Conversion optimization is a discipline where art meets science — and the principle of social proof balances both.
If your brand is truly awesome, you’ll have people backing you: experts, customers, cheerleaders, celebrities, and more. Those community endorsements funnel back into your business’s bottom line in the form of conversions.
In short, word of mouth marketing sells.
That being the case, a community is one of the most powerful investments that your company can make, and this infographic from mackwebsolutions explains how to do it right:
Core Steps: Plan, Develop, Empower, Learn, Create, Share, and Measure
First and foremost, to build an awesome brand, you need to prioritize your business goals.
- Is your overarching need to improve direct sales or promote customer engagement for long-term growth?
- Where in the conversion funnel are your most committed users?
Still in the planning phase, you need to define your process, cultivate your strategy, empower your group, and learn as much as you can about your industry.
Now comes the fun part, where you create your foundational content and build your community, which includes sharing your peers’ stuff (because they’ll return the favor).
As you build, make sure that you measure.
And keep measuring.
And keep refining.
Online communities are iterative works in progress. If you’re not evolving as you grow from day one, you’ll hit a wall.
That’s because digital media is running at a million miles per hour.
Go fast, and be awesome.
A little inspiration
Speaking of awesome, here’s a quick tour of some of the web’s best brand communities. We’ll start with (1) the goal that each community is pursuing and then explore (2) why that approach rocks.
Example 1: Grasshopper’s Customer Profiles
Great brands love to give thanks in a substantive and meaningful way — beyond coupon codes, promotional offers, and bottles of wine.
That’s why Grasshopper writes case studies and profiles of amazing customer stories. What better way to say thanks than press coverage?
The lesson? Share customer stories as a way to build loyalty.
Example 2: KISSMetrics Customer Case Studies
KISSmetrics is a highly visible brand that customers love. The platform features a robust customer stories platform to showcase how customers are using the product.
These case studies serve as powerful promotional tools, but it’s also a great way to say ‘thanks.’ Why hoard the limelight when the spotlight is something to be shared.
The lesson? Be a magnet for your customers, but make sure to highlight the true force behind your success — your customers.
Example 3: Clarity’s E-Book
Clarity is an up-and-coming startup that connects experienced business leaders with new entrepreneurs (experts with advice seekers).
Their community is the heart and soul of the business. That’s why they’ve created an e-book that showcases that exact value — community.
The lesson? This example reveals one key fact, that storytelling is the heart and soul of community. Social proof needs to include real, genuine, and down-to-earth stories to be convincing.
What are your favorite examples of social proof? Share your thoughts in the comments below.