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How to Use Social Proof to Reinforce Your Brand Value

Betsy Utley-Marin
May 23, 2024 7 MIN Blog

B2B marketers increasingly need to earn buyer trust and credibility to succeed. Gone are the days when you could simply tell potential clients why you’re the ideal solution to help them solve their problems. Prospects now require more demonstrated assurance that you’re a reliable partner that they can establish a longstanding relationship with, full of transparency and actionable insights that assist them in reaching their goals.    

Social proof serves as a crucial lever in this effort, harnessing the power of third-party validation to persuade buyers of your company’s value. This psychological phenomenon has become an even more effective B2B marketing tool—especially during times of economic turbulence and uncertainty when professional stakes are so high. By making the company’s value proposition more relatable and convincing, social proof bridges the gap between theoretical benefits and practical, achievable outcomes by showcasing real-world applications and results.   

What Is Social Proof and Why It Matters 

Social proof refers to the idea that people look to the choices, recommendations, and actions of others to guide their own decisions. Examples of social proof include a variety of tangible evidence, including client testimonials, case studies, online reviews, and success stories, that resonate deeply with people by showcasing the benefits and outcomes other companies have achieved by investing in a product or service.  

Think of the last time you purchased a car or expensive home appliance—did you read other customer reviews or rely on feedback from friends and family to make that decision? The same is true for large, complex business purchases as well. If buying committee members see other companies experiencing success with a solution, they are more likely to consider it, too.   

According to Gartner, the psychological foundation of social proof lies in three key aspects: 

  • Conformity: The desire to fit in and gain acceptance from peers. 
  • Belonging: An alignment between the company and buyer’s values and beliefs. 
  • Trust: Trusting other’s opinions to inform decisions, especially in times of uncertainty.  

When applied to B2B buying, you should acknowledge how each social proof asset invokes these three aspects to better engage target audiences and drive more conversions with your digital marketing efforts.   

The growing number of millennial buying committee members is impacting how brands interact and sell to key decision-makers. Forrester data shows that 71% of business buyers today are under the age of 45. In addition to relying more heavily on digital channels to independently research and review products, they also actively seek out brands that align with their values. As a result, companies increasingly need to be more authentic in their engagement with these millennial decision-makers. It’s not just about what social proof you use to engage them, it’s about how you do it, because these buyers remember how they feel about and respond to brands versus solely focusing on what product is offered.   

How to Leverage the Power of Social Proof in Your Multi-Channel ABM Campaigns  

Effective account-based marketing (ABM) occurs when marketers surround buying committee members with cohesive and persistent messaging. The B2B buying journey is no longer a simple one-touch transaction—it involves more people who require multiple touches across a variety of channels to make a purchase decision that helps them achieve their goals. You need to be active on the channels buying committee members frequent the most and ensure that each asset carries a unified brand voice to stay top of mind.   

Use LinkedIn to Create a Stronger Social Proof Connection  

While content syndication, display advertising, and connected TV (CTV) are proven paid channels for promoting content on the trending topics your target audience is researching, social proof works well on social media platforms like LinkedIn where business professionals gather, research, and exchange ideas on industry-specific topics and solutions.   

Hosting more than 930 million global professional members and over 59 million companies worldwide, LinkedIn is a social network powerhouse and ideal marketing channel to share the customer success stories that validate your other multi-channel efforts. Your target audience is already there, looking for social connections and advice from their peers to take their businesses and thought leadership to the next level.   

Leveraging social proof through LinkedIn Ads that validate your other multi-channel efforts involves selecting customer testimonials that speak to the specific concerns and aspirations of the target audience. It’s not enough to just have your referrals seen—what they communicate must also be relevant to those who hold the power in purchasing decisions. Highlighting stories that reflect the challenges faced by potential customers, and how those challenges were overcome, can foster a connection that transcends mere transactional interactions. Data should be used to determine the testimonial topics that will engage various members of the buying committee the most.     

Here’s how it might look: 

Example of multi-channel ABM campaign leveraging social proof on LinkedIn.

Pick Social Proof Topics That Will Resonate with Your Audience  

Your social proof ads must communicate in a language that resonates with the target demographic, leveraging shared experiences and successes to build a compelling case for your offering.   

Data-driven insights around these concerns allow you to select the topics and forms of social proof that will make the largest impact to motivate buyers through the funnel and persuade them that you are the ideal solution to partner with to reach their goals. Each decision-maker has their own set of specific concerns and wants that they’re looking to solve. End users have different priorities from C-suite decision-makers due to ensuring your solution fits within and benefits their day-to-day workflow. An end user would want to read a case study that walks through the problem and how your product was used toward a solution. C-suite decision-makers, meanwhile, would be more interested in a product review or testimonial that discusses how your solutions helped another company reach larger goals, such as boosting efficiency and allowing teams to move away from redundant or slow processes toward faster, more actionable insights and results.    

Delivering success stories and different types of social proof through LinkedIn Ads validates the messaging promoted via your other paid media channel efforts. These endorsements from satisfied customers are meant to carry an emotional weight, which will resonate with buyers when they see your assets on another channel. When approaching your media mix placement through a social proof lens, you not only surround buyers with more coordinated content, but also ensure you’re delivering the right message at the right time in the right place. You essentially take your LinkedIn ads from simple promotions to powerful testimonials of your value and trustworthiness.  

Gain More Credibility with Social Proof in Your Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns  

Amid a more competitive landscape and longer sales cycles due to budget constraints, buyers are more cautious than ever when it comes to making purchasing decisions. With so many options available, you need better ways to authenticate your brand and build trust. When strategically used as part of a multi-channel account-based strategy, social proof showcases the evidence needed to stay top of mind and establish brand credibility. And through a more cohesive strategy, you’ll drive higher campaign conversions and gain more clarity around what impacts pipeline and ROI.  

With a holistic view of a unified ABM strategy, the centralized ML Platform is the only ABM activation solution that combines three sources of intent signals, four leading media channels, and real-time measurement to power growth and drive quality conversions faster. This enables you to generate the account engagement that drives revenue impact by leveraging data to prioritize the accounts ready to buy, stay top of mind at every stage of the sales cycle, and track multi-channel impact to make better informed optimization decisions across the buying journey.   

Ready to drive more engagement with a multi-channel marketing strategy that leverages positive reviews, testimonials, and case studies to reinforce your brand value and accelerate the decision-making process? Schedule a demo to learn how we can help.