Social proof is an incredibly powerful digital marketing tool to use in your strategy and if you aren’t using it, you should be! Not everyone is familiar with the term and if you’re not, then pay close attention. You’re about to learn one of the best tricks up a digital marketers sleeve. It can help build brand authority, position your business as an industry leader and ultimately, generate leads and boost sales.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Let’s get you up to speed on exactly what social proof is, why it’s used and all the benefits it can offer.
What is social proof anyway?
Have you ever purchased something online because a friend told you it was amazing? How many restaurants have you visited because of the rave reviews? What about booking that hotel because of the badge of excellence displayed on their website?
These are all examples of social proof.
Social proof is a psychological form of social influence where customers perform an action based on the influence of others. It provides huge growth potential for your business because, believe it or not, it works and it’s relatively inexpensive to implement into your marketing strategy.
So why is social proof valuable to us as marketers? Well, for a variety of reasons.
- It reduces friction and uncertainty for the consumer.
- A potential buyer can get expert advice that influences buying behaviour. 40% of people say that they have purchased a product because it was used by an influencer.
- There is strength in numbers. The more customers that use your product or service, the more people will likely follow their lead. 97% of consumers say that online reviews affect their buying decisions.
- If consumers are looking for a specific product, they will likely trust the opinion of people like them, using products that are similar.
What are the benefits of social proof for your business?
- Builds trust.
- Grows an audience.
- Positions your brand as an industry leader.
- Improves search rankings.
- Increases conversions.
- Generates leads.
- Boost’s sales.
So now you know what social proof is, how do you add it into your marketing strategy to improve business growth, generate leads and increase sales? Let’s dive in.
How to include social proof in your marketing strategy
1. Encourage customers to leave a review
Reviews and testimonials are the most commonly used social proof method businesses use to gain credibility as a brand. In 2020, 87% of consumers read online reviews to find local businesses and 63% of consumers indicated they are more likely to buy from a website with product ratings and reviews.
So why are reviews and testimonials so popular?
- They are relatable to the audience.
- They show the legitimacy of your business.
- It helps potential customers understand more about your business.
- It supplies knowledge from an unbiased perspective.
If a customer is searching the Internet for something specific and they come across an ad for you and your competition, who do you think they will choose? The brand with the most positive reviews, of course.
Tip: If you’re worried about the lack of reviews or testimonials on your social media or website, run an incentive to encourage past customers to leave their digital influence.
2. Show off your achievements
You’ve worked hard. Shout from the digital rooftops. Prove that your brand has merit by showing off the awards, certificates or stamps of approval it may have received across your digital platforms.
Here are some good examples of proving you’re an accredited business:
- TripAdvisor’s certificate of excellence
- Getting officially verified with the blue ticks on your social media account
- HubSpot certified badge
Proving the legitimacy of your brand by a third party builds trust with the audience and has a positive impact on the consumers buying decision.
3. Collaboration is key
Have you ever heard the phrase, “proud partners with XYZ?” This is a brilliant way of using social proof in your marketing strategy.
Collaborating with non-competing brands helps create authority and allows you to tap into the expertise of your chosen partner as well as their audience.
4. Get blogging
Do you have a blog included in your digital marketing strategy? If the answer is no, it’s time to start. Not only does a blog help you improve your SEO, but businesses that have a blog have 67% more monthly leads than those that don’t.
Those are enticing statistics, but how do blogs help you with social proof?
- They position you as a thought leader.
- They prove your credibility by giving the reader insightful information.
- Blogs create authority by creating content that is relative to your industry.
- They provide value to your audience without being too pushy to convert them.
- Blogs show that you care about your customers’ needs and interests.
Having a blog can also generate substantial amounts of traffic to your website, making the potential of conversion much greater.
Tip: Don’t forget about the all-important keyword research for your blogs. This will make it easier for a customer to find you organically. Make sure you have all your social share buttons at the end of your blog, letting your content effortlessly be shared far and wide.
5. Be influential
Influencer marketing, celebrity endorsements and brand ambassadors are great strategies to use for boosting your social proof. They help make your offering relatable, humanise your marketing campaign and assist in reaching a much wider audience.
And the numbers don’t lie. 17% of companies spend more than half their marketing budget on influencer marketing. 89% say that with influencer marketing their return on investment is better than other channels.
There are two ways to pay for influencer marketing.
- Paid promotions: These are when you pay per post for the influencer to promote your business.
- Affiliate programmes: This is when the influencer encourages the audience to purchase a product from your business and gets a percentage of the revenue. An example of affiliate programmes is “use my discount code and get 20% off.” This is the most common method used by businesses as it’s easier to track the success of the campaign and you can see exactly how much revenue each influencer is generating.
Influencer marketing is a powerful tool to use as social proof, but you must get the right fit for your brand. Nobody wants to see Tiger Woods promoting a new eyeshadow, do they?
Don’t think that notorious celebrities or world-famous influencers are the only ones able to make your campaign a success. Micro-influencers are often more effective as they help keep your brand more relatable to the audience, boost engagement and improve brand trust and authority.
6. Get social
When people love your brand, they will be the first to let you know. Use your social media platforms as social proof to encourage customers to promote your business online. When someone has taken the time to share their experience with your business, reshare it across your platforms.
Share content that is not only about your offering. Let your audience in on the milestones you’re proud of, behind the scenes stories, founder’s tips and give credit to other companies where credit is due.
Social media as social proof has many benefits.
- It shows your brand as being personal.
- It shows that people are purchasing from your business which builds trusts.
- It creates content that the audience wants to engage with.
- It can be a motivating influence for first-time customers to buy from you.
Tip: Engage with every comment, share, like, and mention on your social platforms. This not only builds a community but helps your page score extra points with those social media algorithms.
7. Encourage user-generated content
User-generated content is content that contains something from your business but is created by your audience.
Companies that incorporate user-generated content into their social media campaigns see a 50% increase in engagement, according to an article by Salesforce. 48% of customers say that user-generated content is a wonderful way for them to discover new brands and products.
So why is it important as social proof?
- It increases brand reach and taps into a new audience.
- Content is seen as more authentic.
- It humanises your marketing campaigns.
- It builds trust with your audience.
It’s important that you get your customers to trust you so they will pick you over the competition. Give your customers content that is trustworthy, engaging and eases their concerns about clicking that “check out” button on your website.
We hope that you’ve learned something new about social proof and how to use it in your marketing. How will you start implementing it to boost your business growth?