Generating Social Proof to Boost Your Credibility and Drive Sales
Before you engage with a brand or business, it’s important to know if they’re worth your time and effort. Have you ever found yourself reading online reviews and sifting through comments on social media before buying a product or service? If so, you’ve experienced social proof and may not even know it!
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to follow the actions of others to conform to what they perceive as correct behavior. That sounds a little wordy, so let’s break it down a little bit. It’s essentially just using other people’s experiences to guide your own.
Here are a couple of examples. It’s like seeing a long line outside a restaurant and assuming it’s good because so many people are waiting to get in. Or when you search for a product or service online and spend half an hour reading through reviews.
That’s social proof, and it’s extremely powerful stuff. In other words, it’s basically evidence or confirmation in any social environment (digital or in-person) that legitimizes the quality and efficacy of a brand, product, or service. There are many types of social proof, including:
- Customer Reviews
- Influencer Backing
- User-Generated Content (UGC)
- Social Media Engagement (Likes, Comments, Shares, etc.)
- Follower or Subscriber Counts
- Recommendations from Friends and Family
Why is Social Proof Valuable?
Businesses often use social proof to their advantage by showcasing their customer reviews, testimonials, social media followers, and other endorsements to convince potential customers to buy their products or services. It’s like saying, “Hey, look at all these people who love what we’re selling. You should check us out too!”
And the reason social proof is so valuable is that it helps reduce uncertainty and increase confidence in consumer decision-making. When people see evidence of others engaging in a particular behavior or belief, they assume there’s a good reason for it. Plus, it creates a sense of social validation, where people feel like they’re part of a larger group with similar values and beliefs – almost like being in an exclusive club!
Social proof can also create a sense of urgency and fear of missing out, prompting people to act quickly to avoid missing an opportunity. It’s like when a limited-time sale is advertised with a “hurry, while supplies last!” message. No one wants to miss a good deal, so they act fast. That’s the true power of social proof. It validates the quality of your business and incites action.
10 Tips for Generating Social Proof
Social proof comes in many shapes, sizes, and styles. So, there are many ways you can generate it and many more ways you can use it to benefit your brand or business. Here are ten tips for creating social proof to build credibility and drive sales.
1. Pay for Influencer Endorsements
If you’re looking for a surefire way to generate social proof, you should try collaborating with influencers in your industry. People follow influencers for a reason, and it’s because they trust them. So, even if you have to pay for their endorsement, it’s well worth the investment because it opens you up to a vast audience you wouldn’t otherwise have.
2. Show Off Your Highest Engagement Metrics
If you have a post that garnered many likes, views, and comments, show it off. If you have a product with thousands of reviews, showcase it as often as possible. Don’t be afraid to brag about your highest engagement metrics because engagement is valuable social proof that people use to make decisions about brands and businesses.
3. Offer Incentives for Reviews and Testimonials
If you’re a little low on social proof, start incentivizing your customers to leave reviews and testimonials. Incentives can range from discounts and limited offers to freebies and giveaways. And if your customers and followers find it valuable, it may encourage them to leave reviews or testimonials, which is some of the best social proof you can get.
4. Showcase Customer Reviews
Once you have reviews, it’s time to share them. And since there are almost unlimited ways to showcase your customer reviews, we recommend using them all. Throw them up on your website, post about them on social media, and include them in advertisements and email campaigns. Do everything you can to make it as easy as possible for potential customers to find them, and you will reap the benefits.
5. Create Customer Surveys and Share the Results
If you’re having difficulty gathering reviews, why not try a different tactic with a similar result? Creating customer surveys is another way to gather feedback on your products or services. And once you have the results, you can share them with your audience and build trust with potential customers who might be on the fence about your brand.
6. Create a Customer Referral Program
People trust the recommendations of their friends and family over anything else, including customer reviews and testimonials from strangers. So, a customer referral program is invaluable because it encourages people to recommend your product or services to their friends and families.
7. Encourage Customers to Create Content About Your Brand
If you want to generate high-quality social proof, you have to start with your customers. We already talked about how valuable reviews can be, but there’s something potentially even more valuable than those – and that’s user-generated content. When you encourage or incentivize people to create content about your brand, they’re doing a ton of marketing for you and opening your brand to new audiences.
8. Share User-Generated Content
And once you have content created by your customers, you should then repurpose it on your own social platforms and marketing campaigns. User-generated content is one of the most valuable forms of social proof you can get because it combines reviews, testimonials, and endorsements with recommendations from friends and influencers.
And the best part? UGC also doubles as content that can be shared across multiple platforms simultaneously. As a result, it’s an insanely powerful tool that you should use as often as possible to promote your brand.
9. Seals, Certifications, and Awards
Many industries have certifications, seals, and awards you can receive based on the merit or quality of your products or services. And when you display these accolades on your website or social media channels, it helps legitimize your business and build credibility.
10. Showcase Your Client List
Do you have any big-name clients or companies that you work with? If so, are they okay with you sharing that with the world? Because if they are, you should, and you should do it immediately. Nothing legitimizes a brand more than working with another popular brand or household name. So, if you have clients worth bragging about, don’t forget to show them off!
Start Creating Social Proof for Your Business Today!
Now that you know how important social proof can be and how to generate some for your business, it’s time to take these new skills into the wild and apply them yourself. Don’t wait for customers and followers to come to you. Instead, choose the tips outlined in this article that work best for your business, and start building trust and credibility with your audience today!
Subscribe to Marketing.Biz
Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep sending free marketing resources.