Your brand is on Instagram and you’re starting to generate a healthy amount of likes and follows. But if you’re like most brands on the platform you know that learning how to build social proof for your brand on Instagram will:
- Influence new customers to trust and buy from your brand or business
- Allow your business to capture the unique voice of the customer
- Maximize your brand’s social media and drive traffic to your site
Instagram might be choc-a-bloc full of cute animal videos and shirtless selfies but it’s also an effective marketing tool that can generate explosive growth for your brand.
One of the most effective ways to capitalize on this pool of customers is to the social proof of your brand on the site.
What is social proof?
Psychologists have proven that us humans like to fit in. And this can have a serious impact on our buying choices.
If you’re looking for a restaurant to eat in, do you pick one that is busy or completely empty? Most of us would head into the busy one, as the number of people eating there acts as proof that the company (and in this case the food) is good. This is known as ‘social proof’ (aka following the crowd). On Instagram, users learn to trust your brand through evidence that others trust it too. This can come in the form of likes, comments, follows and most importantly, examples of other users that have successfully bought your products or services.
The goal is to create a perception of your brand that is positive. The power is in the numbers.
Here are some simple steps to follow in order to guarantee your social proof on the social media site.
#1 Grow a loyal following
One of the most immediate ways an Instagram user can judge your brand is by the number of followers you have and how much they engage with your brand.
Proving yourself as a successful brand and influencer on the site can be tricky but building and growing your audience will show to prospective customers that you’re offering something both trustworthy and valuable.
Some effective ways to increase your following on Instagram include:
- Effectively use hashtags
- Host competitions
- Cross-promote your posts
- Join Instagram engagement groups
- Repost others content and effectively engage with other brands and users
#2 Ask customers to share their photos
If you want to make your brand trustworthy, it’s important to encourage customers to share photos. This provides solid evidence of what your brand or business is doing in the real world.
In the social media marketing world, this is known as User Generated Content (UGC) and it’s important because of its authenticity. We’re not talking about paid advertisements here but real, genuine brand appreciation by happy customers.
Reaching out to customers with free cash or gift incentive could be a great way to encourage them to upload photos of them engage with your products or services. While this isn’t a strategy that is going to be effective long-term, it is a great way to get the ball rolling and could encourage others to share without prompting (like mentioned, people love to fit in).
When more and more customers see that others have shared their images, they will start tagging you in their posts when they receive their products. Be sure to comment on their post, repost the image (you can do this on Insta story if the quality is not good enough for your feed) and also give them a follow. They are likely to follow you back.
#3 Work with micro-influencers
If you’re still waiting for your first customer, reach out to influencers with a following of less than 5000. These are known as micro-influencers.
Although they have a smaller audience than many of the more well-known influencers, they will be looking to start monetizing their accounts. Micro-influencers will be willing to take pictures with your product at a much lower rate. You can even offer them an affiliate deal. This would mean that they make a commission on every item you sell with their referral code.
#4 Get an influencer endorsement
If working with a micro-influencer isn’t going to get you the coverage that you need for your brand, you might want to consider calling in the big guns.
Influencers are a popular and fruitful resource when it comes to establishing your brand’s authority on Instagram. Is it any wonder when one study found that 49 percent of social media users rely on Influencers to make a purchase?
It can be difficult to find the right influencer to work with. After all, they will be the face of your brand. So it’s important to do your research and be vigilant to take the right steps to choose the best person for your business.
Some things to consider are:
- Looking out for and avoiding working with people that have fake followings
- Treating a potential influencer like a new employee and going through a vetting process
- Making sure when you pitch a big influencer you make it authentic and avoid using generic messages
- Budget – and stick to it
#5 Share customer testimonials
Ever received positive feedback from a happy customer? Sharing this with your following is a great way to improve social proof on Instagram.
If you say your product is great, a customer might believe you. But they’re far more likely to believe another customer that has experienced buying your product or service.
Testimonials could be written. Perhaps an email or an online review that has been sent to you could be turned into a meme.
You can use written testimonials and create aesthetically attractive Instagram story graphics and share these with your followers.
Video testimonials are another way to encourage customers to buy into your brand. These are more difficult to come by but are a powerful way to grab the attention of your followers. Users can see the person that has tried the product and the customer testimonial, the brand, and the product become much more authentic in this way.
If you don’t have video testimonials, an alternative approach is to include a photograph of customers that have written a positive review. Just by giving happy customers a face you can make the testimonial appear much more genuine.
Follow the above advice and you’re will effectively grow social proof for your brand on Instagram. Remember that authentic reviews and high numbers of happy customers are the best ways to prove your brand is trustworthy.