As an intermediary, one of the most significant challenges you face is serving your clients while maintaining a robust relationship with your partners. Client relationships, in particular, can be tricky. For example, how often have you placed a client with a specific international health insurance provider, only for them to have a poor experience which they then blamed on you?
Most issues aren't your fault or within your control. Still, someone who sees your brand being criticised on LinkedIn or TrustPilot may take negative feedback at face value.
That’s why building social proof is vital to your long-term business success. But what is it, and how can you do it?
What is social proof?
In this context, we’re talking about social proof as a marketing concept, so “user social proof.”
Typically, social proof is defined as positive sentiments on social media platforms and review sites like Feefo and TrustPilot. However, in modern marketing, social proof can almost be extended to your entire brand presence online. What you do and say and how you do and say it is just as vital as what people say about you.
Why is social proof vital?
One of the biggest reasons consumers buy a product like an international health insurance plan is that they want peace of mind. Therefore, showing consumers that you're an intermediary that can place them with the best insurer and plan for their needs is a vital foundation of your success.
From a B2B perspective, health insurers need to have confidence you can sell their products correctly. They also want to know you have a significant enough client base to deliver a steady stream of business.
Building social proof can help you deliver these objectives and achieve much more.
7 ways you can build social proof
You can do many things to enhance your social and make your business more appealing to clients and partners.
Here are seven of the most effective things you can do.
1. Ask people to review you
Numerous studies show that around 90% of people read online reviews before visiting a website or making a buying decision.
By asking people to review you, be that on Facebook, TrustPilot or Google, you help build up an accurate and authentic picture of how your business performs. Even where you receive constructive or outright negative reviews, these are a fantastic opportunity to learn and improve how you work. In addition, potential customers will love to see how you engage with negative feedback and work to address it, too.
2. Engage and respond to social media mentions
It is more vital than ever that brands are able and willing to show their human side.
While some brands go so far as to use social media as their primary customer service platforms, you don’t necessarily have to do this.
However, at an absolute minimum, you need to at least engage and respond to social media mentions. And yes, this might include negative feedback. But people may also mention you because you helped them, saw a comment from one of your executives in an online publication, or enjoyed reading a blog on your website.
3. Host an expert roundtable
Hosting an online event like an expert roundtable is a fantastic way for your business to benefit from others’ expertise.
Not only does this provide value to your social followers, email subscriber list and blog readers, but the experts’ presence will also reflect well on your business. People will think you were able to get industry experts to appear on your platform, so you must be doing something right yourself.
Bonus social proof if you can host an expert roundtable featuring your partners as a means of attracting new clients.
4. Publicise business milestones
This is a great thing to do to show people that your business is in it for the long haul but also as a means of thanking people for engaging with you.
For example, recently at Now Health International:
- We've rebranded our website for 2021 to celebrate our 10th Anniversary, as well as using our #10YearsNow hashtag in social media posts
- We use #ThrowbackThursday social posts to celebrate previous landmarks such as entering new markets or winning awards
- We’ve published a “Thank You” message on LinkedIn after reaching 20,000 followers on that platform
- We’ve published social media posts about the awards we’ve been nominated for and won in 2021
Your business probably hits milestones more often than you realise. Celebrate them!
5. Get nominated for (and win) awards
Getting your business nominated for and winning awards is a fantastic means of highlighting your company’s excellence.
Even if you don’t win, getting shortlisted can see your name featured alongside blue-chip global brands, which in itself is an achievement you can be proud of.
6. Share client and partner success stories
Get permission from your clients and partners to share their success stories about working with your company on your website.
For example, our own Customer Stories page gives potential Now Health International members a real-world view of how others have been able to use their international health plan.
What stories could you share that might inspire partners to work with you, or clients to trust you to find them a health plan to suit their needs?
7. Talk about the size of your partner and client base
A fantastic way to convince people to work with you is to highlight the size of your existing client and partner base.
For example, when appealing to clients, you can highlight the health insurance companies you work with as a means of getting people to explore what you can offer.
In contrast, when looking to develop partner relationships, you can talk about the size of your client base and how many clients you place onto health plans every year.
How are you building social proof?
How much value do you place on social proof? How many of these strategies are you currently actively pursuing for your business?
As we move into 2022, ensure these activities are part of your marketing plan. Social proof can help you make the next 12 months the best ever for your business, as well as for both your clients and your partners.