This is one of the hardest concepts to achieve in the Shopify and the e-commerce arena. It is exactly what someone wants to obtain in their marketing efforts due to its cascading methods and exponential growth. Many seasoned digital marketers take a multi-pronged approach to grow their digital and social presence. They spend so much time focusing on that aspect without clearly explaining what their end goal is.
That is where social proof comes into play. This concept is where the average person will follow the actions of a larger group. After all, if everyone is recommending or using a product why shouldn’t they? This is a very powerful concept that can take a very long time to achieve even with the right mix and experts at your disposal.
A classic example is looking at Apple and its rise. So many marketing experts such as Simon Sinek discussed that Apple used a different way of thinking to achieve its success through a why, how, what model, that made sure it always built quality products in an industry that was known to make cheap items, in poor quality.
What no one sees is that this was an iterative process starting with their unique user-friendly computers, through their iPods, and eventually to the launch of their iPhones and beyond. This has required constant updates and upgrades to keep the social proof strong. Again – this was not done in a day and took several decades to achieve and to keep it moving.
So how can we re-create this social proof since the way we market has shifted to an almost instantaneous execution of information, causing an overload of the number of content people receive nowadays?
Brand Awareness Through Social Media
Focus on your Shopify brand and work on growing your social media presence. The sooner you start this, the sooner you can grow your presence that sticks. That’s the most critical point. Yet simply posting every day and boosting some ads is not enough. You need your e-commerce site ready for influencers. You need to engage with the new model of influencers and work with them to help endorse your brand.
Do not focus on one or two posts from a mega influencer, as those might draw traffic, but you lose that stickiness effect. You need a wide range of micro to mega influencers working together to help promote and endorse your brand. This will also enable you to provide referral links to your Shopify site so you can begin to track data and metrics.
This is important because you always want to approach this as an iterative process, where it seems that someone is always positively talking about your brand. This is a key aspect of social proofing, the consistent positive reinforcement, slowing growing your presence up.
Don’t Stop with Five Stars
Someone buys your product, you send out an email asking for a review or a call to action for them to post a five-star review if they were satisfied. You think you are done and you can move on. Well, not anymore. Remember the noise? It seems that, unless you’re a government office or facility, it is very easy to push your business to high star review, as you can always have friends and family boost up your scores. What you need to do is go beyond and showcase your products with pictures and videos, so it isn’t about a rating per se but how the actual item (or service) is being used.
This means that there are actual buyers of your items, and potential buyers can see those items in action. It is also important that you showcase this on your Shopify store. There are fantastic apps out there that you can easily set up on your Shopify store to capture these types of reviews, we recommend review app Judge.me.
Don’t be Afraid of the Freebie
Giveaways are your friends. They are a great way to generate buzz about a new product and get people talking. Of course, this is best done in moderation, because you do not want to have your potential clients think that this is the norm and that they should wait for something free, instead of making a purchase. This is also great to add something additional to every order, a thank you note, a discount on a future purchase, or even an additional item.
When handling your e-commerce site, Shopify helps digitize some of these components (such as discount codes and digital gift cards) so you can always automate your follow up marketing needs. This is one of the oldest and still useful tactics on your journey to having effective social proof. The unexpected bonus to an order is always appreciated and helps not only generate return orders, but then you have that person becoming a recommender of your product mix. It is a minimal cost with a maximum impact on your customer satisfaction.
Create Brand Awareness Through Your Target Community
You need to get out there and engage with your target market. This is by far one of the most critical and time-consuming tasks because as you expand your social reach and channels, you will expand the requirements to maintain and handle all queries and requests. It is important to set up digital access points through Facebook and Instagram, but also ensure that you are joining the right groups, forums and communities to engage with like-minded individuals. It does not always have to be a sales pitch in those areas either. You can join as yourself, not as the company, to show the side of you that is engaged in the relative topic and product set.
By bringing yourself up to your community level, you become a part of that community, allowing you yourself to be an influencer. This means that people are more receptive when you recommend one of your products because you are showing a level of authenticity in your discussion. You want to engage with transparency and make sure you’re answering everything via your Shopify connected social media, or directly posting messages in a built-in forum / FAQ.
Traditional Digital Marketing Still Works
This means that digital advertisements, social media boosting and google ad words is still extremely relevant. You need to constantly grow your branding and digital presence on all outlets so that when it relates to influencers, five-star recommendations or community engagement when your potential market leaves those areas, they still see your branding and message everywhere they go. This covers the subconscious mindset and helps round out the overall strategy of social proofing.
With all of these items and data points – you want to make sure this is all tracked through a Shopify app such as Nudgify that will collect the data and display it for potentially interested customers (such as notifications on who just made a purchase on an item you are viewing)
Another final item to remember is to keep it consistent and be in it for the long term and focus. Use the tools and the numerous Shopify apps available to help streamline a lot of these items, as Shopify is built with a successful e-commerce store in mind. If you want to last for decades to come, then take the slow and steady approach where your loyal fans and followers start easily thinking about your brand in a positive light.