You may have noticed this…we are definitely living in an age where information is at our fingertips but what information should we pay attention to and how do we know if the information that we touch is valid? This is a problem we all face! That said, how do we present our information to the world and have it stand out in a way that will garner trust immediately? Today “social proof” is very important. What is social proof and why do you do you need it, might be one of your first questions. Let's dig in and find out!
So what is Social Proof?
To put it as simply as I can…it is influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something and it sways their opinion, positively or negatively.
Why is this important to us as marketers?
Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase. [source]Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.Click To Tweet
and about 63% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. [source]63% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.Click To Tweet
This is huge!
Here are some of the fastest ways to acquire social proof in your business:
Comments are indicators that people are engaged and paying attention to what you are writing and that they value it enough to take the time to reply.
Testimonials are another way to acquire social proof. Nothing rings truer than a strong review from someone who has benefited from your product or service. A good review is true marketing gold.
Have “social media” counters on your website
This is a great way for people that visit your website to see how many people are following you, your business or your brand on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Make sure that the numbers are accurate. Only list social networks where you have a presence. It's better to set a good first impression, than a bad one.
Record an interview with a satisfied buyer or client. Video and audio are incredibly powerful tools. This is a great way to let others share their experience with your product or service.
Some Do's & Don'ts of Social Proof
As important as social proof is, there are some do's and don’ts and it is important to keep those in mind when building social proof.
Do understand your audience
You really need to follow the 80/20 rule on this in that 80% of your social media strategy should be focused on your community and how your brand, products or services can add value to them. Take into account age, gender, where they live, occupation and even the peak times of the day when your audience is online and using social media.
Do provide customer care
Social media has become the vast “customer care center” where people post their issues, past problems with companies and concerns regarding a brand or even the brand owner themselves. In the past, when a customer or client complained, the impact was very limited. Today, the world is watching. It's very important to address issues head on and transparently in the social space.
Remember those testimonials I mentioned above? Don't forget to share them on your website and your social platforms. Let other people do your bragging! There is no greater way to generate more business than by letting someone else toot your horn.
Don’t spam your followers and audience feeds
If you are constantly inundating your audience with advertisements, the same information or even irrelevant information, that is a quick way to lose social proof and credibility.
Don’t take long to reply
Even if you receive a “bad” comment on social media on on your blog, handle it openly and transparently. People don't mind if you screw up nearly as much as if you don't fix it. This has a double benefit because you can turn a disgruntled customer into a raving fan and those that are watching see you handle the situation professionally. Everyone makes mistakes but not everyone owns them and worse yet, not everyone fixes them.
Don’t buy followers
While buying fans/followers provides immediate gratification, it's an entirely worthless value proposition. They are not your ideal customer which means they won't be buying from you. It won’t get you anywhere fast and it is a waste of your money. Focus on the audience you DO have, not the one you don’t have….yet.
How can I get MORE social proof?
Here are some types of social proof that you have access to that you may not even be using….and should be!
Empower Your Employees
If you are a company that has employees…are you asking them to post and share positive news on social media about your company? There are employees who do this on their own without asking, but you’d be surprised how many don’t, simply because they haven’t been made aware they could. Make them aware!
Foster Word of Mouth Marketing
Your existing customers/clients are a gold mine. They are your VIPs. Treat them as such. Give them (your best customers) discounts for bringing in NEW customers. New customers will get the social proof they need and you will increase your sales!
Your List Is Social Proof
We live in the information age and people are searching for more of it. What do you have knowledge of that you can put together in an eBook, a tutorial, a “how to” video in exchange for an email address? (You can also use a stat counter for how many people have claimed their free info product = more social proof.)
Use Social Share Buttons
Include “share” buttons on your emails, article, info product, etc. Adding a social share button allows the individual to share within their social communities, thus giving you more exposure and more social street “cred”.
Use Testimonials in Your Newsletters
Don't limit where you share those testimonials to just your website and social platforms. Be creative and share them in your newsletters. Include a picture of the person giving the testimonial. A physical picture can make all the difference as it ties a “real person” to the words.
As business owners, social proof is very important! It is important because it is a way to sell more “stuff”. My hope is that, through reading this article, What Is Social Proof and Why Do You Need It, that you have picked up a few nuggets that will help you get more social proof for your business! I would love to hear from you if you picked up something that you can use and/or if you have any suggestions to add to those above!