When Cervantes penned the words “The proof is in the pudding” back in 1605, he certainly wasn’t thinking about social media, at least as it relates to social proof. On the other hand, that phrase, along with others like “Seeing is believing” appears to align with social proof, the concept that lots of folks today make decisions on what others are saying and doing.
Why Is Social Proof Powerful?
When people are uncertain or undecided about a product or issue, they often tend to rely on the feelings of others whom they trust. When they don’t know others, human nature also tends to go with the majority. Here are ten examples of social proof marketers might implement.
Next to the oldest form of social proof, that being personal endorsements from friends, written or video endorsements from real customers are extremely persuasive. A survey late last year by Wyzol, a company that creates animated videos, revealed that 77% of respondents said a brand’s testimonial video had a role in convincing them to purchase a product or service.
Customer Ratings & Reviews
The 2019 Local Customer Review Survey reported that 82% of the people they queried read online reviews of local businesses. The survey also found that the average customer read ten reviews before feeling they could trust a brand. What marketers should find noteworthy was that 97% also read a brand’s response to reviews.
If a brand is popular, leverage that by quantifying its popularity in terms of volume sold or its rating among competitors. Did the brand place first in the competition? People like winners.
Growing in popularity today are influencers and their endorsements. Many have loyal followers with whom they relate very well.
In-depth accounts of how a brand or service satisfied a need are extremely credible. This is particularly true for B2B brands, but also effective for B2C.
Consider adding a “featured in” section to the company or brand website. Inserting what other media have said about the brand not only highlights it, but also adds credibility and validity.
When possible and feasible, include social sharing links in brand content. Not only does this expand potential reach but it doesn’t cost anything. This is also effective for blogs.
Guilt (the good kind) by association works, too. Inserting logos of companies and/or people the brand has successfully worked with can further interest and increase awareness. Research by Voices.com revealed that placing logos of business partners on company websites can increase conversions by as much as 400%.
This is a no-brainer. Any brand receiving recognition and awards must post these where it gets most of its traffic.
Third-party certification brings testimonials and endorsements from a different angle. It’s credible and can be highly coveted for certain brands.
Not all ten suggestions will likely fit and work for most brands. Marketers need to understand their target audience and select those that are appropriate and move forward.
A 2019 trustpulse survey highlighted the rationale for using social proof sooner than later. They reported that 91% of millennials trust reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. In addition, they found that 83% of trust reviews over advertising.