If you’ve ever seen a queue for the restaurant that’s stretching out the door or five-star reviews coming in right and left on a Google My Business listing, you must think it’s an indicator that it may be worth checking out.
That, is when marketing done right. The power of social proof. It’s a psychological fact that we base our opinions and perceptions on others’ behavior.
Piqued your interest right there? Read on and we’ll show you how to use social proof in marketing to ensure that customers favor you over any other competition!
The social proof definition was first used by author Robert Cialdini in his book Influence in 1984.
The basic premise behind this phenomena, which is also known as informational social influence, is that people replicate the correct behavior of others in particular circumstances.
This is a type of normative influence, a social influence phenomena or social proof psychology where people change their attitudes or actions based on what is perceived as the norm.
Consider the example of a full restaurant. It’s not just the fact that the restaurant is full that tells us the food or service is good, but that we will also consider what type of people are inside.
Are they families? Couples? How are they dressed? How are they eating the meals? Are they enjoying themselves?
Based on this, those who find themselves similar to the people in the restaurant may consider doing the same thing. That’s how social proof works.
This becomes even more powerful when top social media platforms get involved. You don’t need a sales agent to convince people on the benefits of your products or services.
All it takes is the right words and images made from their peers on the right platforms and you could gain more potential customers.
The principle of social proof and why it is important is largely thanks to its vast potential impact on sales. With the right social proof, you can convert potential customers to “do what the others are doing” and purchase your product or use your services.
This is because social proof works in the following ways:
According to a study, approximately 60% of customers read online product reviews at least once a week, and 93% of them think that doing so improves the accuracy of their purchasing decisions, lowers their risk of losing money, and influences their shopping preferences.
Done correctly, social proof can help increase a customer’s trust to make the right decision and make a purchase.
If your family, friend, classmate, or even colleague, came up to you with positive experiences or reviews about a particular product, you will be more keen to try it.
Reviews from a peer are more likely to convert customers to make a purchase, and up to 83% of people agree with this.
User-generated content (UGC), also known as consumer-generated content, is original content created by ordinary users or customers for a business.
You can find these types of content shared on social media platforms and even other similar platforms such as blogs or websites. UGC is pretty powerful as people agree that this can influence their purchase-making decisions as they can relate to the content better.
There are many types of social proofs available out there, so finding which types will work for your business may require some level of trial and error.
In order to choose the right business social proof, you will need to understand the types of socialproof that is available for you to use.
Here are eight types of social proof examples you can consider using for your products or services:
When it comes to buying products you’re unfamiliar with and it lacks any peer reviews, getting an expert’s opinion is the next best thing. This is because as the expert, they should know what’s best, making their recommendation more trustworthy.
A celebrity using or endorsing a product in public or on social media is your typical celebrity social proof.
This form of proof is powerful because a lot of people follow celebrities, and these followers will connect to celebrities and what they say or do. This is why if the recommendation from celebrities is genuine and unpaid, it’s highly valuable.
Positive reviews and testimonials are proof that customers have faith in your product’s value.
Regardless of where these testimonials are found, whether it’s a customer review on the company website, a review on a third-party website, a star-based rating, or a comprehensive case study, these can help influence potential customers to see your product positively which could lead to a purchase.
It’s true that customer reviews can enhance the worth of your product, but your business credentials can raise its level of credibility.
Business credential examples include accomplishments such as how many clients they have, which well-known companies they serve, or medals and certifications they have won.
Even factors such as educational background or degree, where relevant, counts to boost your business credentials.
You can use any positive media coverage or reviews as a way to build brand awareness, develop backlinks to create domain authority, as well as display it as social proof for your business.
Social media posts about your brand can have a positive impact on potential customers, it could also help in driving traffic to your website though this could vary from company to company.
All it takes is for the social media post to have a high number of shares, likes or positive reactions, which can be the best type of social proof on website your business may need.
Seeing a packed restaurant, or finding out a product has hundreds of good reviews, can influence a person enough to join in and purchase the product as well.
Top it with peer recommendation, especially from close friends, and you have a more powerful conversion impact than any other types of marketing.
Now that you know what types of social proof is available, you will need to know in what way you can use them. There are many social proofing examples you can use social proof in your marketing. Let’s take a look:
Having influencers or industry experts to talk about your product or service, or the industry you’re in, is a great way to leverage their influence and the favorable associations their followers have with them.
After all, people who are already following the influencer will then know about you when they take control of your Instagram account to do a live session, publish instructional content, or even post on Instagram stories.
Related: Influencer Agency Malaysia
The best thing about all of this is that both parties will benefit as it’s a great chance for the influencer to connect with their audience, and even reach out to potential new audiences as well.
You can also work alongside industry experts to organize social media events such as Twitter Spaces or Facebook Live.
These partnerships can let you tap into the experts’ influence and give your social media followers the chance to hear from and learn from industry leaders.
There may be times where your product or service gets a nice mention from the media, a popular brand, or even an influencer in your industry.
These make great social proof, and you will want to acknowledge it in a humble manner. If you ever come across these mentions on any social media platform, be sure to reply with a thank you or how it’s an honor!
Expressing appreciation to your customers or social media users is a great strategy to build social proof.
You can do this by creating social media posts that celebrate achievements such as “Hitting x number of followers” , “Sold Out thanks to our lovely customers!” or even anniversary posts that celebrate your users alongside your business.
Not every influencer marketing requires celebrity social proof with millions of followers. Sometimes the best way to reach a specific target audience is by using micro influencer marketing.
Micro influencer marketing can be seen as more cost-effective compared to celebrity marketing, as they have a significant social media following in a certain niche that may be relevant to your business.
The numbers may not be in the millions, but there will be higher interaction and conversion in comparison. This is because the followers see this influencer as more approachable, which makes it easier to influence them to make a purchase.
Getting a social media ambassador for your brand means you’ll be getting a mix of expert, celebrity, and social proof all in one. These ambassadors can either be thought leaders in their fields, social media influencers, or even big fans of the brand.
These ambassadors typically have proof of them being ambassadors displayed like badges, while also incorporating any branded hashtags in their postings.
Encouraging fans and followers to create user-generated content (UGC) is a great strategy to create social proof.
It helps to increase user engagement, and people trust UGC more than if the business advertises the products themselves. Customers are also given a rare chance to actively take part in the development of the brand rather than just stay passive.
The best part about UGC is that you can repost the content on your own business social media, as long as you credit the original poster. There are even some businesses who depend fully on UGC for their social media!
One of the best parts of managing a business social media is when your customers give you a shout out on social media!
Sharing what your customers are saying about you on your social media profiles is a fun approach to demonstrate the affection your fans have for your product while also generating user social proof. If on Twitter, you can always retweet it, or share it on Facebook!
Want to take things to the next level with customer shout-outs? Create content out of it!
You can always screenshot the shoutouts and turn them into images that can be reposted on Instagram or Facebook. You can even make videos out of it where you can have someone read out the shout-outs and talk about the customer themselves as well!
Another way you can use these shout-outs is to display them on your website. Every business website should have a dedicated section to display testimonials.
To take things to the next level and add business credentials, you can also include your business certification to add more credibility to your brand.
You can even use social proof software tools where testimonials can pop up as users are scrolling through the website! It doesn’t even need to have a full text, as using other social proofing factors like five star ratings or a certification logo can do the trick as well.
This is a great social proof example if you have a large customer base.
A huge number can be a great social proof to show how many people like your products or service, using the large crowd as justification to make an impressive first impression. After all, if thousands of people like what you do, surely they can’t be wrong!
Wondering where to display it? You can use the number of customers you have in the bio section of your profile. Other numbers you can also consider displaying (as long as it’s a big enough number) to be examples of social proof includes:
- Number of countries you serve
- Number of newsletter subscribers
- Number of products sold per day, week, month, and/or year
- Number of five star ratings or positive testimonials
- Number of people/experts who approve your product (example: 9 out of 10 people love it!)
This is a great option if your marketing research shows that the friends of your fans on Facebook are similar to your target market.
Facebook ads will show these friends a line on the top of the ad displaying who has liked your brand, and your fans names will show there. This will become its own version of social proof.
To set this up, you will need to do the following:
- Go to Facebook Ads Manager
- Scroll down to “Connections”
- Choose “Add a connection type” when setting your target audience
- Click “Facebook Pages”
- Click “Friends of people who like your Page”
- Type the name of your page into the box that appears
This can also be done on CPAS Facebook Collaborative Ads which you can also consider using.
Sometimes it’s not enough to feature what your product or service can do on digital ads.
To take things to the next level, you can also use social proof in your ads directly, as long as it’s the type of social proof that suits your target market. These social proofs can include:
- Use customer testimonials and reviews
- Feature the names of celebrities or influencers
- Mention how many people are joining your service
- Sharing the number of successful and happy customers you have
Done correctly, this can increase engagement on your ads and get you the much needed traffic and sales you’re looking for!
If you need some help with your social media ads, you can also use Facebook Creative Hub to create great Facebook ads.
In order to reach a good amount of numbers that can be seen as social proof, you will need to encourage your customers to leave good reviews.
This can include any platform, including social media, Google My Business (which has a reviews section), or even other websites like Yelp or Foursquare. You can even ask them to leave reviews on your website if you have that set up!
You can encourage your customers to leave reviews by doing the following:
- Ask them in person and guide them on how to do it
- Request recurring customers to leave a review after they made an order
- Provide a reward once they have left a review
- Encourage them in surveys
With so many people and brands using social media, one way to stand out from the crowd and show you’re the real deal is to get a verification badge.
These badges are given on various social media platforms to deem the user as official, popular, or even influential on the platform.
That’s why this has been mostly given to big brands and celebrities. This then makes it the perfect social proof as it shows plenty of credibility.
Before you can get verified, check on your preferred platform the requirements needed and see if you’re eligible for verification.
Being responsive, and having it openly displayed, will encourage engagement from customers. This makes it a great form of social proof, as it shows a higher level of business credentials.
To do this, you can try to be online as much as possible to respond to every comment and inquiry. Sounds challenging? You can always opt to automate responses so that every inquiry gets a response, but you can properly address it when you’re available.
You can set these automatic responses on messaging services such as Facebook Messenger for your Facebook Page.
You can even specify the time of day you want the automatic responses to kick in, especially during the times when you know you are away. This gives you the ability to address your customers when you’re ready, while ensuring your good response time!
This can be a double-edged sword so consider using this social proof wisely. If your content is quite popular, it’s great to display the number of social shares, or views if it’s a video.
Content that has been shared or viewed thousands of times is more likely to be highly regarded.
However, this could also backfire if the content has fewer social shares. Even if an article is exceptionally well-written, or the video is well-made, it’s hard not to see the content as lower-quality if it’s obvious that few people are sharing or viewing it.
There are solutions like Social Warfare that you can consider for your website. This tool shows share buttons but conceals share counts until the article has a specified number of shares.
Your brand appearing on Twitter trends is great social proof as this means many people are talking about your brand on the platform.
When your brand or hashtag is trending, people are more likely to click on the trend to find out what’s going on, and may participate in it as well.
The best part about Twitter trends is that it’s based on localisation and the interest of the user. So you don’t have to compete with big brands constantly.
To get people talking about your brand, you can start a Twitter chat or even a Twitter Space and communicate with your fans. Encourage them to use your hashtags if they have any questions or would like to share their opinions.
In the end, the best social proof is one that not only suits your business, but one that connects the best with your current and potential customers.
The right ones will not only solidify your brand as a business, but can also convert those who are uncertain to trust you and what you do.
If you’re looking for more ways to improve your marketing strategy and reach out to more potential customers, you can reach out to us at One Search Pro.