Well, the short answer is: “very”. Though I would actually go so far as to extend this little nugget of wisdom to “extremely”, or even “absolutely”.
The online shopper today is more educated about than ever before. We all do it – we peruse websites, looking for the best deals, wondering if we could save some money if we searched for it on auction site somewhere, targeted a private seller, or went for something second hand. We conduct vast amounts of research relatively quickly, not only about the product itself, but about the seller as well. We take great encouragement from some shining product reviews and testimonials, and, in the end, we might even be more likely to pay a slightly higher price for something if we feel can trust the retailer.
And this is not just constricted to the business to consumer (B2C) market. The business to business (B2B) realm is equally influenced by references and recommendations from other satisfied organisations over a company’s product and/or service.
Acquiring these kinds of endorsements and displaying them on your website can make all the difference when it comes to vying for a bigger market share.
But, importantly, social media reviews are becoming an increasingly important component for generating quality leads, which in turn will be ultimately converted into new customers. And, once again, this is just as important in the B2B world as it is in B2C. Lead generation has become one of the very top objectives for B2B marketing programmes according to a 2014 survey, which indicates that 54% of B2B respondents said that they had generated leads through the use of social media.
So, not only is it more important than ever for marketers to try and capture some top quality testimonials from satisfied customers (be they B2B or B2C), but now these endorsements must also be shared via social media, because that is where a lot of your customers will be looking first to validate you as a brand or a company.
The Importance Of Testimonials For The Consumer
Genuine testimonials come from the most valuable source – educated consumers. Customer reviews are inherently much more trusted than any amount of advertising and hype generated by the seller itself.
From a B2B perspective, potential customers particularly like to see just how a product has benefitted or helped a similar company – and generally, that information can be most reliably gleaned from testimonials.
And the same applies to B2C. Potential customers who are scanning a site deciding whether or not to make a purchase are ultimately influenced the most by the reviews and testimonials of customers who have treaded this path before them. And it stands to reason. Reviewers have had no obligation whatsoever to post their thoughts on the product, they just felt compelled to – either positively or negatively – and so these reviews are generally considered to be reliable.
Reviews are even more important in this regard when it comes to social media. Here, on your Facebook Page for instance, your potential customers have not even clicked through to pay an actual visit to your website yet, and so you must pull out all the stops to try and develop within your potential customers a deeper interest in your product.
Again, it all comes down to the customer’s desire to research before making a purchase. Any testimonials that you receive on your website you need to share on your social media channels as well. Not only do they of course help to build the reputation of your business (well, so long as the reviews are positive!), but you are also aiding your potential customers with their research. With a nice array of reviews readily available to all of your clients no matter where they discover you first, you will inevitably move the purchasing process along more quickly, which in turn will hopefully lead to a faster sale.
Your existing following or fan base on your social networks may not have actually been converted into paying customers as yet. But, when you post your glowing reviews on social media and they start appearing on news feeds, your following might very well start to become more interested in your brand after reading some great reviews.
Buying Ad Space
What is more, once you’ve got their attention in this manner, it is not such a bad idea to perhaps consider purchasing some ad space across your networks. With sites like Facebook, for instance, can quite accurately target those of your followers who are showing the most interest in your new posts, in the hope that you may capture some of these people to actually move on to making a purchase on your site.
Once again, this is just as important in the B2B realm as it is in the B2C. If your potential new audience members begin to see a regular stream of positive feedback from businesses who are similar to ones that they already follow and do business with, then they will of course be much more likely to follow you and consider you for their future purchases.
Social media and testimonials play off one another. Indeed, they go hand in hand as they are both about engagement with the end user. Combined, the efforts that you put in will not only show off all the wonderful things that your existing satisfied customers have to say about your product or service, but also increase your chances of acquiring new customers moving forward.
How do you encourage your customers to leave reviews on your site? Let us know in the comments below.
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