What is social proof?
The concept of social proof was coined in 1984 and refers to the influence humans have over one another. Social proof is the theory that people follow people, exhibiting and emulating the actions of others. If you need evidence of this, consider these stats!
- 40% of consumers follow brands online because they were recommended by family or friends.
- 92% of consumers are likelier to trust organic, unpaid recommendations than any other advertising and marketing.
- The average consumer reads 10 customer reviews before deciding to buy a product or service.
- Customers spend 31% more on a business with good reviews.
Building social proof to improve your social media marketing
Here are several social proof content strategies you can use in your own social media marketing strategy to generate a larger following and drive new customer sales and leads.
- User-generated content – user-generated content is a powerhouse for social proof-led custom! USG places your business as a people-focused, community-orientated brand and shows potential customers that your existing customers have bought from you, and they are loving it. This is so likely to encourage more purchases from new customers. Online users will see the masses enjoying and benefiting from your products and services, and they will follow the herd. Having a specific highlight or section dedicated to USG is a brilliant way to show off your customers and their loyalty directly to potential consumers.
- Awards and accolades, trust badges – demonstrate your accreditation and plaster it everywhere! Show off every award, nomination, qualification, the certification you’ve ever earned – state it on your social profiles, showcase your badges on your website, tweet about it. Toot your own horn because no one’s going to toot it for you! By having your business associated with credible, reputable bodies, you’re enhancing your brand’s reputation and it’s also a great way for building SEO-rich links out of your website.
- PR and media coverage – share and promote any PR or media coverage you receive. Have an ‘AS SEEN IN’ section on your website and social media highlights. Connect with news brands and online creators within your business niche to generate media coverage from reputable brands you can share. If you can get your business mentioned by news brands read by your target audience, this will help grow your social media following.
- Share statistics, achievements, and milestones – If you reached 100k followers, won an award, amassed over 1k sales, garnered 50 5* reviews, sold over 500 homes, donated 2k to charity from an event, shout about it. Using numbers, percentages, and stats as these enhance and strengthen your message – numbers are data and data is evidence that can be proven. You can even share numeric figures such as your number of branches or products – and these are all facts about your business and your progress which can easily be slotted into your social content and bios.
- Reviews and testimonials – repurpose your reviews and testimonials into visual content for social media, and share your positive business mentions and tags. Reviews are the foundations of building social proof when marketing your business! Ensure you respond to every single one – even the negative ones. If you can meet any negative reviews with a positive solution, this is also going to show your online audience that you are customer-centric and authentic – no one is perfect after all.
- Advertise to friends of friends – if users can see their online friends and connections follow your business or brand, they’re much more likely to follow you. You can literally create targeted Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns with these targeting presets. Another tactic is to compel your existing following to share your profile and/or content, so it is seen by their existing social media connections. This can be done through giveaways, or just extremely good, valuable content which your followers perceive as adding value to themselves and their own following when shared.
- Brand ambassadors – a lot of SME’s have recently caught on to the power of having ‘brand reps,’ and if your brand reps can demonstrate to others the quality of your products and services, they’re going to bring you more leads, followers, and customers.
- Industry thought-leaders and experts – invite experts to take over your social media and collaborate with other reputable businesses to strengthen your brand image – Instagram and Facebook lives make this easier than ever to collaborate and run interviews, expert discussions, or customer-led Q&A’s.
- Strong engagement (over a large following) – whilst larger followings do encourage even more followers (back to the whole people are sheep approach), not all businesses have this, especially start-ups. This does not mean you should buy your followers. Instead, focus on generating engagement! This is driven by people, so start conversations and instigate interaction (comments, shares) and positivity around your business on social media. If people see your content and business being enjoyed, they’re so much more likely to follow you and eventually become customers.
- Off-Page SEO & mentions – if you can get your website/social media profiles linked and business mentioned on off-page websites, not only does this strengthen your website’s SEO, it also gives your business more credibility, a larger reach, and more ways for potential customers to find you. A quick win is to collab with businesses, recommend each other online and on social, and link out to each other’s websites.
- Credible influencer and creator endorsements – working with influencers within your niche is great for generating new custom and follows. Users follow influencers because they want to see the products they share and enjoy, and they trust the ones they follow and often want to emulate them – 40% of people say they’ve purchased a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on social media. However, it’s important to mention, don’t focus on acquiring partnerships and collaborations on social media with macro and mega influencers – nano and micro-influencers are more trusted by the masses because they have higher engagement and are more relatable to everyday people.
- Keep generating reviews! – show people how much it means to you when they leave you a review and encourage new customers to leave reviews, testimonials, and feedback wherever they can. You could set up automated emails to reach customers a few days after purchase asking for a review and offer an incentive to encourage them to do so. The more reviews, the more social proof you have!
What is social listening?