When it comes to business, it used to be the case that word of mouth advertising was the best way to introduce your company to potential new clients. And this is still the case today, although, thanks to technology, it has developed in a new way and is now referred to as “social proofing”.
What is Social Proofing?
Social proof, also known as social influence, is a psychological phenomenon. It involves individuals assuming the actions or behavior of others in an attempt to reflect improved conduct or performance. For example, let’s say you are going out for dinner and the restaurant you wish to eat at is currently fully booked, so you will have to wait for a table outside. This shows anyone driving by that this is a popular restaurant and it may make them more inclined to try it out in the future.
This phenomenon of influencing people can also be used as a marketing tool. Here are some examples of types of social proof in marketing:
- Customer ratings and reviews: These are powerful influencers when it comes to social proofing. Encourage customers to write reviews and rate your products and services.
- Client testimonials: Case studies or testimonials from existing customers are a great form of social proof.
- Expert opinion: Because people trust experts in their field, they will accept social proof from esteemed authorities in your industry.
- Large numbers of peers: Crowds or large statistics that back up your business niche are also very attractive to potential leads.
- Celebrity endorsement: Social proof from celebrities or other major influencers who have bought your product or service is very valuable.
- Certifications: If you have credible, third party entities certifying you as a trustworthy or knowledgeable source, this will stand you in very good stead.
- Friends: People who are your friends, friends of visitors or users can also be good sources of social proofing.
How to Make The Most of Social Proofing
If you’re not experienced in digital marketing, it may be to your advantage to hire professionals who will design a collective package to cover every aspect of online marketing services. But if you want to try to help your business grow yourself, here are some tips for social proofing.
Images Strengthen Social Proof
While testimonials and customer reviews have been shown to be some of the successful means of social proof out there, bear in mind, just because the testimonial or review is true, does not mean your visitors will necessarily believe it. Research shows that you can make them much more credible, by putting an image with the words. Testimonials and review accompanied by pictures, particularly headshots, are the most credible and increase trust.
Social media has become a great platform for digital marketing because they depend on user engagement to expand their reach. The best way you can be sure your content will reach as many people as possible is to include social sharing buttons on your website and in your emails. You can also include a running meter to indicate your number of shares to date. If a visitor sees you already have a large number of shares, he or she will be more inclined to share also.
Embed Your Tweets
By now you should be familiar with these 140-character messages. They can work wonders for your business because they are delivered directly to your tweet feed. They are also delivered with the user’s image (remember how that increases trust?) So you have social proof at your fingertips. You can embed your tweets on your website so all your visitors can see them.
Make the Most of Your Blog
If you get a glowing email or letter from a delighted client, be sure to post it on your blog. This is a great way to add even more social proof to your website. Not only will this give you great content to share with prospective clients, it will also help you boost your content calendar.
Push Those Client Logos
Another good social proofing method is to add the logos of other companies which have purchased your services. For example, if you’re a web designer and you worked with Amazon, by all means add their logo to your website under a “companies who used my services” heading.
If you really want to make your business grow, social proofing is a vital mark of digital marketing.
Ruby Pritchard works in the digital-marketing division and shares her ideas, industry insights and tip tips with business owners looking to spruce up their marketing efforts.