Looking for ways to boost your credibility online or
capitalize on positive mentions of your company? In this article, we break down why and how to incorporate
social proof into your digital marketing
to build trust in your brand and gain more loyal customers
What is Social Proof?
The term social proof was coined by
prominent psychologist and author Robert
Cialdini. He described it as a psychological and social phenomenon that
leads people to mimic the actions of others in a given situation.
Essentially, when people are unsure of how to react or
respond to a situation, they automatically look to others around them, under
the assumption that others — whether they're experts, celebrities, friends, or
even other consumers — know more than they do and hence also know what should
Ways to Use Social Proof in Marketing
Social proof isn’t usually a conscious decision though.
Seeing a testimonial from an expert you trust, the logo of an industry-leading
company, or a customer review can cause you
to prefer that product or service over another. Social proof inspires confidence in your business,
product, or service.
Here are three ways you can use multiple types and sources
of proof in combination to increase your brand’s perceived value and credibility:
1. Highlight Customer
Reviews and Testimonials
Approval from your existing and past customers in the form
of ratings, reviews, and testimonials can positively impact the mindset of
potential customers before they engage with your brand. If potential customers
have a relationship with someone leaving a positive review, that’s even better!
By showing that a large number of people are already benefiting from your
products or services, you’re generating a ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO). Customer online reviews work especially well for technical products or those in very crowded and competitive industries.
Encourage happy customers to share their experiences online like social media, Google, Yelp, or your website. You can ask customers in person for a review, reach out to repeat
customers, include prompts in surveys, offer incentives, or highlight customers
who've left reviews.
2. Build Trust with
If there's a trusted authority in your industry that you
can partner with or receive a stamp of approval from, it can quickly and
effectively boost your brand’s creditability.
Don’t hesitate to mention your collaborations and awards on
your website and social media. When applicable, include an image that
showcases relevant logos or award graphics.
3. Leverage Industry
Experts and Brand Ambassadors
You don’t have to acquire a celebrity endorsement to tap
into the many benefits that brand ambassadors can bring. Instead, take
your pick of industry experts, influencers, or even passionate customers who’ll
spread the word about your brand.
The benefit of
involving these experts or ambassadors is that you’re able to reach into their
base of loyal followers to draw more attention to your business. It also raises
the trust level of new customers if they see that a trusted industry expert
recommends your business.
Generate Business with Social Proof
Adding social proof to your marketing is a great way to
increase leads or sales for your business. The more social proof you can
gather from online reviews, social media mentions, and industry approval, the most
trust you can build with your potential customers before they even talk to you.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in March 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.