Social proof isn’t just a sales trick. It is a social reality that human beings are significantly influenced by the decisions of others. We see what our peers are doing and make our decisions based largely on what we see. Their actions validate our decision to take action.
To put it in a sales context, the potential buyer is considering their options and evaluating offers. Their mind is full of doubts. They’re looking for reasons not to trust you or buy the product. Social proof helps them understand what your business offers from the point of view of another customer just like them. It’s part of any rational decision-making process.
Social Proof in the Digital Age
Social proof has always been essential in sales, but in the digital age it has become more important than ever. All of us are glued to screens all day long and bombarded with marketing messages. We’re so used to getting spammed and shouted at by businesses that we largely tune it out.
As a result, people rely more than ever on what their friends, connections, and peers say. When considering buying a product, any savvy shopper will check online reviews and see what people are saying on social media. Therefore, it’s more important than ever for you to work social proof into your marketing.
Even if you don’t have an ecommerce store with automatic ratings & reviews, there’s still many ways for your business to collect & share social proof.
How to Use Social Proof in Your Marketing
Fortunately, it can be easy to take advantage of the power of social proof. Procuring and publishing social proof should be a key part of your marketing mix.
Show potential buyers what other users think about your products and services. A great way to do this is through testimonials.
When someone contacts you with positive feedback, telling you how happy they are with their purchase, ask if you can use it. This might be in person, over the phone, via email, etc.
Online reviews and case studies are also great ways to demonstrate the value you offer to your customers. Regardless of your business type, you can ask customers to leave reviews on your Google Business Profile, Facebook or other social media, etc.
You should also train your staff to save any good quotes they see, even if they’re not a typical review – like a comment in on your Facebook post instead of a traditional review. You can take a screenshot or re-type them and save them all to a file folder in your cloud storage.
In addition to your customer base, reach out to influencers, experts, and other industry leaders for an endorsement. People listen to what these influential individuals say, plus you can get access to their audience.
Testimonials can be re-used in many places, like:
- Radio ads
- Social media
- on websites & webpages
- In print literature
In this example, we asked a member that was already praising us in person if we record a quick video of them:
Many people are shy and may not be willing to record a video, so simply write down what they said so you can quote them later.
In this example, we took a radio ad and repurposed it into a video/slideshow, and then quoted them and used the text in an image:
Another highly effective form of social media is referrals. Word of mouth is more powerful than any other marketing message.
Encourage your customers to tell others about your business and offer them a reward for doing so. For example, if you get a new sign-up, give the referrer a discount. Set up a reward system for customer referrals.
Indirect Social Proof
Certificates and membership in organizations also work as a form of social proof. They show that a third-party organization recognizes your expertise and value. If you do speaking engagements and events, post about this on your website as well to show that you’re active in your industry.
An example of this is at the bottom of this webpage – the logos under ‘Our Affiliates’ are accreditations and different organizations we’re involved in.
Member tip: Include your chamber member ebadge on your website with a link to the chamber website. Also include logos of any industry organization you’re a part of.
Choose a few of the above methods and use them to demonstrate to potential customers the value your products and services offer.