Successful businesses have realised that social proof is the gateway to a huge potential for growth. By using a variety of tactics, you can influence decision making behaviour with positive social proof that ultimately increases your sales.
We have written this blog post to show you what social proof is, and how you can begin to use social proof to grow your business.
By the end of this article, you will be backed with the knowledge you need to nail social proof in your marketing strategy.
Let’s get started.
So, what is social proof?
Before we show you how to use social proof to grow your business, it’s imortant that you understand what social proof is as a concept.
Social proof is also known as ‘social influence’. This refers to your potential customers assuming that the actions of others are correct, based on the frequency that they see those actions.
Let’s apply the above to an example:
You are walking down the high-street and you come across a restaurant filled with people who are all enjoying their meal. Due to the number of people enjoying their meal, you are more than likely to think that the restaurant serves high-quality food.
This example is a demonstration of social proof in action. Seeing other consumers engaging with a popular product or service, so you automatically assume that the product or service must be good.
The Psychology Behind Social Proof
As we mentioned above social proof is looking to others to determine the right decision to make in an unknown situation.
There are 4 principles of social proof that can affect the way we make decisions:
- Uncertainty: this refers to how we look to other people’s reactions to a situations that we are unsure about.
- Similarity: this refers to people looking to the reaction from others who share the same values
- Expertise: customers are more likely to look to the experts for signals of how to react in uncertain circumstances. This is a type of social proof where individuals with more knowledge about a situation lead the reaction of the rest.
- Number: this covers a group of people that are experiencing the same uncertainty together, and are lead by the reactions of the majority.
What Can Social Proof Do For Your Business
Incorporating social proof into your marketing efforts can help your business grow, resulting in an increase in sales.
Above, we demonstrated how social proof can be used to positively influence the decision-making behaviour of potential customers.
It is worth noting quite early in this blog post that the common theme to social proof is your customer’s feedback. This is critical.
According to Testimonial Engine, 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews. This statistic demonstrates the necessity for visible customer feedback for your services. It helps to prove your medical company’s legitimacy and showcases the service quality.
The sentiment of your reviews will also help potential customers to gain an understanding about the quality of your services.
A business owner who is looking to build social proof for their business, customer reviews are a simple solution which can generate long-term benefits for your business. Thankfully, there are various tools which you can use to leverage customer reviews, and build the social proof for your business.
How to Use Social Proof to Build Trust
Potential customers are often unwilling to trust business owners over real honest experiences from actual customers who have bought products or used the services. That’s why it’s so essential to make your business reviews available for everyone to see.
After searching “cosmetic dentist” in Google, this company’s reviews page popped up first.
Reviews are a great example of social proof as it helps put potential patients at ease.
To show you just how important social proof is for your business and how it helps to build trust, we have sourced mind-blowing social proof statistics:
- 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations.
- 73% of customers value the written review over the overall star rating.
- 68% of consumers look for either information on the reviewer’s experience, or problems the reviewer experienced when reading reviews.
- Only 3% of decision makers say that reviews never factor into their decision making.
- 73% of consumers trust a local business more after reading positive reviews.
- 54% of consumers visit a local business’s website after reading a positive review.
- In 2018, 40% of consumers would only take into account local reviews written within the past two weeks.
Use Social Proof to Validate and Simplify Customers’ Decision Making
It’s hard to make decisions when the market is saturated with so many options. The number of choices often put customers into decision paralysis.
Often, reading reviews and testimonials are what push people towards making their final decision.
Decision Making Social Proof Statistics:
- Displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%.
- Businesses that claim their free listings on at least four review sites earn 36% more revenue than average.
- Decision-making likelihood improves 15% when users read verified reviews over anonymous reviews.
- A one star increase on Yelp can lead to a 5-9% increase in business revenue.
- 88% of buyers are influenced in their buying decision by reviews.
- Consumers spend 31% more when a business has positive reviews.
How a Blog Can Help with Social Proof
Another great tactic for gaining social proof for your brand is to establish yourself as a thought leader in the niche specific to your business. Content marketing in particular, is a great tool that is used by businesses to provide potential customers with insightful, actionable content which ties in with their services.
The ultimate goal of creating a blog for your business is to draw high volumes of qualified traffic to your website which will lead to more sales.
It’s important to note that increasing your thought leadership and authority through blogging will also help you to increase the social proof of your business.
Regular blog content will indicate to potential customers that you’re a company that cares about their customers, instead of one which only cares about selling products/services.
Having a positive company image like this will help you to secure potential customers, increase traffic to your website, and ultimately increase your business’s social proof.
Optimizing Your Blog Content For Social Proof
When creating a blog for your business, it’s important to note that there are various ways you can optimize it to ensure that you gain the maximum social proof.
One of the main ways you can optimize your blog for social proof is by adding social share buttons and counters to your blog. This will help you not only to encourage your blog audience to share your content, but it’ll also indicate that numerous other people have enjoyed the content, and shared it.
If you want to add social media buttons to your blog, we recommend that you install a plugin that adds Social Sharing Buttons to your WordPress site. As you’ll be trying to establish your brand as a thought leader in your niche, adding this small feature can go a long way.
It’s also a great idea to add a subscription form onto your blog. This will allow you to grow the audience of your blog whilst obtaining the email addresses of engaged users. You can then create weekly newsletters which will help you to retain existing users, and provide them with even more helpful content related to your niche.
In addition to blog posts, we have put together a list of 3 great ways to display social proof on your website:
1. Case Studies
Case studies give potential customers the confidence to trust a service by providing relatable human evidence of its value.
Unlike a testimonial, a case study puts the value in action, taking users on a specific journey through the usage of your service. It’s word-of-mouth validation that your potential customers rely on to make decisions.
A rich customer narrative, loaded with direct quotes and characterising details, helps potential customer relate to your service,s and impresses them to imagine it benefiting their lives.
2. Certifications and Badges
If your business has certain industry certifications or accreditations, you should proudly display them on your website.
Most certifying and accrediting organisations have badges or logos that you can display on your website.
You can your certification in your sidebar, your homepage, or even your About Us page for an additional boost of social proof.
3. Before and After
Depending on your business, people love to be featured. Featuring happy customers not only shows off your excellence, it also encourages them to share your photos with their peers.
Instagram is a great channel to showcase your before and after results.
There you have it! After reading this blog post, you should feel ready to include social proof to your strategy and n your website to. help you boost your conversions.