If you’re just getting started in business or you want to work on developing a stronger online presence, you need Social Proof. This is a key element to your online reputation and will be critical to growth.

Social Proof is all the things you have online that shows you’re legitimate, worthy and will help others make the decision to buy from you. Reviews and testimonials are just a couple of examples of Social Proof.

More people are using apps and social media to look up companies, services and products and what they find will determine whether or not they will buy. Social Proof is highly important for growth and if you don’t have it, you need to make it a priority to get it.

To help you get started I’m covering 5 Types of Social Proof Every Startup Should Have:

If you’d rather, you can see me talk about it LIVE here

Ratings and Reviews: This is the first thing you should work on. Reviews show others that you are a functioning business and give them confidence to purchase from you. No one wants to be the first or the guinea pig, they’d prefer to buy from a reputable business and know they’re getting what they paid for. Don’t wait until something goes badly and end up with negative reviews. Ask for it! There is no shame in asking someone to rate your business or leave a review. In fact, I’d encourage you to have a follow-up system in place for acquiring reviews after the sale is complete.

Testimonials and Quotes: Written testimonials and quotes from customers are an excellent choice for adding to your website or using as posts on social media. When someone gives you encouraging words or great feedback, shout it to the rooftops (always get permission first). You earned the praise; don’t be afraid to show it off. You’ll get huge bonus points if you can get a video testimonial. Seeing someone else talk about you and your business will do more for your marketing than most print services. One way to get these testimonials is to offer clients something in return. A free product, service, discount or gift of gratitude will go a long way. If they’re happy with what you’ve done for them, they’ll be glad to do it.

Expert Endorsements: If you have an expert, influencer or author within your network or industry work hard to build a relationship with them and take advantage of any opportunity for them to try out what you have to offer. Getting a celebrity to praise or promote your product automatically gives you appeal and credibility. Their network is a huge market you wouldn’t normally be able to tap in to. Identify who these people are in your community and get connect with them right away.

Referrals: Referrals are an excellent way to attract new customers. We have a tendency to trust our friends and acquaintances and if they are giving you a recommendation through word-of-mouth; that’s gold. Your customer service can and will make or break your opportunity for referrals. People remember how they are treated and especially remember how you made them feel. If you go above and beyond, make someone feel exceptional they will remember that and be more than willingly to openly share that. If you’ve done your work, you should have no qualms about reaching out periodically and asking for referrals. Always ask new customers where they heard about you and if someone refers you, always show appreciation and gratitude for that. Let them know how much you value their business and the referral.

The Numbers: If you’re following is big enough it will speak for itself. People are more apt to purchase from someone that has 10000 fans as opposed to someone who has 21. I’ve never been a fan of just chasing likes but with a large enough following, in the right online space you can set yourself apart from the competition.

The best way to make social work for you is to have a solid social media strategy that connects you with your potential customers and processes in place to consider all the elements of social proof.

Social Proof is about getting people to know you, like you, trust you and ultimately, purchase from you.

By the way, if you liked this article, you’ll LOVE this Meaty Free Guide I just published on how to stop stressing out about getting in front of your best customer. It’s titled “Finding Your Dream Customer” Guide and you can grab it for free here.

All the best,