Few things speak to the value of your product or service than the fact that people are buying it. When others are using your service or buying your products, others follow along. The proof of our product or service is shown in its social validity among paying customers, and this is what is meant by social proof.
Social proof is like a seal of approval from the general public. It is a fact that people will follow the public when it comes to products and services. Social proof is the type of proof that speaks to people because they tend to believe in things that others have come to trust.
Social proof is also something that tends to build on itself. Once you begin to gain some social proof, more people are likely to chime in with things like positive customer reviews. Social proof is one of those things that has grown in the age of social media, and it has become an important part of any successful marketing plan.
What is social proof? Why do you need social proof? And what are the different forms of social proof and the value of each? This guide will introduce you to the concept of social proof and explain how social proof can help your business succeed.
What is social proof?
Social proof is a phenomenon in which people come to follow the actions of others in their buying habits. It is when people begin to see that a certain product or service has gained popularity and they decide to buy into that product or service because they view the actions of others as proof of the value or validity of that product or service.
While the idea of social proof may seem at first glance to be little more than a simple game of popularity, social proof as a social phenomenon is grounded in some serious psychological research. Research psychologists have found that people tend to trust certain things after they see that others have come to trust them. In other words, the fact that a social group has begun to try something serves as proof that that thing is worthy of attention.
Social proof can get you noticed on the online market, and it can lead customers to begin to buy your product or service.
Why should I use social proof?
The reason you want to pay attention to social proof, and the reason you need social proof, is because it is an extremely powerful marketing tool. Social proof can be used to drastically increase sales. It is a tool for increasing both awareness of your brand and creating conversions.
Nearly 90 percent of people shopping online begin with online research. And about the same number rely on things like customer reviews to guide their purchasing decisions. This means the overwhelming majority of your potential customers are looking at what other people are saying before they make a purchase. This is the essence of social proof.
Things like customer reviews, testimonials, and social media status updates provide other people with the direction to take when it comes to online shopping. For this reason, the social proof that these things generate is essential for your success.
Types of social proof
Since social proof is something that is generated on the web, it should not be surprising that it comes in many forms. We have already mentioned customer reviews as one example. Some of the different types of social proof include:
This comes when an industry leader or social media influencer publishes something online that offers approval of your product or service. This can come in the form of a social media post, blog article, or publicly mentioning your product or service. By seeing your brand linked to an influential person, other customers become interested, and they are likely to buy.
When a celebrity uses your product and makes it known that they use your product, you get massive publicity. Celebrity social proof, as you may imagine, is rare, but when it comes it can be priceless. Celebrity social proof carries more weight if it is unpaid. People tend to find more validity in the fact that someone uses a product or service because of their own personal preference over a paid endorsement. Keep in mind that local celebrities carry their own influence when it comes to social proof. Local sports stars, for example, can provide a great boost to your visibility and profits.
There are sound reasons why many businesses do case studies on user experiences with their products. Positive feedback in these kinds of studies ends up working as user social proof in marketing strategies. The other form of user social proof is customer reviews. It is absolutely crucial that you pay attention to customer reviews. Use positive customer reviews to your advantage in the form of social proof and attend to negative reviews with great customer service.
Wisdom of the crowd
This is actually quite simple. The wisdom of the crows is simply the phenomenon in which people see that large numbers of people are getting on board with something, and they want to be a part of it. In many ways, the wisdom of the crowd is the age-old issue of the trend.
Wisdom of your friends
When people find that their own social circle is using a product or service, they are much more likely to become interested. This works as social proof since you can find these circles of people and adjust your marketing strategies through social media analytics. People trust their own friends’ opinions, and once you tap into this, you have a powerful marketing tool.
Certainly, any type of professional certification is something to put into your social proof marketing strategy. Many businesses have professional organizations that either regulate the industry or at least operate as a professional standard of practice. If your business has received certifications from within these types of professional systems, this counts as social proof. Consumers place a lot of confidence in trade groups that recognize specific businesses. Plumbers, electricians, and even medical practitioners all have organizations that regulate their industries and provide certifications of good practice.
8 Great Social Proof Strategies to Implement Now
Social proof is a crucial part of modern marketing strategy. As we said above, customers actively search for opinions online as part of their online research. What others say matters, and you can use this social buzz to your advantage. Some social proof strategies to employ in your marketing plan include:
Most online review sites allow customers to rate businesses and products with the star system. Yelp is perhaps the most recognizable of these online rating sites. Their system allows you to give a business or product one to five stars. Five being excellent and one being the lowest rating you can offer. If your business or brand is consistently receiving five-star ratings on Yelp or any other online rating site, make sure this becomes part of your marketing strategy. The reason these online rating sites exist is because people check them as part of their online shopping research. If you can foreground your own high star ratings, you can direct customers to these positive reviews and use social proof to your advantage.
Again, like the star ratings, positive reviews on any consumer review site are aspects of social proof that need to be part of your marketing strategy. Customers will do their own online research, but just like the star ratings, you can direct them to great user/customer reviews and use this type of social proof as a way to include your own brand in customer research.
Numbers, statistics, and business credentials
People believe in numbers. When your business can provide statistics and other numerical forms of proof that your business or product works, this is the kind of social proof that matters. Building contractors, for example, can demonstrate how their work saved customers money on things like heating bills because of the work you did. Or, when you can show a specific number of accomplished and finished jobs that came in on or under budget, you can weave this into your social proof strategies. For customers researching a service, numbers do not lie, and they rely on verifiable statistics to make decisions.
If your business is mentioned on television, radio, or any electronic media, this needs to become part of your social proof. Positive mentions of a business or product generate attention, and the fact that your business stood out enough to garner media attention creates a strong ethos for your brand. People tend to trust the fact that reputable and established media mention a specific product or service.
Displaying client logos lets other company reps know that your product or service is good enough for these big companies and therefore is likely good enough for their company as well and this can show the power of social proof. This is especially useful for B2B services and products.
Member stories & case studies
Case studies stand out as ways to speak to the experience and expertise of a company. Identify clients or customers you have particularly successful interactions with and explore their experiences. This can emerge as a case study of how well your product or service works. These kinds of case studies are most often in-depth explorations of how your company worked with a customer. You can showcase these case studies as social proof in the form of downloadable PDFs that are accompanied by short summaries of the case studies.
Social media communities
Gaining access to social media communities such as groups that have a special interest in your product can be valuable forms of social proof. If a group or community on social media is devoted to a product you produce, for example, the fact that your specific product is worthy of mention within this group can stand out as a powerful form of social proof.
Expert opinions and influencer collaborations
Things like expert opinions are not simply a matter of gaining the validity of experts in your field. There is a psychology to this when it comes to social proof that you need to learn to include in your marketing strategies. Customers tend to have an increased level of trust in products and services that have been verified at least on some level by experts. If you are marketing a particular product, to have things like medical opinion in your favor does more than just sway belief. It also boosts faith in your brand.
The same goes for influencer collaborations. Social media influencers build their reputations on having access to the best products or services. This is one of the ways they become influencers. They have not only found new and useful products, they are theoretically at the forefront of these products. When your brand is linked to a social media influencer, you yoke your brand recognition to that influencer’s recognition.
How to get your social proof?
To get social proof you need to start paying close attention to the things that are immediately accessible like customer reviews and social media exposure. Once you have generated positive customer feedback on another site, you can begin to incorporate this into your marketing package.
Seek out other people in your community and in your affiliated businesses. Community partners are often a way to formulate strategies that are mutually beneficial.
Allow all backlinks to come through. Any time your product, service, or business is mentioned in another context online, this needs to become part of your social proof strategies.
Social Proof FAQS
What is social proof? Social proof is a phenomenon in which people come to follow the actions of others in their buying habits. It is when people begin to see that a certain product or service has gained popularity and they decide to buy into that product or service because they view the actions of others as proof of the value or validity of that product or service.
Why should I use social proof? The reason you want to pay attention to social proof, and the reason you need social proof, is because it is an extremely powerful marketing tool. Social proof can be used to drastically increase sales. It is a tool for increasing both awareness of your brand and creating conversions.
What are some different types of social proof? Expert opinions, celebrity endorsements, user reviews, and social media updates are all examples of social proof.
As you can see social proof is not just a powerful marketing tool it is perhaps an essential component of how to present your business online. Customers put faith in social proof, and rendering social proof as an integral part of your online presence means conversions.
HeyDay Marketing Services provides sound strategies for incorporating social proof into an overall marketing strategy that works.
HeyDay Marketing Services can build a public relations campaign that will use social proof to boost your brand in ways that create a positive image for your business online. We can help you develop strategies to build social proof and to use this social proof toward success.
HeyDay Marketing Services offers several packages for you to find the public relations campaign that works for your company. We understand that one size does not fit all. For sound public relations strategies that work, allow HeyDay Marketing Services to take over the public relations for your business.
Other factors to Improve Google My Business
Other ways to boost your profile on Google My Business include:
- Enter complete data and regularly update information
- Ensure your GMB listing is on Google Maps
- Verify and claim your business listing
- Add high-quality photos
- Set up a Q & A section
- Generate reviews and respond to them
Wrapping things up
Google makes its Google My Business profile open for anyone who wants to make the most out of their online visibility for local Google searches. But as you can see, there is a lot to this process, and you cannot afford to leave this up to chance.
You can bet your competitors are optimizing their categories on their Google My Business profile, and you need to do the same. This is just part of doing business in the 21st Century.
Thankfully, there are methods to optimize business category listings, and these methods adapt to changes that Google makes. Staying on top of this is something that any successful business needs to do.
From choosing the best primary category, to optimizing the secondary categories, and doing some research on how your competitors are operating, getting the most out of your Google My Business profile is critically important to succeeding. Increased visibility means you will get the edge on the market over competitors.
HeyDay Marketing Services can help you set up and optimize your Google My Business profile. SEO is only part of the process when it comes to boosting your visibility on local business Google searches. You must also optimize your business categories on your Google My Business profile, and this can be a challenge.
HeyDay Marketing Services can help you set up your Google My Business account to that you can get the most out of the profile categories that best serve your business for increased visibility.
We are a full-service marketing agency based in Miami, and it is our business to get your business at the top of local online searches. This means we know how to place your business at the top of local searches in Florida. When potential customers search for local businesses, HeyDay Marketing Services knows how to position your business so that yours is among the businesses with the highest rankings.