How to Use Social Proof Marketing to Grow Your Business

Syed Balkhi
Social Proof ConceptPhoto byAdobe Stock

Do you want to learn how to use social proof marketing to grow your business? If so, you’re in the right place.

Before we get started, let’s answer the big question, “What the heck is social proof?”

Simply put, social proof is a phenomenon where people are more likely to follow the actions or opinions of others. You’ve likely experienced social proof, even if you didn’t realize it at the moment.

Has a friend ever convinced you to try a new restaurant or watch a movie that you’ve never heard of before? If so, this is social proof in action. You were inclined to experience something new because someone you know and trust did it too.

The thing is, social proof extends far beyond the opinions of friends and family. Online businesses use this strategy to build rapport with new visitors and turn them into customers.

Now, let’s look at several practical ways you can use this strategy to connect with your audience.

Ask Users to Leave Reviews on Product Pages

A vast majority of online shoppers report checking for reviews before they make a purchase. In fact, 90% of shoppers say user reviews directly impact their shopping habits.

When you think about it, this statistic makes sense. People want to see what kind of experiences others are having before they commit to a new brand.

One of the easiest ways to show reviews on your site is to encourage customers to share their thoughts on your product landing pages. Create a section where verified customers can share their thoughts via a review form.

When new users find your site, they will see a ton of feedback from real users, which is sure to affect their opinion of your brand. For more context, research shows that consumers think product reviews are 12x more trustworthy than sales copy on the same page.

If you want to gather reviews after the fact, create an email campaign where you invite customers to share their thoughts on your site in exchange for a coupon on their next purchase. People who are genuinely happy about their purchase are more likely to share feedback if you ask.

Share Social Mentions

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of social media as it relates to social proof. Almost 5 billion people use social media, and many of them are looking for products or services.

The thing is, people want to know if they can trust a business before they hand over their debit card. Sharing social mentions helps to bridge the gap between new prospects and companies.

A social mention is when a customer or business mentions your company on sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can improve engagement with that user by responding to their post.

Afterward, retweet or share their post on your social media page. When users see that your brand is trusted and respected by existing customers, they’re more likely to lean in and give your products a chance.

You can even show social mentions on your website by creating a social media feed. Once it’s set up, people can see what others are saying about your company, regardless of how they find you.

Use Live Sales Alerts

Live sales alerts are an on-site strategy that you can use to win over visitors. A live sales alert is a notification that pops up while users browse your website. These pop-ups let visitors know how other people are engaging with your website.

If someone is browsing your website and trying to decide if they want to place an order, a sales alert could be what sways them.

Notifications appear whenever a customer places an order, joins your email list, or interacts with your brand. We found that by adding these alerts to our website, we were able to boost conversions by 15% per page.

There are quite a few tools out there that can help you add this type of social proof to your site. Look into the different options and find the tool that meets your needs.

Add Trust Badges to Key Parts of Your Site

Next, let’s talk about trust badges. This handy social proof tool is essentially a seal of approval from well-known and respected businesses.

Companies like PayPal, McAfee, and Norton let companies with the right qualifications use badges on key parts of their website.

So, how does this help?

Imagine you’re browsing a website for the first time. You’re considering buying a product but feel weird about entering your credit card information. Suddenly, you see a small box at the bottom of the checkout page that says “verified by PayPal.” There’s an excellent chance you’d feel more confident shopping with the brand in question.

The rules for earning a trust seal vary from company to company. I recommend finding the resource page for the company with the trust seal you want to add to your website. You’ll often need to fill out an application and wait for the approval email.

Incentivize User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is another powerful way to show people trust your brand. Essentially, UGC is any content a customer makes that shines a positive light on your company.

Reviews and social mentions, which we discussed, count as a form of UGC. But there are other unique ways to incentivize users to take action.

One of the more creative ways to accomplish this task is to create a photo contest on social media. You can encourage your audience to make memes around your brand, share photos of themselves using your product, and much more.

Not only is this a way to build social proof, but it’s also a fun way to interact with your audience. Creating a top-notch customer experience involves more than selling a good product. You have to keep your customers engaged and happy. UGC is an excellent approach to this strategy.

Partner with Influencers + Affiliates

Finally, you can build social proof for your business by partnering with affiliates and influencers. The two often overlap since influencers tend to get a commission based on how many sales they drive to the partner website.

Both are highly effective ways to enhance brand awareness and build a community of highly-engaged customers. We found that 40% of people say they’ve purchased a product after watching an influencer try it first. On the same note, nearly 16% of all online orders come from affiliate sales.

The numbers behind these statistics are high because of the social proof attached to the influencer or affiliate. When people see their favorite content creator try a new gaming chair, drink mix, or skincare product, they will likely follow in their footsteps.

I recommend partnering with influential people in your industry and starting a pilot affiliate program. Give people a reason to create content around your brand, and you can expect to see stronger traffic, sales, and user trust.

Back to You

Social proof is a digital marketing strategy every small business should use to promote their products or services. The actionable tips outlined above will help you get started on your journey.

One final word of advice; track your progress along the way. Some social proof strategies work better for brands depending on what they sell. You won’t know what works unless you carefully monitor your analytics and campaign engagement.

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Syed Balkhi is on a mission to level the playing field for small businesses. 19+ million websites use his software to grow and compete with the big guys. 100+ million people read his blogs every year to grow their website traffic, sales, & conversion

West Palm Beach, FL

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