How Does B2B Social Proof Differ From B2C?

Social proof, at the core, is using the words and actions of others to bolster the profile for your business. What makes this more difficult for B2B companies is that the list of credible names to extract social proof from shrinks a lot. Here’s what you need to know about B2B social proof specifically, and the best ways to implement it for your business.

Why You Need Social Proof

Some people may be skeptical of the impact that B2B social proof can have compared to its consumer-facing counterpart. After all, consumers are bombarded with a lot more options for various products and services, and generally, don’t have the time to do a lot of in-depth research before making a choice. As a result, a well-placed piece of social proof often serves as a substitute in these circumstances. This credible name says they did the research, so you don’t have to, right?

By comparison, though, B2B professionals are generally a lot more versed in their niche of choice. This is where the myth of B2B not needing social proof comes in. Yes, a B2B professional is less likely to use social proof as a substitute for their own due diligence. However, that doesn’t mean they will completely pass over social proof. Quite the opposite. Smart B2B professionals are often very trend-conscious in their industry. Two businesses may have similar offerings, but if they see that one business is supported by a figure in the industry they respect, they may think that one has more growth potential. As a result, the business with the social proof wins that customer. 

What Sets B2B Social Proof Apart

However, just because B2B social proof is as important as B2C, that doesn’t mean the two are one and the same. As an example, let’s say you want to find the best oven cleaner for your home. In this case, the advice of anyone you trust who owns an oven is a credible source. Now, imagine being a business owner trying to find a company to outsource some of their customer service work to. The list of people that you would trust for advice is a lot smaller. This is the fundamental difference between B2C and B2B social proof. You need to find people who your B2B audience will actually want to hear from. This generally includes:

  • Other business professionals in their field
  • General thought leaders in the industry
  • Business professionals from different fields, but with similar issues

Sourcing people for social proof from these categories can be difficult without a formal plan. There are a few ways you can go about this, depending on the size of your campaign:

  • Reaching out to long-term clients and asking them directly
  • Including a request for testimonials on post-conversion materials
  • Adding a request for testimonials on existing testimonials

Generally, a combination of the three is the best way to go. In some cases, you may need to provide some sort of incentive for people to participate in your B2B social proof program. There are a number of ways you can go about this. Perhaps a discount on set services or products if they are willing to participate or provide a review. Because you are dealing with B2B professionals, things like being entered into a raffle won’t necessarily work as well. However, landing that ideal name to provide a testimonial can be well worth any financial loss you incur. 

However, the issues with B2B social proof don’t stop there. A lot of B2C social proof can be as simple as customers mentioning your product on areas like social media sites and forums. That doesn’t work for B2B, because there’s little way to verify that you are one of those valuable social proof sources on those platforms. As a result, you need to focus your efforts on areas like LinkedIn or YouTube, where it’s easier to showcase those facts. 

When it comes to building social proof on Linkedin, you have a few options to choose from. One of the best things you should do is get in the habit of following influencers in your business niche. This isn’t just useful for general knowledge, but as you read and comment on their content, you may start to catch that influencer’s eye. This sets the stage for potentially asking them to provide some social proof for your business. However, for B2B, you need to prove your business is of value first. 

The good news about this is that Linkedin is also a great way to spread your own content as well, proving you are a source of industry information as well as whatever your product/service is. However, the work it takes to build social proof doesn’t stop there. 

Reinforcing Your B2B Social Proof

With this in mind, how exactly do you communicate social proof for a B2B audience? Ultimately, you want to treat it like other B2B marketing, and focus less on emotional appeal and more on cold, hard logic. Statistics are your friend. While you may want to dress up some social proof with charts or images, the goal here is to try and make the statistics quicker to interpret. It all boils down to being able to prove that your services or product can help other companies.

While the basic aim of B2B social proof is similar to its B2C counterpart, the way that you reach those aims can be quite different, not just in style, but in focus. A piece of B2B marketing or social media that reads as too “B2C” not only hurts your business’s credibility, but provides no value to your audience. The good news about this is that video testimonials avoid both issues. Who better to know what B2B professionals respond to than others in the field? Guide this with an expert script, and you have the perfect piece of video content for your audience.

What makes video testimonial content uniquely suited for B2B social proof? There’s a variety of reasons.

  1. Content delivery. As we mentioned, B2B means a combination of statistics, but also a narrative to bind them together. In text, trying to balance this out can be frustrating and ineffective. By comparison, utilizing video testimonials with slick editing provides more information, with less effort.
  2. The visual element. You can add infographics and images to your text social proof, but ultimately, video will give you more for your investment here. 
  3. Credibility. It’s difficult to communicate exactly how much your average customer, even B2B, associates video content with a strong business. It gives a connotation of added effort, even in situations when it’s not that difficult to put together. This makes people naturally drawn to work with your business. 

However, with this in mind, you need to also work with industry partners who understand not just how social proof works, but how B2B social proof works. At Testimonial Hero, we have that working knowledge. In addition:

  • We have crews based in 54 different metros, with no travel fees
  • We provide all the equipment, you just need to bring your vision
  • We can consult to refine your existing ideas as well

Reach out to us today if you have any questions or are ready to start working together.

Sam Shepler

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