How social media verification and reviews can build more trust and market pull for your brand
Ever pondered why or how those blue ticks appear against the names of certain individuals and brands on the likes of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter? Kim Kardashian and David Beckham have them, Nike, Gymshark, Lululemon, Missguided, New Look, and Asos too…and a cast of thousands besides.
Many in the fast fashion business probably already know these ticks are for verification purposes, a ‘badge of honour’ confirming and assuring all those viewing or following that they are looking at the real deal, not some copycat impostor. For those who don’t, they’re useful for building additional trust, helping to protect your brand equity.
Elevate your brand above all the rest
But that tick can offer further benefits too, a special kind of kudos or exclusivity that comes with the elevation – literally – of a business or brand above all the rest in the same industry or product category. Some social networks also offer exclusive services to verified account holders such as editing rights.
There’s also that other kind of ‘social’ channel for building brand awareness and trust: customer reviews. Arguably this is one of the most powerful of all opinion forming channels...more on this later.
Worth doing or just a ‘tick in the box’?
So if you haven’t done so yet, can you or should you seek social media verification? Will it make all the difference to your social media profile and translate into a tangible uplift in sales? Or is it purely ‘an emperor’s new clothes’ tick in the box type exercise?
The truth is no one has the definitive answer, but based on the growing number of retailers who have them, along with all the celebs, politicians, journos and other opinion formers, it may well be worthwhile further investigating verification opportunities on social networks. From Instagram and Facebook, to Twitter, Google+ and others such as Pinterest, some or all will be important marketing tools for increasing awareness and trust in your business.
VIP Verification – Which and How?
Exactly which network to target for verification is a ‘horses for courses’ kind of consideration, and depends on your type of business and the audience demographic you are trying to capture. By doing some internet research you can cut the cloth accordingly and target the key ones that best fit your business.
Clearly there are an elite few which dominate the world rankings in terms of audience size and just cannot be ignored, with Instagram, Youtube, WhatsApp, Messenger and Twitter among them, not forgetting Facebook with 1.9 billion monthly users! Here’s some guidance on how to go about trying for one of Facebook’s Blue (personal) or Gray (Business) Badge verifications.
Meanwhile let’s consider the photo and video sharing Instagram. Widely used by fast fashion retailers and one of the world’s largest networks with (700 million users), like Facebook (who owns it), it can be difficult to get verified on.
With Instagram, by all accounts (no pun intended) only those of well-known public figures, celebrities, and “global brands” can be verified on it. Instagram say verification is given to these accounts to combat the high likelihood of impersonation.
Apparently it’s a case of we’ll call you with Instagram’s team of – human – adjudicators (they’re not bots) making contact if and when they deem you or your brand worthy of verification. To help your cause, Instagram recommends providing other forms of social evidence of your identity, like linking with your other social accounts, but there’s no ‘shoe-in’ or fast-track just because you already have a tick on Facebook.
But with verifications and decent followings in place on maybe Twitter or Google+, and a growing following on Facebook, you could at the very least leverage some additional trust and credibility by linking from these to your official Instagram account.
Jump the queue
Somewhat counterintuitively, there are some that say getting impersonated is a short-cut to winning over Instagram, while others suggest not getting big on it in terms of followers and focusing on another network.
One example is this account by TheStockroom@Shopify who broke all the rules and received Instagram’s blue tick with less than 400 followers. Sometimes, it seems the only rule is there are no rules!
It’s worth noting too that Twitter has now opened up potential verification to all its users, rather than just already high profile, ‘movers and shakers’. But rather than waiting indefinitely to see if they contact you to say you now qualify, an online application form is available to every Twitter account holder. As long as you are prepared, to give a verified phone number, email address and website, and be happy for Tweets to be made public, you can apply. But it will be up to Twitter to decide whether or not to grant their coveted blue tick.
Another consideration might be Google+ Page verification, confirming that Google recognises the connection between your Google+ Page and your official website. This reassures visitors that they’ve arrived at the correct web destination when looking for your business. Similar to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Google contact you if your page meets its qualification criteria. That said, businesses can also directly request verification and the quickest way is to phone them.
In the end, to increase your chances of being verified by all or any of the social platforms you need to gain as many followers as possible. Even if you don’t succeed with a verification this is still good practice for improving organic SEO, and therefore website visitors, so helping to assert your business credentials another way. Conventional wisdom also dictates posting frequently and actually using the platforms you are trying to get verified on - which is logical - as this helps attract the attention of those making the verification selections.
Of course, amassing and maintaining a large following demands time and effort and is a whole science in itself. There are lots of articles and digital marketing agency websites offering advice on getting more followers. Here’s a comprehensive one in Forbes about increasing Instagram followers. For ‘Fashionistas’ this one on how to use social networks for promoting your brand is worth looking at too.
Reviews: Let your customers do the talking
Customer reviews are proven to increase conversion rates as people tend to read and trust them, and people like leaving them too, so there’s no shortage of material for keeping the online conversation going about a company’s products and services. Reviews are good for SEO purposes too, and even a few less than complementary ones are Okay within reason.
Using reviews service providers such as Reevoo, Trustpilot and Bazaarvoice are sure-fire ways of quickly generating or boosting and sustaining a larger volume of reviews. Actively seeking feedback yourself is another, by sending post-purchase emails to customers, as well as having comment sections on website product pages. Try this article in Econsultancy for more tips and details about how user reviews build awareness and trust in your brand.
Tick box takeaway
In summary, if you haven’t yet looked into verifying your social media profiles, whether it’s for protection from being catfished (copycatting), or for boosting brand building/marketing, or both, it may make sense to do so. And don’t forget to harness the full potential of ‘people power’ for building brand trust through customer reviews.
- Don’t wait to be asked – where possible contact social platforms directly
- Be active on all social channels
- The more followers the better
- Find a celeb to represent
- Don’t forget direct customer reviews – consider using a reviews provider
Finally, no matter what social marketing techniques you apply for gaining consumer trust in your business or brand, in the world of e-commerce retailing there’s no substitute for getting the quality, design, appeal and pricing of the products themselves right, and of course providing an excellent customer experience, from point of order through to final delivery.
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