What is social proof?
In short, it means relying on other people’s opinions to create your own behavior. We do this for one of two reasons:
- We assume other people are well informed and use the correct behavior for the current situation.
- We don’t want to go against the trend; we choose to follow societal norms.
Social proof is why you head online to read reviews before you make a purchase.
Social proof is why you investigate several sites before hitting the “buy” button to ensure you’re making the right choice.
Social proof is why you ask a friend for a restaurant recommendation.
Whether you realize it or not, most of us rely on social proof every day before finalizing decisions.
And that makes social proof the perfect strategy to use when trying to build your company’s online reputation.
Types of social proof
If you’re attempting to build your online reputation, you can use various social proof concepts to help people trust in who you are. These include:
- Customer reviews
- Expert recommendations
- Case studies
- Trust symbols
- Certifications and awards
- Celebrity endorsements
- Influencer marketing
Just to name a few.
Why do these marketing tactics work? The proof is in the statistics.
- 93 percent of consumers used the internet to find a local business last year, with 34 percent searching every day
- 87 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020 – up from 81 percent in 2019
- 31 percent of consumers say they read more reviews in 2020 because of COVID
- The industries in which consumers are most likely to read reviews are restaurants, hotels, medical, automotive, and clothing stores
Convinced social proof has a big impact on your business?
Believe social proof has a place in your marketing strategy? Read on.
How social proof increases conversion
Like any other type of marketing, to find success with social proof, you have to choose what makes the most sense for your industry. You have to use it wisely, and use it as a form of engagement for your customer base.
With so many different types of social proof to choose from, let’s walk through a handful of them to share how they work.
Customer testimonials and reviews
This is where a lot of businesses start. Your business might receive testimonials and reviews on your site, in emails, but have you ever thought about using them on social media too?
Once customers leave a testimonial or review, you can use that content in many different ways. Capture it in graphic form, and you can use it on social media like Instagram. Use copy to shout it out on a platform like Twitter.
If you plan on using testimonials and reviews as a part of your social proof marketing plan, just be sure you cover all grounds of using it well. Ask for reviews from everyone you do business with, knowing only a fraction will follow through and give you the review. However, it starts with asking for a review.
One survey found that only 66 percent are asked to leave a review. Once asked, 70 percent will follow through. The key is in asking.
You can also play around with what type of information you’ll ask for, and how you display it once you have it. The more detail, the better. Seventy-three percent of customers say that written reviews make the greatest impression. That drops to 27 percent when it’s a number or star system.
Have you ever been on a page and had a small attention-grabbing popup that shows you who’s made the latest purchase? “Jenny from New York just signed up,” it declares, then rotates to show different names in different geographical regions.
You can show recent purchases, signups, registrations, really anything as it pertains to your business. These work well because they play off a person’s “fear of missing out.” If someone else trusts you, maybe it’s okay to trust in you too.
Social media takeovers
Social media takeovers are growing in popularity. In a social media takeover, an influencer or expert will take over the posting on your social media account for a certain amount of time. This gives them a chance to talk directly to the people following you, and open up your exposure to the people in their circle of influence.
This can work in many different industries. Want to promote your city, hotel, or event? Have ambassadors who love what you do post from their viewpoint. It’s a great way to get different perspectives and add a new level of posting to your social media account.
Takeovers are easy to sell because they offer a win/win for everyone involved. With a bit of research, you can find people in your industry that would be perfect for bringing on board.
Any time you work with and feature your own customers and clients, you’ll have a greater opportunity to build raving fans. It’s a great way to give honest feedback on your products from people who have already trusted and used your products or services.
Thanks to social media, you can get creative with your approach. Graphics, copy, video, infographics – we often suggest that clients take a look around online and see what motivates them from the companies they love. That’s the beauty of working online – with just a few minutes of research you can find an abundance of content that captures your attention. This gives you ideas to copy, bring into your own business, and use to create your own campaigns.
By adding a trust badge on your checkout page, you can increase engagement and boost sales. Studies consistently show that just adding these tiny seals, it changes the way people perceive your company. They boost up the integrity of your site, and make it more trustworthy. It reduces the fear of clicking, and makes it feel more secure.
Of course, finding which badge is best for you might take a bit of work. In general, there are five different types of badges you can display:
- Safe checkout badge
- Accepted payment badge
- Third-party endorsements
- Money-back guarantee badge
- Free shipping and returns badge
Which one resonates most with you? Start there. You can tweak it over time, finding ways to build trust with everyone who shops from your store.
The next step to get started
Think building a social proof strategy is right for your business? Not sure what your next step is?
We can help you define your digital marketing campaign, and help you reach out to a new level of clientele.