Social Proof and How It Can Help Your Business

Have you ever really thought about what factors into your decision to buy a product or service? It can be an interesting exercise to see what motivates people to make purchases. For large purchases, or when someone is trying something new, they will frequently consider what other people have to say about the product, brand or service they are considering.

This is an example of “Social Proof” – a psychological phenomenon that explains why we often look to other people to see how they are reacting before we make up own own minds about things. You can often see this in real-world social settings, where you will find a large group of individuals acting in a similar manner.

When marketing your business, social proof can play a huge factor in helping people decide whether or not to use your services, buy your product, or eat at your restaurant.

What are some ways that you can bring social proof into your online presence?

  • Showcase awards that your business has won. Whether these are local awards, franchise wide awards, or if you’ve made a top 10 list, this can illustrate your superior product or service, and can help potential customers feel like you are a leader in your industry.
  • Incorporate positive reviews. There are a lot of ways that you can do this over various platforms – on social media, you can retweet, regram or share posts. You can link to positive reviews on blogs. You can also incorporate review widgets through sites like Yelp or Facebook. I find highlighting reviews that were placed on social media sites and review sites helps provide authenticity and personal connection to the reviews, as potential customers can very easily see if the person leaving a review is a real person.
  • Include links to (or scans of) articles in newspapers or magazines. Not only is this something that you should be proud of, it’ll confirm to your clients that you are something they should be aware of.
  • Show numbers of customer. This can also include showing the number of fans/followers/likes you have on various social networks. Proof is in the numbers – if you have a lot of happy customers, this will help convince other customers that they will be equally satisfied with your product or service.
  • Feature customer testimonials. Make these as personalized as possible – include the person’s photo and name (and title, if applicable). This can create an emotional bond for the potential customer with the testimonial included.

How can you find social proof to incorporate into your online presence?

  • Set up (or claim) pages on Google Business, Yelp and Facebook. Monitor these pages for positive reviews that you can use.
  • Search Google for already existing reviews and link to these.
  • Monitor the web for mentions of your company and your brand. Some great tools that can be used for this are Hootsuite, Google Alerts and Sprout Social.
  • Ask your customers for reviews. Amazon does it right – shortly after a customer has received a product they have purchased, they will receive a follow-up email asking the customer to leave a review for the product.
  • Work with social media influencers on campaign to create positive buzz.

How to make the best use of social proof:

  • Keep it real. I have known companies who have tried to fake social proof by asking employees to leave reviews, or by making up testimonials and using stock photography for associated headshots. These have the tendency to backfire on companies and have led to instances where potential customers lost faith that the company was authentic about their products.
  • Address the negative. Customers will often feel more loyalty towards you if you can fix a bad experience they had with your company for them than if they had only ever had good experiences – it helps them recognize that you are willing to go that extra step to make things better for you.
  • Share your customer numbers when they get big. Showing small numbers can actually cast doubt in potential customers minds. The same principle applies for showing how many likes your Facebook page has, showing how many Twitter followers you have, or how many people have you in their Google Plus circles.

Social proof can help your business get more clients. How are you going to illustrate to potential clients that they should choose your business?