You’d rather patronize a business if a friend or a family member recommends it. Social proof works the same way – a brand is more credible for you when someone you personally know has tried it and likes it.
Social proof shows enormous growth potential. It’s why nearly 70 percent of consumers read customer reviews before making a purchasing decision. Brand owners apply social proof tactics to influence purchasing behavior, drive more traffic and generate sales.
However, it’s essential to understand how social proof influences your audience before creating one. In this article, you’ll learn how to apply social proof for effective marketing.
Let’s dive in!
What is Social Proof, and Why is it Important?
In a marketing context, social proof refers to core evidence that shows others have used and are satisfied with your product. This proof casts a social influence on potential customers whose purchasing decisions are impacted by the content.
Simply put, it is an effective customer-led marketing tactic that leverages the experiences and reviews of existing customers to attract and influence newer ones.
Why do you think Airbnb users rummage through online reviews before settling for a favorable listing? They want to avoid red flags that other users like them may have noticed rather than dive in headfirst. You’ll probably do the same if you want to visit a new restaurant in your area.
So, what makes social proof crucial? Simple — it helps to increase your conversion rates and sales. The moment you place social proof in any stage of your buyer’s journey, you build trust and make it easy for them to move to the next stage and patronize you with confidence.
Social proof helps to tell user experience stories of past customers and how your product or service benefited them. Hence, as a business owner, your job is to consistently supply potential customers or prospects with proof that conveys your brand’s credibility.
Here are four ways to use social proof to grow your brand.
4 Ways to Use Social Proof to Grow Your Brand
A potential customer’s decision-making process starts before they check out your website. It might be after a friendly verbal recommendation or after browsing online reviews.
If you’re looking to use social proof to enhance your sales and marketing strategy, you're in the right place. There are many ways to apply it in growing your brand. Here are some of those ways:
Tap into User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content lets your brand use social proof to reach potential customers in an authentic and scalable way. It influences your audience's purchase decisions with previous users' experiences.
About 54 percent of social browsers use social media channels to research products before deciding on a purchase. Since people love engaging and original content on social platforms, UGC can help with brand awareness and generate new interest in your products.
Glossier, for example, started a #maskforce Instagram hashtag campaign for their new product — Mega Greens Galaxy Mask. They urged thousands of users to share selfies of themselves using the product, with the hashtag #maskforce, which Glossier reposted on their own social accounts.
Although user-generated content comes in different formats like pictures or videos, make sure they’re intriguing enough to catch your audience's attention. One way to get authentic UGC is to encourage existing customers to post videos or pictures about your product or service.
You can also get them by:
- Encouraging customers to use your brand hashtags
- Incentivizing your audience to join your social campaign
- Joining a cause that relates to your brand’s value
- Creating shareable events users can base their UGC on to showcase your products on social media
Shareable events are trend-worthy and would give your brand attention and awareness. Capitalize on this trend by using these events as a way to build strong communication with your potential buyers and customers.
Promote Important Awards and Milestones
Never hesitate to show off your achievements. These mentions boost credibility and increase the trust that potential customers have for your brand. When promoting your products or sending emails to your subscribers, you can add them to your email signature to convince your prospects that they’re talking with a credible brand.
When your prospects see these important awards often, it adds credibility to your brand. After all, you must be doing something incredible to receive an award, yes?
Prospective customers look forward to doing business with brands with a solid reputation and something to show for it. As you grow and acquire more customers, share these milestones with your audience. It proves your credibility and signifies that your product is excellent, hence your new customers.
Don’t know what to share? Go for anything that signifies growth — from online reviews of first-timers to the number of new subscribers or even anniversaries.
Sundt proudly showcases their Awards and Recognitions on a dedicated page.
That is an effective way to convince your audience that people and experts prefer using your brand. You may do something similar by showing brand awards and leveraging them as social proof. These awards and accomplishments encourage visitors and leads to check out your website or enquire more about your products.
Social proof aside, you can also repurpose your existing videos with YouTube shorts to announce a brand milestone. Creating these short videos makes it easier for your audience to anticipate a new rollout and drives organic traffic to your website.
While YouTube shorts are a quick way to boost immediate views, you should also link them to your YouTube videos to connect your current audience with your brand and reach more people.
Add Social Proof to Your Sales Pages
As we mentioned, social proof is a customer-led marketing tactic. Without it, prospects might find it hard to trust you, let alone buy from you. Using social proof for your sales pages is a great way to capture the attention of your prospects and convince them to make a purchase.
Start by adding customer reviews.
These reviews serve as social proof posted by existing customers. You can feature them directly on your sales page with text and images.
Business-Software.com delivers extensive reviews of major business technology to customers and providers. They illustrate social proof using a customer review from an industry figure on their landing page for Salesforce to encourage conversion.
Testimonials are also effective and act as endorsements of your brand given by customers.
While these reviews are mainly written, it’s okay to leverage short videos for your social proof on sales pages. For example, ask customers the following questions to create those videos:
- How do you use our products?
- Do you find these products satisfactory?
- Why did you opt for our brand?
That makes it easier for prospecting customers to view your brand as relatable and authentic. However, if your sales page is for a specific product, include only product-specific reviews.
Casper, for example, dedicates a part of its sales pages to showing “Original Mattress Reviews.”
You don’t have to structure your website like Casper. You may repurpose reviews into blurbs and include them in subtle pop-ups, just like Casper did. The POWR Popup plugin uses captivating animation to display your popups.
Along with these, reach out to customers to share their testimonials or leave reviews. Dedicate a team to contact customers, record their testimonials and guide them on how to leave these. Use these testimonials in marketing campaigns to show and tell your audience how your products can solve their problems.
Share It on Social Media
Social media has a large audience and is an excellent platform to market your business with social proof. For starters, partner with the right influencers. Influencers can give you the social proof you need. Collaborating with the right influencers will help you generate more leads and reach a newer audience.
Source: Tissot Official Instagram
Luxury watch brand, Tissot, partners with professional basketballer, Klay Thompson to promote their brand. They make sure to reach their ideal market audience and use these influencers as social proof that they’re doing great.
That said, create social media events by collaborating with experts. Such collaborations positively influence your brand and allow your audience to learn.
Consider using a guest post service as part of your marketing strategy also. Why? You can integrate your social proof as examples, albeit subtly, and share them on blogs. That aside, guest post campaigns help build a network of links that create pathways for your target audience to find you. They also help you increase website authority and brand credibility.
There are several ways to include social proof in your brand’s marketing, but you must analyze and pick what works best for you. The good news is that most of these types of social proof are within your reach, and you can maximize them effectively when consistent.
Strategize and ensure your social proof aligns with your brand perfectly. It’s to avoid any form of distrust from potential customers. Your sales page should highlight everything from your customer reviews and testimonials to case studies from experts. Leverage awards and milestones to show growth and credibility. Whatever you do, your social proof must be authentic and trustworthy.
Keep at it, even after successfully converting potential customers. You’ll see that your brand will be on its way to success.
Daryl Bush is the Business Development Manager at Authority Builders. The company helps businesses acquire more customers through improved online search rankings. He has extensive knowledge of SEO and business development.