Whether you’re buying goods or services online or in physical stores, chances are you’ll do so from an established brand. Although there might be a startup with higher quality products and more affordable pricing, you might still ignore it. You’re more likely to promote the bigger company because your family, friends, and respected industry figures have recommended it. Such companies make sales because they’re benefiting from social proof.
What is social proof?
This concept states that people tend to conform to the expectations of the wider society. If you buy a product after reading reviews, testimonials, recommendations, and outright endorsements from influencers, that’s social proof at work. In fact, the more evidence you see of other people using it, the more likely you are to use it as well. Savvy marketers understand this phenomenon, which is why you should invest in building it.
You come across several other examples of social proof daily. They include watching a Youtube video with the most comments, buying an influencer-recommended product, and purchasing an Amazon product with the highest number of reviews.
Types of social proof
There are six essential types of social proof:
- From customers: They appear in the form of testimonials from current clients and case studies.
- From experts: Your product looks more legit if industry experts give it a thumbs up. A good example is a Michelin star restaurant.
- Referrals: Family, friends, and your professional network can convince you to buy a product or service.
- Reviews and ratings: Testimonials and ratings from past clients are a powerful way of converting new leads.
- Social media: People don’t just use social media for fun activities. They also ask for recommendations from friends and public posts, as well as reading reviews on company pages.
- Certifications: A certification from a reputable educational institution or industry body rubs off on you. People tend to believe you’re qualified because you’ve been endorsed by a respected organization.
How to build social proof
The following tips will help you reap the benefits of social proof:
- Use client testimonials
Consumer research shows more than 90% of potential clients search for local companies via the internet. Additionally, up to 87% of customers read online reviews before engaging those businesses. You can pick the most positive ones and add them to your landing page as quotes together with the customer’s profile picture. Reviews are especially valuable to restaurants, auto dealers, healthcare facilities, hotels, and fashion companies.
- Improve social media interactions
No matter the size of your company, social media gives you a valuable platform to engage with current and potential clients. Indeed, you can build your social proof by responding promptly to mentions and queries, providing more information about your services, and involving your followers in decision making. Your posts don’t always have to be salesy. Provide real value to your audience and they’ll sign up for your premium offerings.
- Take advantage of media coverage
Your social proof receives a boost every time you get highlighted by a reputable media company or organization. For example, it could be through interviews, sponsorship of community events, or third party mentions. You can reap additional benefits by announcing these associations on your website, videos, or brand awareness campaigns.
- Partner with influencers and other public figures
The rise of social media created a new breed of celebrities popularly known as influencers. They have a massive following on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and other platforms. You can partner with them by sponsoring some of their posts, asking them to review your product, or signing outright endorsements. If they talk highly of your brand, their followers are also likely to love it.
- Display your awards
Every industry award and certification you receive makes your social proof better. It shows your clients that you’re an authority in the industry and provide the highest quality products and services. Just as you’d display your trophies and awards in the company lobby, you can also do so online. Everyone wants to associate with a winner.
- Share your milestones
How many social media followers and YouTube subscribers do you have so far? What’s the average number of reactions and shares that your posts receive? How big is your customer base? The higher they are, the more you’ll gain. Sharing these milestones encourages dormant followers to like, subscribe to, and share your content on their timelines.
- Organize live engagements
Authors and other celebrities regularly build social proof by attending book signing events and press conferences. Over the years, Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) feature prompted the creation of similar events on Twitter and other social media platforms. Facebook live is also a vital method of interacting with your audience. Such engagements show customers that you’re not a soulless company. They’re more likely to pick you if you appear human and share some of their interests.
You don’t have to run a huge corporation or spend millions to build social proof. You can start small and implement these tips consistently. So long as you offer high-quality products and services, it won’t take long for both past and current clients to spread the word about your superior services. Likewise, grab every opportunity to partner with other reputable individuals and brands.