Maximising Your MSP’s Marketing with Proven Social Proof Strategies - Tubblog: The Hub for MSPs

Maximising Your MSP’s Marketing with Proven Social Proof Strategies

Maximising Your MSP’s Marketing with Proven Social Proof Strategies image

Social proof is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal as a managed service provider (MSP).

Credible peer reviews can give your business the edge over your competition, and is an essential component in helping to build a trusted brand.

But if ‘social proof’ is a novel concept for you, or you don’t know where to start, don’t worry.

In this article we’re going to look at the benefits and risks involved. And also, look at some practical examples which you can implement in your business.

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What is Social Proof and Why it Matters?

Social proof was a term coined by Dr Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

It’s a psychological phenomenon that comes from following the behaviour of people who others perceive to be correct. This includes choices they make, and the people they trust.

It’s a similar concept to herd mentality.

When marketing to potential customers, this subconscious behaviour influences the decision to buy in three ways:

Conformity – Customers unsure of where to buy will look to their peers for inspiration. Often this comes from a psychological desire to fit in and gain acceptance.

Belonging – Customers are influenced when a service provider’s values align with their own.

Trust – When other customers’ opinions increase your confidence to make a decision to buy.

Online reviews are a powerful form of social proof. In the 2023 Software Buying Trends Report from Gartner, 86% of businesses consider verified reviews critical in their decision to purchase from a business.

As an MSP, you can encourage more prospects to buy your services by leveraging social proof in your marketing.

Maximising Your MSP’s marketing with Proven Social Proof Strategies
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The Benefits of Social Proof

According to digital marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk: “Social proof is the currency of the future. It’s the most powerful form of advertising.”

When you invest in a social proof strategy, it comes with a number of significant benefits.

Shows Trust and Credibility

When you’re able to provide examples of the genuine successful outcomes you’ve achieved for those you’ve worked with, it can elevate you above the competition.

It proves you understand the needs of your customers and can be trusted to deliver.

In a B2B (Business-to-Business) context, when you’ve worked well with others in the past, their experiences, shared for your benefit, go a long way.

Real world examples that can be verified and checked will build confidence in prospective clients. It might make all the difference between choosing your MSP business to work with over another.

Demonstrates Your Industry Expertise

In the face of growing threats, and advancing innovations, your ideal prospects are looking for technology partners who are proven to be good at what they do.

By demonstrating a history of successfully implemented solutions for your customers, you’ll showcase your skills in a relatable context.

Plus, your knowledge in anticipating and adapting to trends in a rapidly evolving industry is a unique selling proposition that should be shared with your audience.

Sets You Apart from Your Competitors

IT service provision is a crowded marketplace, and so exploiting the means to showcase your achievements is an ingenious way to elevate your business above the competition.

Significant breakthroughs or challenges that you’ve successfully overcome, especially where you’ve received recognition for it, are great examples of using social proof this way.

Builds Better Relationships

It’s not just prospects that see your social proof efforts. Your existing customers and industry peers will see them too.

Case studies and customer stories can showcase how you’ve helped your clients in the past in strategic ways, and strengthen the relationships you have across your entire customer base.

Likewise, these are a great endorsement of what to expect when working with you. And therefore can lead to more opportunities for strategic partnerships and referrals.

Provides a Template for Improvement

As well as proving good service amongst your happy customers, reviews are a great way of identifying areas for improvement.

Reviews will show you what your customers valued most about their interactions with you, which in turn suggests other areas to focus on improving. Continuous business improvement will help your services mature and maintain high standards.

In the face of growing threats, and advancing innovations, your ideal prospects are looking for technology partners who are proven to be good at what they do. Click to Tweet

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6 Examples of Social Proof for Managed Service Providers

When it comes to social proof that MSPs should aim in to incorporate into their business, these six examples will provide the most value to you.

1. Client Testimonials

Testimonials are powerful because they come directly from your clients and offer personal insights into what it’s like working with you and your business.

They are relatable to your prospects, and they’re seen as credible endorsements because they’re written or recorded by the client in their own words. However, it is common to provide some questions for guidance.

A good testimonial can help build an emotional connection with your audience on social media, or to visitors to your website or YouTube channel.

Some testimonials can address concerns and common objections that some of your prospects might have, and positively influence decision makers in choosing to buy IT services from you.

2. Case Studies

Case studies, sometimes referred to as customer success stories, are in-depth accounts of how your services as an IT provider have directly impacted on one of your customers or clients.

A good case study paints a clear and accurate picture of the scenario faced by your client, and how you worked with them to achieve a desirable outcome.

For maximum credibility, case studies should include feedback from the client in their own words. This will help your case studies reach your prospect audience on an emotional level.

Because of this, case studies are powerful forms of marketing for your business, and are essential on your website, and also pinned to your LinkedIn Company Profile.

3. User Reviews and Ratings

Reviews give a quick and easy indication of how valued you are by your customers as a IT service provider. When potential customers see positive reviews, it helps to build your credibility, and makes your more trustworthy.

Reviews are easy to set up, whether that’s using a service like Trustpilot or by conducting surveys from resolved support tickets. And it will allow you to show your audience the confidence you have in delivering a satisfactory service to your clients.

However, remember to be transparent about your ratings, making sure to include the number of reviews that rating is based on.

4. Peer Awards and Media Coverage

Awards are another way to showcase your talents in the industry.  Receiving recognition for your work by your peers validates your expertise in your field.

This shows your prospects that others think you do great work and gives them confidence to buy from you.

It also sets a benchmark for others to strive for which benefits the industry as a whole.

Media coverage also gives your brand recognition, especially if it’s in service of your clients or doing work for charity. For example, sponsoring a sports team that creates column inches makes for good marketing.

5. Trustmark Badges and Certifications

Similar to your peer awards, you should display your certifications and trustmarks to promote your business.

Usually, these qualifications have to be earned by completing an exam or providing documentary evidence that you’ve adhered to the requirements. However, they show both a commitment to hard work and a competency in a specific discipline.

An example of this is the Assured Service Provider scheme from the National Cyber Security Centre. This allows you to display this badge on your website, and makes you part of a select few who have this qualification.

6. Social Media Mentions and Shares

How you interact with others on social media is yet another form of social proof. Platforms like LinkedIn allow us to directly interact with our connections and followers.

What we choose to react to, comment on and share has an impact on our connected audiences. As well as any posts, videos or events that we’re tagged in.

These interactions reveal what we value as individuals and can make us more relatable and approachable to others.

What to Consider Putting in a Powerful MSP Testimonial
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Risks When Relying Solely on Social Proof

Social proof as a marketing method does come with some minor concerns to watch out for.

Bad Reviews

While sometimes a bad review is unavoidable, it’s important that you address them.

From a customer experience point of view, you should always attempt to address and rectify the issue where possible. If you miss the opportunity to try to reach out, it can send a negative signal to prospects. From reading your reviews it could appear that you don’t seem to care about your customers.

Zero Poor Ratings

It’s true that while good ratings promote your business in a positive light, bad ratings do the opposite. However, having no poor ratings at all can look suspicious, and could imply some dishonesty on your part in masking the true average.

It’s thought to be acceptable to have a minimum overall average of 3.5 out of 5 stars. Any fewer and it could put off some of your potential prospects.

Making Inaccurate Claims

It’s a risk to your credibility, and therefore your reputation if your social proof has been embellished in some way. You can assume that any marketing you put out has been fact checked, but it may be easy to miss in testimonials or case studies made by your clients and peers.

Make sure you review your social proof mechanisms and address any inaccuracies.

A mistake or two is easy to forgive, but regular claims that aren’t true could cause you problems if not addressed. And being caught in a lie makes it difficult to win back any lost trust as a result. Plus there may be legal implications too.
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Where to Get Started With Social Proof

It might feel overwhelming to start incorporating social proof into your marketing. Especially given everything else you do as an MSP business owner. However, you don’t need to do it all right away. Think of it as a project that can be undertaken a bit at a time. Adding to it when you find the time.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Figure Out What Sets You Apart from Your Competitors

Whether this is your ethos and culture, your people, your unique selling proposition or the niche that you work in. Establishing what sets you apart from your competitors early on is a good place to start for any marketing strategy.

It helps you determine your focus for who you follow on social media, what groups you’re a member of and the sort of customers you want for your business.

Approach Your Clients for a Testimonial or Review

Asking your clients for a testimonial or review might seem like a bother, but your happy customers will often be happy to oblige you.

You can make this process easier for them by offering assistance in what to say in their statement. The testimonial could be a written statement or a video.

Likewise, you can provide a link to a form to your customers that wish to leave a short review.

Start Collecting Survey Data for Resolved Tickets

If you don’t already send out surveys when you resolve support requests or complete projects, then now is a good time to start.

Survey data from your ticketing system, or an integrated software survey tool will supply the requisite data needed for establishing your customer satisfaction ratings.

Choose What to Include or Your Website

A regular review of your website should be something you think about doing every three to five years. And one of the best places to include any social proof marketing is on your website.

There are many places to include a testimonial: it could be in your trailer video embedded on the homepage, or it could be a short quotation within your hero image.

A specific testimonials subpage is another option where several can be read at once.

Another common place for short testimonials or ratings is near your call-to-action, as this is the area visitors will go to before making that emotional decision to buy.

Incorporate Social Proof into Your Digital Marketing Strategy

If you already have a digital marketing strategy, be sure to make social proof a part of it. You might think of it as ‘blowing your own trumpet’. However, it’s important to let your audience know about your achievements.

Your wins are a momentous part of your journey as an entrepreneur. Sharing them in your marketing builds your reputation and creates an emotional connection to your followers, website visitors or subscribers to your email newsletters.

Maximising Your MSP’s marketing with Proven Social Proof Strategies
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Social Proof Conclusion

Many digital businesses already embrace social proof as a way to distinguish themselves as experts in a crowded market.

MSPs should make meaningful connections with their audience of peers and potential prospects by tapping into social proof. Whether that’s visitors to the website, or followers on social media.

The credibility and trust you can build up will elevate your sales and marketing game, providing you’re careful to address inaccuracies and the bad reviews.

Have you seen your sales improve after putting a few glowing testimonials on your website? Did mentioning your accreditation as a Cyber Advisor result a few more phone calls? Or have you had to address a problematic review or two that wasn’t your fault?

We would love to hear your experiences in using social proof in the comments.

Maximising Your MSP’s marketing with Proven Social Proof Strategies
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STEPHEN MCCORMICK

I'm the MSP Community Manager for Tubblog. A small business owner, technical writer and blogger, with 15 years experience in corporate IT. I frequently attend MSP peer groups and create content relevant to IT service providers and business owners.

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