What is Social Proof?
Social proof is the idea that people will make decisions based on what other people do. Whether you’re looking to buy a new car, a regular house cleaning service, or simply a new show to binge-watch on Netflix – chances are, social proof plays a key part in your decision-making process. Chances are your decision-making process started well before you walked onto the car dealership lot; more likely, it started when you asked a friend for a recommendation, or when you started noticing what kinds of cars people in your neighbourhood drive, or when you looked at reviews online. This phenomenon is called social proof, and whether you’re aware of it or not, it has a huge influence over how we make purchases.
Types of Social Proof
If you’re looking to use social proof to enhance your sales and marketing strategy, you’re in luck. There are many different types of social proof you can utilise, some of which we’ve explained further below. But don’t be overwhelmed by this list; you don’t need to use all kinds of social proof on day one or saturate your website with every type of Social Proof. Start by reviewing your options, selecting a few that you feel will best complement your sales strategy, and putting together a plan to implement them over the coming days, weeks and months. You might even have all the information you need to implement a social proof content strategy right away.
Social proof doesn’t get more straightforward than it does with testimonials. Testimonials are written or video endorsements from real customers who share their experience with a product or service and recommend it to other potential customers.
Customer Ratings and Reviews
When is the last time you purchased something without reading a review first? If it’s been a while, you’re in good company; 91% of people regularly or occasionally read reviews before making a purchase, and 95% of people say that reviews – whether positive, or negative – influence their purchasing decisions. What does that mean for your business? If you don’t have great ratings and reviews, you’re likely going to lose business to a competitor that does.
Not all social proof has to come from the mouths of customers; you likely already have great social proof arsenal at your disposal in the form of sales data. Consider promoting some statistics about your product or service like the samples below:
- Total number of subscribers
- Total sales made
- Total orders shipped
- Number of tickets sold
- Number of tickets remaining
- Number of satisfied customers
- Number of returns (if notably low)
When most people hear the term endorsement, dollar signs start flashing in their mind. But endorsements don’t have to be expensive; in fact, they can even be free.
The most popular kind of endorsement is a celebrity endorsement that you might see on a television commercial as Shakira sips on a Pepsi or Michael Jordan runs around the court in a fresh pair of Nike sneakers. But more common now are niche endorsements from micro-influencers or experts on social media. For example, imagine that you run a chain of local hair salons. Would it make more sense for you to pay Jennifer Aniston for an endorsement, or for you to find a local YouTube-famous hair stylist and vlogger to promote your company?
Case studies are a tried and true way to earn customer confidence. Case studies are in-depth accounts of real customer experiences that explain how a product or service helped a customer solve a problem. This type of social proof is extremely common in the B2B space, and even more specifically in the B2B services space in industries like software, development, and hosting.
Adding a “featured in” section to your website is a great way to leverage the brand power of other media outlets to create validity for your own brand. If a major news outlet or popular website has written a story about you or featured your product on their website, you could be monetising that publicity.
Social Media Sharing
As the name suggests, social media is the perfect place to create social proof. In its simplest form, social media can be a way to reach your existing brand loyalists. But if done well, you can use social media sharing to reach entirely new audiences without paying for advertising.
Big Consumer Brands and Names
Building confidence with your potential customers doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it’s as simple as showing your website visitors who you currently work with or have worked with in the past. This kind of social proof is super easy to implement and can deliver incredible ROI; one study found that simply placing logos of your business customers on your website can increase your conversions by as much as 400%. With numbers like that, adding logos to your site should be a no-brainer.
Who doesn’t want to buy award-winning products and services? Showing off your recognitions on your digital outlets is a great way to build trust via social proof. Whether you’re displaying your awards on your website or promoting them via email or social media, this is a great way to squeeze the most out of your award-winning work.
Social Proof Fast Stats
- 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- Placing the logos of business customers on a company website can increase conversions by as much as 400%, according to Voices.com.
- Influencer marketing has been considered the fastest-growing consumer-acquisition channel.
- The average consumer reads 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision.
- 57% of consumers will only buy or use a business service if it has at least a 4-star rating.
- For 50% of all consumers, their very next step after reading a positive review about a company is to visit their website.
Where to use Social Proof in Your Business
So now we know what social proof is and some of the common forms it can come in now you need to consider where to display it and how best to leverage it for your business.
Firstly, it goes without saying, if you’re on platforms that already allow for reviews and ratings such as Google Reviews if you’re a restaurant or Facebook Reviews if you have a big presence there, then make sure you’re utilising those features. Encourage customers to leave a review or in your checkout success pages include review options. Outside of that, its important to place your chosen social proof in places where your prospective customers will see it; so maybe on the homepage of your website, or close to registration forms or pages where you want prospects to take action, ultimately you need to get eyeballs on them valuable and you know best where to showcase it. Sharing customer reviews on your emails or even social media accounts through Facebook or Instagram posts or stories are also a sure fire way to get them noticed.
There was a lot in this article but you know your business best and hopefully a little more about Social Proof. Start by choosing the type of social proof that just makes sense for you and your business and get it seen. If you need support in doing so, our team here at Thats It Media would be more than happy to advise you on what’s best for your business, just pop us an email or message on Facebook and we’ll get back to you soonest.