How to Bind the ‘Testimonial Economy’ in Your Strategy

Your company’s top customers – and potential customers – do the same thing: they look for reviews and testimonial about your product or offering … as well as your competitors.

What we say about ourselves doesn’t matter

In the social age, people have learned to stop marketing or selling. They learned that what a company says about itself carries little weight. If a company talks about itself too often, it is even called a self-promoter and a spammer.

To prevent companies from using digital versions of used car sales techniques, potential customers rely on objective reviews and comments they find online — Testimonial not just on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List. They look at reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Google Reviews. And if they’re not getting the answers they need to make a good buying decision, get in touch with them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and more.

Digital word of mouth

So how should companies adapt to this digital world?

A world where a tweet on Twitter can sound or a speech on Facebook can get dozens of comments and hundreds of likes? Where is the social lynching about to descend on the Nottingham Sheriff’s Boys while the social Robin Hoods are placed firmly on a pedestal?

The answer is in three surprisingly easy steps:

  1. We listen (social media) and monitor (website analytics).
  2. We track – on our CRM platform – everyone who talks about our brand (the good guys and the bad guys).
  3. We diligently follow people who say good – and bad – things about us.

In other words, we make lists. We double-checked them. And we update them a few times a month.

Social Age Data

In organizations that make the most of the cost-effective opportunities to witness, at least three types of lists are compiled and maintained:

  • Champion: an always happy and loyal customer forever
  • Commercial ambassador: a customer or employee who continually supports our business
  • Challenge: a dissatisfied customer who is a potential social torpedo, but also an opportunity to stand out

A community is born

Companies that follow their champions, ambassadors, and challenges have discovered what for many a natural and almost organic progression was: building communities.

Gathered by the community—say, a love for a product like Apple or Nike, or an appreciation for great service at Southwest or The Container Store—a tight-knit group of people come together to enthusiastically support a brand.

Use of hashtags in Twitter chats; meeting in groups and communities on Facebook, Linked In, and G+; and get to know each other on personal occasions… mixing these champions and brand ambassadors Testimonial. They talk about what they like most about the brand or the best example of excellent service. Enthusiasm is self-sufficient. They form a bond. They become storytellers. In fact, when things go wrong (and eventually all businesses are wrong), they become brand advocates. They repel the crowd that plays with the social line; no legal or public relations professionals are required.

Meanwhile, community members say and do more for the brand than any marketing department or advertising agency at a fraction of the cost.

All because we now live in the Witness economy, when what we say about ourselves doesn’t matter…because it’s what others objectively say about us that shakes opinions and leaves its mark.

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How does your marketing team use evidence economics? How do you keep up with your champions, brand ambassadors, and challenges? How is a community built?