Social proof makes your brand seem more credible by showing that others trust you. The more positive mentions there are about your business, the better – but how do you harness all of that power and capitalize on it? In this article, we’ll cover the six best ways to leverage social proof so that you can make the most out of leads, gain reliable customers and increase your revenue.
What is Social Proof?
Broadly, social proof is when someone or an entity outside your company – another brand, an influencer, a customer, etc. – shows that they trust your brand, product, and/or service by talking about it positively online. A testimonial from a client or an industry expert serves as social proof. A case study by a company that used your service is also social proof. Even the logo of your brand on the website of a client can be social proof. Basically, if there is a positive mention of your brand online, that’s considered social proof – and it can increase your conversions.
Now, let’s get into some of the best ways to leverage social proof for your brand.
1. Highlight Reviews and Testimonials
If a customer has a great experience with your brand, they may be inspired to share it online. If you have shining reviews on social media, Google, Reddit, or somewhere else, share them on your own social networks and your website. Make sure to credit the original author, too – social proof only works its magic if it comes from an actual person.
Don’t have any reviews yet? Ask for them! Send an email or put a call out on social media asking for honest feedback. Be warned, though: you’re asking for all types of reviews, which may include negative ones (you can’t ethically ask for just positive reviews). That’s par for the course, and you should take the criticism and see if you can improve your business because of it.
2. Partner with Customers or Influencers for Online Events
Do you want to host a webinar or hold an Instagram takeover? Instead of going it alone, get a customer with a solid social following or an influencer on board. Make sure to reach out to someone who will also be benefited from the event – both of you should get something out of it. By joining forces, you’ll both expand your reach by getting the other person’s audience involved.
Want to make that teamwork stretch even more? Find other ways to create content from the online event. For example, maybe after you let an influencer take over your Instagram for a day, you hold an interview with them asking about the experience. You can then publish snippets from the interview as a blog post or as new social media posts.
3. Showcase Impressive Industry Associations and Trust Seals
Have you completed a certification course from a prominent entity like Facebook or Google? Did you win any awards from leaders in your industry, such as a “best of” award from Zillow for real estate? If you’ve gotten kudos from a trusted and recognizable authority, talk about it! Odds are you received some type of online badge that can go up on your website and social profiles, not to mention bragging rights to use to your heart’s content.
Similarly, trust seals can help visitors trust your site by knowing that their information is protected. If you have approval from the Better Business Bureau or software from a cybersecurity company, for example, display the seals on your site’s homepage.
4. Respond to Comments and Questions Online
Social proof may be happening without you even noticing it, so it pays to use a listening tool to track any and all mentions of your company (good and bad). Whenever someone says something about your business, make it a point to respond to it as thoughtfully as possible. And if there are negative comments lurking out there, influence the social proof by responding quickly and professionally in a way that will impress any potential customers who are watching the exchange.
5. Add a Stat Counter to Your Online Collateral
Real-time stats are an instant way to show visitors that they’re among other interested parties. Did you ever go to buy something online and see a counter of how many people have that item in their cart? That spurs you on to make the purchase – after all, it looks like the product could be sold out soon, and you don’t want to miss out. Show how many people are on a certain page of your website right now, how many subscribers your newsletter has, how many people have downloaded an ebook, the number of times your social media post has been shared, etc. Essentially, add a counter to anything that will get visitors saying, “Look how many people are here already. I need that, too!”
6. Spotlight Best Sellers
The products that are your best sellers should be front and center. Put them on your landing page, promote them on social media and make sure they’re at the top of the shop page for that product type. Also, add “bestseller” or “top seller” – or something similar – to the product copy, particularly the headline. You want customers to have a quick way to tell which products they should focus on, especially if they’ve never made a purchase from your company before. Also, since people tend to want what other people have, knowing that other customers purchased a specific product is often enough to get them to want that item, too.
Social proof works because when others see that people have had a great experience with your brand, they want to have that experience too. Humans have an inherent need to conform, and when something looks promising and fulfilling, it’s normal to want to get that thing for oneself. By using social proof to your advantage, you can gain more customers who trust you from the outset.