Social proof is a social/psychological phenomenon where people tend to adopt the actions or opinions of others they trust.
So how does this matter for your business?
You can use the underlying concepts behind social proof to market your business! Social proof is more powerful than any marketing campaign. Let’s explore the different types of social proof.
⭐ Reviews are the most common type of social proof.
Just last week I was shopping on Amazon for a face wash. I came across one that had 2,607 reviews and 4.5 stars. Of course I bought it. That many people can’t possibly be wrong! No matter what kind of business you have, reviews are the backbone of your social proof.
Some sellers provide incentives for reviews, whether they are positive or negative, because they know how important they are.
You can do the same for your business. Follow up with customers and offer a discount on future services or purchases if they are willing to write you a review on social media. To keep things ethical, be sure to remind them that you want their honest opinion and that you aren’t asking for positive reviews only.
That said, if you come across some negative reviews, respond to them in a polite manner. It’s always a good idea to touch base with unhappy customers to see if you can repair the relationship and regain their trust.
👨 Recommendations from friends are the most powerful form of social proof. According to this Nielsen report, 83% of consumers in 60 countries say that they trust recommendations from family and friends more than any other type of advertising. Friends typically share similar locations, budgets, and interests so their suggestions may seem more attainable.
💬 Testimonials provide valuable details to your customers.
Sometimes, even a client doesn’t know what they want. I recently made the decision to cut my hair, which I’ve been growing out for ages. When the time came to cut and donate my hair, I started reading reviews for local salons. Yes, the stars were a good indicator of quality, but they didn’t tell me much about the stylists. Then I came upon a review that described a stylist as “fun to talk to, willing to go slowly and listen to what I wanted, and she even taught me how to style my new haircut.” Yes! That’s exactly what I needed— which I wouldn’t have known without the passionate testimonial.
Depending on your type of business, you can reach out directly to clients to request a testimonial, or you can feature positive reviews as testimonials on your website or business page. The best testimonials come from strong relationships, so only ask for a testimonial if you have a stellar client relationship.
Another type of testimonial that’s becoming increasingly common is the real-time purchase pop-up. You may have seen this on some e-commerce websites. It’s a simple plug-in on websites that shows a short statement and a link, like “Sarah from Indiana just bought our Into the Woods khaki jacket!”
😍 Endorsements work best on social media.
💃 Celebrities frequently pitch every product you can imagine. Skin care? ✓ Hair products? ✓ Clothing, makeup, vitamins? ✓ ✓ ✓ There’s a reason that brands give their products to celebrities and pay them for endorsements: it works! Everyone wants to be a little more like their favorite celeb and, since we can’t all afford personal trainers and stylists, sometimes we settle for using their favorite shampoo.
🙋 Influencers are becoming a common piece of social proof and marketing. Some Influencers have hundreds of thousands of followers while others might have just a few hundred. Either type can be powerfully influential based on their followers’ engagement level.
Tons of businesses use influencer marketing to increase their social proof. On a small scale, this can be as simple as providing free products or services in exchange for an honest review or shoutout on social media.
Some bloggers have made this model their entire business, with their followers clamoring to scoop up products that they recommend. You can take advantage of this trend by collaborating with bloggers on sponsored posts or content.
🏆 Experts can also provide social proof. How many times have you seen the phrase “9 out of 10 dentists agree!” or “Certified Organic” on packages? Expert endorsements are both expected and essential for certain types of products and services.
Social media shares can have a positive or negative impact on your business, depending on the reason for the share. If you’re going viral, make sure it’s for a hilarious marketing campaign and not for a major customer service issue.
Smaller business that are just starting out can rely on actual proof before they acquire a large following and social status. If that sounds like you, think about adding a portfolio of work, examples of other businesses who have used your services, or awards you have won to your website or business page.
Struggling to gather those reviews? Just reach out to my team and we can help!
All the best,