Why Third Party Testimonials Matter More in 2020 Than Ever Before
Why your brand needs it
The spread of coronavirus has caused many parts of society to change. In this new normal that we are living in, face-to-face interactions have become far less frequent and shopping in-store has quickly become a somewhat daunting, scary, or unsafe activity. PR marketing is beginning to look different as consumers are adapting online shopping. Not being able to browse products in-person makes it harder for consumers to know which product is the best fit for them. Shopping online also poses new challenges for the fast approaching holiday season. A recent survey by Podium suggests that 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions, with 60% of consumers looking at online reviews at least weekly. When consumers are looking to purchase a gift from a brand they aren’t familiar with, third-party testimonials and reviews are a crucial factor in their path to purchase.
A third party recommendation can come from a social media influencer, online publications, digital magazines, or customer review platforms. Browsing the authentic, user-generated reviews left by consumers proves to be beneficial for users to identify the quality of a product. As a consumer, It is easier to trust a customer review since the information is not coming directly from the company brand. Every brand is going to say that they are the best because they are biased to their own product, which is why they need third party testimonials that a potential customer can trust. Without a variety of third party testimonials, consumers may be less likely to trust your brand when doing their research throughout the customer journey.
What are the benefits- per channel
More people spending time at home means more people looking to social media for entertainment. There is now more time than ever to listen to and watch strong testimonials while scrolling through the Twitter feed. If a consumer’s favorite influencer is posting about a brand and sharing how it fits into their lifestyle the consumer is far more likely to seriously consider a purchase over a competitor, simply because they trust that influencer’s opinion like they trust their friends. We all look up to people that we trust and getting their approval and recommendations are important, which is no different when it comes to wanting approval from our favorite influencers on social media.
Beyond the brand awareness component, influencers can showcase how to use the product in their everyday life through video testimonials. When influencers are sharing instructions and best practices for your products, it takes the testimonials one step further by showing consumers how it fits into their daily lives. Consider enhancing your influencer building strategy to reach consumers through a trusted third party.
Whether influencers are creating these strong testimonials for a specific campaign or as a long term partnership, the content now lives forever on their instagram. As new people visit the influencer’s Instagram or Twitter page, they will be able to view the story reviews in their highlights or stalk her feed for previous brands that she has worked for and likes. This results in a lasting influence and being a long term third party testimonial for new audiences.
At the end of the day, whether or not they know it, consumers trust brands that they are frequently being validated and highlighted in prominent locations, such as the media. Public Relations is one of the most influential components that is a part of most digital marketing strategies. Through product placements in the media, PR professionals can tell the story of the product being featured and highlight key differentiators that make your product the right choice.
Authoritative third party websites choose which products they feature and which align with their brand. These placements serve as an unofficial review for your brand and being included in a roundup further establishes credibility. Consumers view the website as trustworthy and therefore will be likely to trust that the editors like the products that they feature. These product placements and reviews serve as evergreen branded content and will live on the company website for new users to access over time.
How to get it
A crucial component to have the best third party testimonials is to ensure anyone discussing the brand is aligned with the brands values. It is not just about getting featured, but more about who is the one doing the talking. If the person is not aligned with your brand then chances are it will not resonate with your target audience and could have a negative impact on your brand image. Defining clear brand goals and values will lead to choosing the right spokespeople and target media publications. The influencers and publications chosen to speak about your brand need to be ones that your audience would trust. If they are not aligned with your target audience, then that audience will not look to them for advice on which products to buy. Consumers are also spending more time researching brands and becoming increasingly more aware of what brands stand for to make sure that they are purchasing from ones that align with their values. You need to make sure you have the right testimonials to back up your claims.
What to do with it
Listening to influencers talk about the pros and cons, or reading someone’s positive review in an article allows a consumer to make a more informed decision and increases the chances of choosing the right product for them. It is important to leverage these assets across all of your brand’s marketing channels to get the most value out of them.
A great way to leverage your PR placements is through a newsroom menu tab on your site, or an “As Seen On…” banner, followed by the publication logos. Another option is to share the feature across all of your brand’s social media profiles, email newsletters and in the brand’s paid media advertisements by creating ads that include the outlet’s name. All users that come into contact with a brand’s PR placement can be retargeted with advertisements to help move them down the marketing funnel.
When it comes to influencers, have them leave an in-depth and detailed positive reviews on the brand’s website, Yelp profile or Google Business. Consumers highly value being able to read someone else’s experience and are more likely to purchase products that have reviews over those without. A brand can share all the details on why their product is great, but consumers still need that third party recommendation. Since the influencers are already creating imagery and trying out your product, encourage them to include these images in the reviews that they are leaving to add an extra layer of proof for potential consumers.