The idea that people are influenced by the decisions and actions of others around them is called Social Proof. If we are unsure about what to do, we often seek reassurance or input from others before making a decision. This is why it can be one of the most effective ways for persuading people to take a desired action.
In today’s age, we all want to know if something is worth taking the plunge by understanding the value someone else has received from the same product or situation. It’s precisely how influencers and celebrity endorsements emerged as a marketing tool leveraged by many companies. Think about the last time you bought something and everything you considered before making the purchase. Most likely, it involved reading product reviews or client testimonials about the services provided.
Why Social Proof Is So Important
Social proof, like testimonials, add credibility to the products/service you offer. Trends show that people tend to trust online reviews when making purchases, and people determine what is correct by taking into account what other people think is correct. There are many different touchpoints involved in a user’s journey, and over time social proof has been a key element for increasing conversions during this process.
Additionally, when you source the opinions from your client base, it shows that you care about their experiences with your brand and have an appreciation for their continued relationship. In some cases, how a business responds to negative feedback can be seen as even more valuable to a consumer. In other cases, how a brand responds in unprecedented times like a global pandemic can help potential prospects understand how the company can be seen more as a partner rather than a vendor.
Forms of Social Proof
There are many different types of social proof that can be leveraged on your site. The below lists the various options of some of the most common forms.
- Logos from a Brand You’ve Worked With: Featuring the logos of trusted brands you work with provides a level of comfort and familiarity for potential customers. Don’t forget to ask permission first!
- Testimonials from Previous or Current Clients: Highlighting these declarations in written or video format encourages readers to engage more with your site. It also provides the opportunity for users to hear from happy customers in their own words. These become more valuable the more sincere and descriptive the statement is. If there is a time when the brand was able to provide a level of service during a challenging time, showcasing this on your website to let other users know how you can provide assistance in a time of need can go a long way.
- Reviews / Ratings of Your Products / Services: Most consumers would agree that checking ratings and reviews are a crucial part of their decision-making process. After reading a review that explains how helpful your customer service was in a difficult time can be the deciding factor in a user’s decision making process. Consider reaching out to those clients for reviews/ratings of how the brand assisted during the outbreak of COVID-19 to encourage them to tell their story.
- Expert’s Stamp of Approval: Seals of approval, features in business reviews provide value because someone who is a known expert or organization within the industry gives added credibility to your claims.
- Case Studies: These provide a great vote of confidence in a product’s/service’s value. They also showcase real results customers have achieved in a more detailed way than a simple testimonial.
- Business Credentials: Awards / certifications and accolades provide credibility and trust to your product / service. For example, when going into a specialist’s office, it is comforting to know that they graduated from a highly respected educational facility, or that they received an award for their continued customer support from a trustworthy organization.
- Published Media: Press releases, article features – these provide an opportunity for Third Party mentions of your brand, which can also help drive traffic back to your site (added bonus this helps with SEO as well).
- Social Media Shares: A value of social media is the social networking aspect of it. Positive shares of your content on social networks allows a user to directly endorse a brand or product to their immediate circle of friends. An added benefit is the increase in traffic for the site.
- FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Otherwise known as the “but mom everyone else is doing it” complex. People have a desire to fit in and do what others do. Amazon is a great example of this with its people also bought suggestion that is incorporated into the buyer’s journey. This information about what everyone else is adding to their cart ignites the idea that there are other products people are liking that you might as well.
How to Acquire Assets for Social Proof
If you don’t ask, you will never know! You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take right? The below are examples of some ways you can obtain different forms of social proof for your business needs. In current climate, how your company responds in difficult times adds an additional layer of trusted feedback to those considering in collaborating with you. Consider reaching out to your partners in some of the below ways for their thoughts of how you specifically helped them through a global pandemic.
- Customer Surveys: Reach out to happy customers and ask them to provide feedback.
- Encourage Customers to Post on Social Media: Track hashtags so you can respond to them easily and gauge the volume of mentions.
- Send Your Products for Free to Influencers: People with a large following have a lot of influence on their followers. Encourage them to try your product/service and provide public feedback. This is also helpful if a trusted media source or publication writes reviews on your products.
- Onsite Event Testimonials
- Gathering testimonials on the spot is a great opportunity to set up a camera and ask customers to provide
- Another option is to email those who attended, or who are in your client database in general, and ask them to provide a quote about their experience to be featured on the website.
- Feature Reviews from Other Sites on Your Site: Many hotels do this with TripAdvisor reviews where they pull in quotes posted from a trusted site. Be sure to check the site’s terms and conditions first.
- Offer a Referral Program: In every subscription box there is a discounted voucher for referring someone to the services. Knowing that recommendations from people we know carries more weight than other types of promotion or advertising, this provides an opportunity to grow through an extension of your current audience.
- Collecting Case Studies: Create a list of current customers who have received strong results from working with you. Develop an initial draft case study outlining the challenge faced, solutions offered, outcome/results and reach out to the customer for their permissions to use the story.
To learn more about what kind of social proof works best for you and how to incorporate it into your website and online marketing efforts, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.