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14 Quick Steps to Building Social Proof for Growing Businesses

building social proof

Every successful marketer knows that social proof has the potential to increase a brand’s conversion rate. Brands use it as a conversion optimization tactic to make the purchasing decision easier for prospective customers. But, what is social proof exactly?

Social proof is the impact that the activities and standpoints of the people around us (in real life or online) have on our own behavior. The idea is that if other people are doing it (or saying it), it must be correct and righteous.

When you look for a product on Amazon, you may find two different sellers, but which one will you trust? The one who’s selling it at a cheaper price but with no reviews yet. Or the other one who’s offering it at a higher price but has positive reviews of the product? Normally, you would probably jump on the bandwagon and choose the one with reviews.

A Consumerist study shows us that up to 70 percent of online customers check product reviews before they decide whether or not they should buy a product. In fact, consumers trust product reviews 12 times more than they trust product descriptions.

Simply put, consumers expect proof from other people that have used the product, not a sales copy from brands and businesses. Smart companies have realized that social proof can mean big growth opportunities.

In this article, we will explain social proof as a concept so you will be prepared to start using it as a part of your business growth strategy. Let’s start.

Types of Social Proof

There are 6 major types of social proof that you can use to boost your conversion rate and grow your business:

major-types-social-proof

  • From Customers – Comes from your existing customers and can appear in the form of testimonials and case studies.
  • By Experts – Social proof that comes from valid experts in your industry, and from experts that use your product.
  • Referrals from Friends – Friends encouraging other friends to purchase a product or sign up for a service.
  • Ratings and Reviews – Testimonials, experiences of previous customers and ratings.
  • Social Media Proof – Social media following, social media posts, social presence and engagement.
  • Certifications – Proof that comes from a trustworthy organization or source that certifies you as an expert in your industry.

Now that we know what the leading types of social proof are, it’s time to learn some quick steps that can build positive social proof for your company.

1. Use Your Customers’ Testimonials

customer testimonial

Customer testimonials are the most frequent type of social proof that companies use online. In fact, 84% of consumers say they trust recommendations online, making your satisfied customers the highest-ranked source for trustworthiness.

This is the main reason why smart brands use customer testimonials on their websites.

You can have different forms of customer reviews and testimonials on your website. But, you have to remember to display only the testimonials that are satisfied with your products. Your best bet is to use testimonial quotes. It is the most frequent form of customer testimonials. You can accompany them with the person’s picture or a “satisfied” rating system.

2. Appreciate Social Media Mentions

social-mention

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business or a big company, or whether you have tens of thousands of social media mentions. What matters is how you’re going to react to those mentions.

On the other hand, negative social mention gives you a chance to solve a problem. This shows empathy for the customers that have had issues with your company. Every comment on social media will not be complimentary. That is the reality of the consumer landscape online.

Even if you spend the entire day working, you must find time to check your personal and your brand’s social media profiles. It is called social media for a reason, so give your customers the attention that they have given you with their comments.

Accept every mention, like, comment. Appreciate the time that your customers spend on writing that comment, that letter and be thankful for it. A positive social mention from a satisfied customer provides you with the opportunity to appreciate those words and It will pay off in the long run by increasing the positive reputation of your venture.

Related: [Infographic] 10 Actionable Tips to Make Social Media Work for Your Brand

3. Use Case Studies

case-studies

Case studies are one of the more authoritative forms of social proof. Most often, they are used to enhance the authority in a given industry. It is the long-form proof that your potential customers will need as a more in-depth explanation rather than short blog posts.

At DevriX, we dedicated an entire section for Case Studies on our website where our most successful projects were spotlighted.

Case studies are part of our portfolio, where we showcase the projects that we’ve worked on, the solutions we’ve implemented for our clients, and how we’ve solved their problems.

With a case study, your company presents social proof that your service or product is what a potential client looks for and needs.

4. Media Coverage

Does your business get mentions from authoritative publications? We’re talking about magazines, product/service reviews, TV shows, and audio podcasts. If that’s the case, collect their logos and place them on your homepage. This is what they look like on the DevriX homepage:

media-coverage

Media coverage mentions can give your potential customers the much-needed approval from authority figures and publications in the industry.

5. Showcase Industry Certifications

professional certificates

Be proud of your company accomplishments. Present your industry certifications and recognition on your website. Accreditation organizations offer logos and badges that can be placed on your website. So, make sure that you list every important recognition on your website.

If you want to add more industry certifications, you will have to find the relevant training centers that can offer you schooling and preparation. To find, go to Google and search for:

[Industry] + Certification

You can start to include your venture’s recognition on your homepage, your sidebar, in your “About” page section to give your social proof an extra boost.

6. Share Your Milestones

An excellent way to generate a positive social proof for your company is to express gratitude for your milestones.

When you reach a milestone, it’s not a bad idea to celebrate it with your audience. This is an excellent occasion to thank your customers and supporters who’ve helped you achieve your accomplishment.

These are just a few of the many milestones that you can share with your audience:

sharing-milestones

  • Attaining a certain number of users
  • Reaching a big number of customers
  • The number of app/software downloads
  • The number of social media followers
  • Company anniversaries

7. Get More Referrals

get-referral

A referral from a friend is the best form of marketing and social proof. This is understandable, considering that friends are there to be trusted. But in order to use customer referrals, you have to encourage your customers to tell their friends about your business. Word of mouth has a powerful impact and influences people effectively.

If you want to get more referrals from satisfied customers, consider the following:

  • You product/service has to be impeccable. The product must be useful and valuable to your customers. If this is not true, no referral program will save your company.
  • Make the referral process simple. People don’t want to jump from sign up form to links just to tell their friends about you. Make it effortless for them to share their satisfaction with your brand.
  • Offer bonuses and discounts. Offer discounts for referring your product/service and bonuses if the customers and their friends buy together. This can skyrocket your customer base.

8. Spread the Love for Your Product

slack-love-twitter

Successful brands love it when they are given a positive shout-out on social media. It is the best possible customer feedback and an excellent way to generate positive social proof on your social media accounts. Basically, it is spreading the love that your customers have for your product/service.

Take Slack for example. They receive a large number of tweets from employees and companies that love using their product. To spread the love for their product, Slack created the @SlackLoveTweets account that retweets user shout-outs. You can also use your main social media accounts for this. Just use hashtags so your followers can easily filter the posts in a search.

Related: 10 Actionable Tips to Make Social Media Work for Your Brand

9. Leverage Integration Partnerships

Perhaps your product or service is integrated with other third-party services. If that’s the case, then you can use this partnership for your business by adding the logo of your integration partner(s). This will set your product/service in the presence of trustworthy and well-known brands.

By leveraging integration partnerships, you’re borrowing from their social integrity and adding to your social proof in the process.

10. The Size of Your Customer Base

Mentioning your vast customer base in your social media bios is an excellent example of smart social proof. When your potential customers see the number of people that use your product, they will have a positive impression about your business and jump on board too.

11. Number of Social Shares

When users like or share your content on their social media profiles, they become your representatives. And their social media posts act as the perfect social proof for your company. Their connections and followers will look positively on your venture and your blog posts will get more engagement and traffic as a result.

That’s why you need to inspire social media sharing on your website. Showing the number of social shares within the blog post is another clever form of social proof. People that come to your website are more likely to read the blog post and share it if they see a big number of social shares.

12. Inspire Facebook Five-Star Rating

Good Facebook page ratings and reviews are an excellent form of social proof. They can increase your Facebook conversions. Enabling ratings and reviews allows consumers to leave feedback about your business and your products. A Facebook user can leave either a star rating, a written review, or both.

facebook-five-star-rating

With this rating system, Facebook users can grade your company from 1 to 5, and your average score will be displayed on your Facebook page. With that being said, encouraging your fans to leave good ratings on your Facebook page can be a big boost for your business.

Here are few pointers how to get more positive Facebook page reviews:

  • Asking People in Person – If you run a shop after your customers purchase a product, kindly ask them to leave a positive review on your Facebook page if they’re satisfied with your business or product.
  • Reach out to Repeat Customers – If customers keep coming back, it means that they are happy with your products and service. This is an excellent opportunity to ask for a positive Facebook review.
  • Hold a Contest – Create a contest. Promote the contest and reward fans with a discount for leaving a good rating on your Facebook page and sharing with a friend. This is probably the fastest way to obtain a large number of Facebook reviews.
  • Highlight Customers That Leave a Review – When you see a 5-star review and comment on your Facebook page, comment back in gratitude. Show your customers that you appreciate them and you’ll earn their loyalty in return.

13. Use Customer Success Stories

customer-success-story

The successful use of a product can be the dream content of every marketing professional. A well composed and well-placed customer success story can provide lots of value about your product to your target audience. The main reason for the effectiveness of customer success stories as a social proof lies in the journey of solving a customer’s problem and presenting it to the audience.

Related: Surefire Benefits of Storytelling in Digital Marketing

There are a handful of ways that you can present your customer’s success story:

  • Text format – This is the most conventional form of a success story. You can create it by writing a detailed article or a case study, describing how the customer implemented your product as a solution to his/her problem.
  • Videos – According to a Cisco study, video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021. That’s why it’s not a surprise if you catch up with the trend and create video testimonials with your customers. Professionally made attention-grabbing video content has the power to be imprinted in the human mind.
  • Interviews – A fairly common way of displaying customer success stories is the interview. This can be done either via video or written content. With the interview, you can directly display your customer’s words to your target audience, and this can be extremely persuasive to prospective buyers.

14. Hosting a Twitter Chat

Another form of smart social proof is to become a trending topic on Twitter. Twitter chats are an excellent way to boost your brand’s marketing and to build awareness & engagement with your audience.

twitter-chat

A Twitter chat is an open conversation between your account and the audience by using a proper hashtag (ex. #businesschat, #blogchat, #brandchat, etc.).

A successful and recurring chat on Twitter can help you reach out to your ongoing as well as brand new followers. This can result in an unlimited number of potential leads for your company.

You can use the chat’s answers and questions to create future content on your website that can further enhance your social proof with the audience.

The more value you offer in your Twitter chat, the more your audience will participate in every new session. Just look at how Buffer applies this to bring more awareness to their product:

buffer-chat-twitter

Wrapping up

With this, you’ve probably seen that social proof can be achieved by using many different methods of delivery. We hope that the ideas above will help you to build your own social proof for your growing business and inspire you with ideas on how to generate even more social trustworthiness.

Even if you do social proof successfully, remember that you’ll still have to work really hard to maintain your success and the reputation of your company.

Keep in mind, when building social proof and engagement for your business, you need to think about the quality of your products first. If the products are social-proof-worthy, you will have no troubles spreading the word about your venture.

So, take action and try out the tactics above for yourself. Pick the type of social proof that works the best for your business. Stay laser-focused until you reach social growth. Before you know it, your business will be flooded with conversions, social proof, and more sales.

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