!
- YOUR NAME/ SIGNATURE
- Scheduling link
What questions to ask in a testimonial request
You want to make sure that the questions you ask your customers are a reflection of what you want to convey on your website.
For example, I would ask our B2B customers' radically different questions than our B2C customers.
Broad examples for any business include:
- How would you describe our products to a colleague or friend?
- Would you give this as a gift to someone, why or why not?
- What was the best part of buying our product?
- What are the top three benefits of [YOUR PRODUCT]
- Would you recommend this product? If so, why?
Once you get this information, make sure you get a headshot of your customer and add their testimonial to your front page and share on social media!
How does this build loyalty?
First of all, showcasing and promoting your best customers makes them more likely to come back because they feel appreciated. Not only that but the next time you reach out to your customers for testimonials and reviews to generate social proof, they will be more likely to give you one in the hopes of being featured as well!
User generated galleries
User Generated galleries are an amazing way to build loyalty. Being able to use customer’s own photos to showcase on your website or social media shows other customers not just that other people use your products, but how they look doing it!
If you don’t have a lot of photos from customers, you can still create a gallery pictures taken solely by you, but the best photos are review photos or ones that satisfied customers have provided themselves.
How do you get user generated content?
To start generating user generated content (UGC) you can start by creating a special hashtag for your brand (a tag that that no one else is also using) and encourage your buyers to upload pictures of your products in action with tha tag. I use #AloraTribe online for my own ecommerce business, and share photos that customers take via social media “stories”, or if they are good, on my regular feed.
Doing this is a great way to have people feel appreciated when they buy your product and share their features with their friends.
Get a photo when your customers get their package
Everyone is excited when they receive a package, its a great time for you to ask for a photo. Photos like that show the emotions (excitement) connected with your brand and can inspire some first time purchases from others who want the thrill of the package delivery too.
You help motivate that delivery photo, you can make up super cheap business cards that say something like
“Take a selfie with your new jewelry and email it to us @firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a free bracelet in the mail.”
You’ll quickly build a loyal online following by featuring your customers on your website and social media. Doing that will strengthen your brand community and get you more sales over time!
Your most valuable customers are the ones you already have
The key to having a successful e-commerce site is to have persuasive and relevant content. The key to ensuring your content is persuasive is to have some understanding of how people think. They want to feel appreciated and part of a community!
Social proof is one of the most significant factors in helping to shape the decisions that we make. It is one of the most important parts of how customers make their choice to part with their hard-earned money.
So make sure that you are taking full advantage of the benefits of social proof in your e-commerce site and building loyalty with it!