Sharing Customer Feedback for Maximum Exposure

social proof“Don’t use this company. It sucks.”

What would you prefer? Reading that statement from the outset and saving your time and money? Or finding out way too late that a company does indeed suck? This is the value of social proof. It lets people hear voices besides your own talk about the benefits (and sometimes, the disadvantages) of your product or service. Of course, you want people to buy from you, so you want to leverage positive social proof so that customers know your service is excellent. Below are 5 ways to do just that, and some advice for what to do when the reviews aren’t so positive.

1.) Include Testimonials

This is the classic form of social proof. Ask the customer to provide a picture that can accompany the testimonial, and link to their website, if they have one. Now that we’re in the YouTube era, testimonials don’t have to be limited to the written word. Users can also submit a video talking about your services. This may be an even better addition to your site, because video is the closest a visitor can get to the customer without talking to them in person.

2.) Use a Yelp Button

Many sites typically have buttons linking to social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. The website for the Long Beach Airport mixes things up a bit by including a Yelp button, too. This lets users get so much more information about the airport that they wouldn’t learn otherwise just from looking at the website. By browsing its Yelp reviews, for example, you learn that LGB is a great alternative to LAX. It has quick lines, great restaurants, and an iPad table for travelers’ convenience. This trick is more indirect than placing content directly on your site, but for some businesses, it can be a smart move.

3.) Embed Tweets

These 140-character gems can work magic for your business, and they’re better than testimonials in a few ways. First, they’re delivered straight into your Twitter feed. Second, they typically come with the user’s image, in the form of his or her profile pic. Unlike cases when you have to wait for a customer to craft their testimonial, you have ready-made social proof right at your fingertips. And since they’re from a Twitter user, your site visitors can navigate straight over to his or her account. Even better, you don’t have to work that hard to include them on your website. HubSpot has a useful guide for embedding Tweets on your blog or website.

4.) Take to Your Blog

If a customer sends you a glowing letter or email, putting it on your blog can be another great way to place social proof on your website. If Twitter is great for its speed and convenience, then customer stories are great for their depth. Even more than they can with Twitter, readers can get a better look at who the customer is and what your company did for them. From a content standpoint, there’s another benefit of using a customer story on your blog. Not only will you have great content to share with prospective customers, you’ll also have an easy way to fill up a day on your content calendar. You’ll kill two birds with one stone.

5.) Report the Numbers

People are impressed with big numbers. They’re more likely to have faith in an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience, versus one with only five. Use this trust in numbers to your advantage. If your blog has an impressive number of subscribers, advertise that. If your newsletter reaches people numbering in the six figures, definitely say so. When customers see that a crowd is following you, they’ll want to do the same.

These tips are great for customers who have nothing but praise for your product. What about those who have complaints? What if your company is the one stuck with the “Don’t use it” label? Never fear. You can turn the situation around by apologizing and offering the customer a special discount or other special service. Several Yelp reviewers who had bad experiences updated their low ratings once the business owner actively addressed the situation. For people who are on the fence about using your service, this level of customer service may even tip the scales in your favor.

A business can spend hours and hours designing a clean, eye-catching website and producing clever and engaging copy. Without social proof, however, its efforts may all be for naught. Your contacts need to see you spend as much time making your customers happy as you spend on attracting people to your service. With social proof, your business will gain the credibility that you could never get through your own efforts alone.

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