In the digital world, you have to think of unique ways to market your business, product, and services to your potential customers. While the methods of digital marketing are already defined, you can experiment a lot using them. If you can understand human psychology, you can use a variety of ways to get customers to do business with you. One of the ways to influence your customers is with the help of social signals. You can use online social signals to get the attention of your customers and convince them to buy from you.
Believe it or not, social signals can answer a lot of questions on a customer’s mind without your involvement. They can also remove a lot of barriers that prevent a new customer from buying from you for the first time. Let’s define social signals first and then get into the many types of that exist and how they help you with marketing.
What Are Social Signals?
Social signals are the indicators in the online world that compel your customers to take a certain decision. In this particular case, you are compelling the customer that you are a business that customer should sign up with. These signals make a customer feel comfortable with your business in the online social community. When a customer looks at these signals, the thought process is something like this, “Everyone else is doing this, so I should do this too” or “No one else is doing this, so I better keep away from doing this too”.
While the impact of social signals on the search engine optimization remains debated, there is no doubt that they have a huge impact on the perception of the customers. Some common examples of social signals are views, shares, likes, subscriptions, followers, downloads, number of customers etc.
Social Signals and Their Marketing Benefits
The first and the most commonly found social signal on the internet is view count. The view count could be the number of views of a page or a video. Views are mostly associated with videos. Whether you upload a video on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or some other famous social networking website, you will notice that there is a view counter right beneath the video. Go to any video service on the internet and it will always be there. It is not there without a reason. Of course, it is one of the most powerful social signals.
The idea of view count is to show the customers that your content is worth watching. It also has a huge impact on your brand as a whole. The view count on the videos you post on social media show your popularity to the people as a brand. When you don’t have any views on your videos, it could hurt your image. Conversely, when you have a lot of views, they send a very positive signal to the people about your brand.
Shares can be associated with your videos and other social media posts as well. They play the most significant role in popularizing your blog posts. When you write blog posts, one of your aims is to present yourself as the thought leader. For that to happen, you need some strong social signals that can show your customers that your content is worth sharing. The numbers of shares on your content instantly sends a signal to the customer that it is some worthwhile content. It compels them to read the post.
This particular social signal is most important when you want to establish your authority on a subject. If you are a tech company and there is a tech blog post with lots of shares, it establishes your brand’s authority in the tech community and people who are interested in tech-related topics.
If there is something more important than view count, it is the number of likes on your content. Likes are everywhere on social media. From YouTube videos to Facebook posts and Tweets on Twitter. On different platforms, you will see the same social signal with different names and shapes. That’s because every social network wants to be different from the other. On Facebook, you have a likes or the thumbs up sign. On Twitter, you have it in the shape of a heart. On Google Plus, you have +1s whereas on Reddit it is in the form of Upvotes. All of these signals mean the same thing i.e. the public likes your content.
Once again, likes are a way to show your popularity to your customers. It is also a way for you to show new customers how much your existing customers like you. If they are liking your content, they must like you as a brand too.
Subscriptions are not as commonly discussed as likes and shares, but they are heavier in their influence than these two social signals. Subscription means converted customers whereas likes and shares don’t indicate that. A person who likes and shares your YouTube video is not necessarily a loyal customer. On the other hand, subscription means just that. This customer does not want to miss any update from you. In addition to that, you have paid subscriptions. They are a critically important social signal for companies that sell services.
By showing the numbers of subscriptions, you can show your new customers how many people trust you already. Your subscriptions can also show people the size of your business. Most importantly, you are showing your customers that others have trusted you and they should not have a problem trusting you either.
Followers are like subscriptions but they are more limited to the social media. When you create a business page or profile on social media, people can add you to their friends, networks, circles, etc. Your number of followers is a sign of your brand’s popularity. The more followers you have on social media, the bigger the brand your customers will consider you. However, having a lot of followers is not easy to maintain. What you have to do is interact with them as frequently as possible. You can’t simply rely on the number of followers you have.
If you have a million followers but the numbers of likes on your post are not more than 1000 on average, that’s a bad sign. It can mean a lot of things. It can mean that your followers don’t interact with you or it can either mean that your followers are fake. If it is proved that you have fake followers, you might end up with your brand reputation completely marred.
If you were to weigh the importance of social signals and you had likes, shares, and views on one side whereas comments on the other side, the side with the comments will be heavier. That’s because comments are an indication of your interaction with your audience. How you talk to your customers directly affects your brand’s image and reputation. It also sets the tone of the relationship between you and your customers. One of your product videos might have millions of views, but what if the comments show that most of the customers are actually bashing the product rather than liking it?
You must always try to get some response from your customers and that requires some skills. The way you interact with your followers, subscribers, viewers, customers, etc. can help a new customer decide whether to do business with you or not.
All of the social signals stated above were more directed towards your blogs and social media interactions. However, there are some social signals that have to go on your website. One of the most important website social signals is the customer count. When people see your business for the first time, they are reluctant to provide you their personal information or pay you for your services and products. They want the assurance that doing business with you will be a good decision. That’s where the customer count works.
Provide the customer count on your website using a big font so the new prospects can see how many have already bought from you. Your customer count also shows prospects the size of your business. Customer count is a critical aspect of marketing for B2B businesses. B2B relations are based solely on trust and reputation i.e. there are no emotions involved. To win the business of another company, you have to show it that there are other big customers who have trusted you already. You can give customer count a twist by stating repeating customers rather than new customers too. That’s even more reassuring for new customers.
This is yet another social signal that can work wonders on the website. Showing the number of awards on your website is a way to build trust with your customers. You will often see this type of social signal on the websites of businesses that sell software solutions. It matters a lot to show the awards your business or product has won over the years to make customers pick you over your competitors. Such a social signal is extremely important when you don’t have a lot different from your competitor. Two antivirus companies might be providing different software tools but with similar features.
The only way you can win a customer over is by showing him/her that you have proven your product to the experts. Mentioning the awards your product has won is just that. It establishes trust and gives a solid reason to the customers why they should pick your product over your competitors’.
Reviews can be in many different formats as well. First, you can have the reviews appear on your website as well. However, customers are not very willing to trust the reviews on your website as they think you will filter out the bad ones. You also have reviews on other retailer websites that sell your products such as Shopify, Amazon, etc. Another type of review is the one coming from experts. You might have seen websites that compare various products, their features, benefits, disadvantages, etc. to give customers an expert opinion on which one they should pick.
The more positive and real reviews you have, the more your customers will trust you. On websites like Amazon, it is the positive reviews that really boost the sales of the products.
Again, you can have the rating in many different places as well. You can put the rating given to you by the most recognized and trusted reviewing websites right on your home page. This type of rating is very effective in helping a customer pick your product. A high rating means that your product is trusted by reviewers and customers. Positive ratings combined with positive reviews are just enough to help you sell your product more. The best way to use the ratings to your advantage is to make them visible on the home page of your website.
Testimonials are more like positive reviews. These are customers who once used your product or service and were so happy that they felt like writing something positive about you. Testimonials usually appear on your website as well. Testimonials look great on one-page website designs. If you have received testimonials from a big company, you should definitely have it on your website because that builds trust in your B2C and B2B community. Keep away from fake testimonials because that’s bad marketing and customers are wise enough to recognize them too.
According to marketing guru, Guy Galboiz, “You can keep on digging deeper to discover many other types of social signals as well. The idea is to send positive signals to your customers about your brand. It can be anything small or big. A business serving multiple countries should not mind showing on its home page how many countries it is serving. Sometimes, you can be more specific with your signals as well. For example, rather than showing the customers count, you can show the logos of the companies that happen to be your customers. The possibilities are endless. You just have to know how you can use these signals to your advantage.”