How to Use Social Proof to Boost Your Brand’s Online Marketing
There are a lot of factors that influence people’s purchasing decisions — from the price to the design, personal preferences, and so much more. However, one factor that is often overlooked but is quite powerful in driving sales and conversions is social proof.
What Is Social Proof in Marketing?
In psychology, social proof is also called “informational social influence.” Essentially, it refers to people’s tendency to copy the actions of other people to reflect “correct” behavior in certain situations.
In marketing, social proof functions the same way. For example, if a customer is looking for a product they’re interested in buying, they tend to choose the option with more positive reviews over those that have fewer reviews.
Studies also support this: 91% of buyers read at least one product review before deciding to purchase a product. Additionally, 93% of people claim that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.
Social proof in marketing can take on many forms other than customer reviews. Some examples include:
- Case studies
- User testimonials
- Business credentials
- Stamp of approval by experts
- Celebrity or influencer endorsements
- Media coverage
- Recommendations from friends and family
5 Ways to Use Social Proof for Online Marketing
1. Encourage people to leave reviews about your brand
Positive reviews have a huge impact on a brand’s reputation, and it’s one of the essential factors in cultivating trust. Make it convenient for people to leave reviews about your brand by having an easy-to-fill review form, as well as leveraging third-party sites such as Google My Business and Yelp.
The latest data shows, however, that 31% of younger consumers prefer leaving feedback on social media — only 16% utilize review sites, and 8% use brand surveys. The key here is to provide incentives to consumers when they leave positive and constructive reviews about your brand on social media. It’s also a great way to show your appreciation to them.
If you do get reviews on other platforms (e.g., review sites, your website, etc.), share their content on your social channels too.
2. Feature case studies
Case studies deep-dive into how your brand was able to successfully work with a client. This is especially useful if you’re in the B2B industry, but it’s also great for B2C brands.
Identify one or more clients that you’ve worked with and had the most significant success by using your products or services. Ask for their permission whether they’re amenable to participate in the case study, along with preliminary questions.
Case studies can be presented in many forms, such as a downloadable PDF, a video, or an article. And most importantly, cross-promote your case studies on several platforms, especially on social media.
3. Work with industry experts
As helpful as it is to leverage influencer marketing, a more solid social proof is a stamp of approval by industry experts.
Depending on the industry your brand belongs to, identify relevant experts that may already be your existing customers — for example, if you’re in pharmaceuticals, these include medical doctors; if you’re selling educational toys, work with pediatricians, child development professionals and teachers.
If they’re not yet customers of your brand, plan an approach to collaborate with them and get their expert opinion about your products/services.
4. Establish a customer referral program
According to a study, 93% of consumers trust their friends and family’s recommendations. Another study also echoed this, saying that 83% of customers tend to recommend a brand to their loved ones when they follow you on social media. It goes without saying, then, that customer referrals are among the most influential social proofs you can use for your marketing strategy.
Leverage this by establishing a customer referral program. Cater incentives according to what your target market would value most. For example, would they appreciate discount vouchers more, or would they be happier to receive free products?
It’s also important to have a clear system for tracking referrals and rewards. This way, you can also use this data to refine your strategy even further.
5. Utilize user-generated content
Media coverage is another strong social proof. It’s not only about the likes and the media exposure you get; it’s also about how people are talking about you in their circle. Utilize this to your advantage by launching a branded hashtag to encourage user-generated content (UGC).
UGC provides a win-win situation for both parties: consumers can share their thoughts and sentiments towards your brand, they get exposure, and they are also appreciated. Brands, on the other hand, get social proof and thus boost your reputation, and you also bolster your content marketing strategy.
The key here is to be proactive in discovering UGC and brand mentions, as well as properly recognizing the original poster by tagging or mentioning them when you share their content.
As we mentioned before, social proof is but one of the many factors that can influence buyer behavior. It goes hand in hand with social listening, customer service, and customer experience, to name a few. If you want to know more about digital marketing, head on to https://www.ilfusion.com/blog.