Social proof — a psychological phenomenon that you probably have experienced yourself. Robert Cialdini first coined the term in his work “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” Social proof occurs when individuals subconsciously observe the actions of others to determine their own behavior. For example, if you’re trying to decide on a restaurant for dinner, it’s highly likely that you’ll choose a place with many patrons as opposed to an empty one. 

Social proof occurs with online purchases, too. Consumers often seek out social proof through online reviews, testimonials, and case studies before making a purchase. In 2020, A local consumer review survey revealed that 87% of consumers read online reviews before making purchasing decisions. 

There are several types of social proof that go beyond customer reviews, too. When deciding what is in your company’s best interest, consider the following:

  • Experts in your industry (such as a recommendation from a big brand)
  • Celebrity endorsements (can include influencers)
  • Crowds: What the power of numbers, like the number of people following your company on social media, can do for your business.
  • Friends: Interest can turn into a purchase when people see that their friends like your product.
  • Certifications: Credible awards, accolades, or approval from authoritative figures or companies generate social proof.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to gather all kinds of social proof to increase your sales and the customer approvals of your product. 

The Benefits of Social Proof

Social proof inspires potential customers to make purchases, but it can also offer your brand several other benefits.

It Deepens Trust

There are many product options available now, and building brand trust usually enhances customer loyalty. Yet, business owners still have work to do at winning customer trust as only 34% of consumers are confident in the brands they use. Demonstrating social proof shows consumers that they can trust your brand to provide exceptional products, services, and customer experiences. When your product has gained trust, customers are more likely to turn to your brand first when making a purchasing decision. Customers may even step up to advocate or defend your brand’s reputation when necessary.  

It Builds Brand Awareness 

Brand awareness is a consumer’s ability to recognize a brand, and it’s vital to your company because 71% of consumers are more likely to make purchases based on brand recognition. Whether your company is new or has been around for years, gathering social proof through reviews, testimonials, and social media mentions can get people talking about your business and put (or keep) your name on the map. 

It Establishes Authority and Credibility 

Social proof can help establish your brand as an authoritative figure in your industry. Consumers do not want to buy from brands in which they have doubts. While customer reviews can show people that your products are suitable for anyone, customers may want to know if your product is credible on a larger scale, too. Expert, celebrity, and certified social proof come in handy when you are looking to give reasons for customers to believe in your brand. 

How To Get Social Proof

At this point, you may be wondering how you can get social proof. Fortunately, you have quite a few options. 

Expert Social Proof: Do a Social Media Takeover

You will see a boost in brand awareness and sales when you get industry experts involved to leverage your social media. For instance, they can practice “social media takeover” and use your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for one day to market your brand and its products. They can post pictures, host live videos, or write up posts throughout the day based on agreed parameters set beforehand. Not only will this give your audience a new perspective on your brand, but you will also be exposed to the expert’s audience. 

Customer Social Proof: Write Up Case Studies

Case studies allow you to work with an important asset of your brand — your satisfied customers. You can reach out to current customers with whom you’ve enjoyed success and ask if they’re interested in sharing a testimonial. In addition, you can ask questions that business’s and product’s effectiveness:

  • Was the customer experiencing any pain points prior to working with your business?
  • Did the customer consider any solutions to solve these challenges?
  • What made the customer interested in working with your brand?
  • Which of your products did the customer use to overcome roadblocks?
  • How was the customer’s overall experience in working with you?
  • Has there been any additional impact for the customer when using your products?

You can write an article or blog detailing the customer’s journey and showcase it on your website. This way, potential customers will see firsthand how your brand has made a difference for others, and it gives them an idea of how you can make a difference for them, too. 

Influencer Social Proof: Collaborate with Micro-influencers

Influencers are people who have followings on social media and are viewed as reliable figures in their field. There are different levels of influencers, including celebrities with millions of followers or micro-influencers, which can have anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 followers. Though micro-influencers have a smaller number of followers, they tend to have a more significant impact on their audience as they are more accessible and have higher engagement levels. (A celebrity usually isn’t a person who can have consistent, meaningful interactions with 100 million followers.) 

You can build powerful social proof by taking part in micro-influencer marketing, where micro-influencers post about your products to their audience. Even better, you can find micro-influencers in just about every field, including fashion, beauty, travel, health, and lifestyle. A popular way to work with influencers is through affiliate marketing, where influencers get rewarded every time they bring you a new customer. You can set up an affiliate program that lets you find, reward, and monitor influencers as they social proof your brand. .

Friends Social Proof: Advertise on Facebook

Have you ever scrolled through Facebook and come upon an ad with a caption showing which of your friends liked the advertised company, product, or service? This is “friends social proof” in action. If a Facebook user sees one of their friends approving your product, that person is more likely to hop on board, too. Advertise your product using Facebook ads to get this kind of social proof. The program gives you the option to show users which one of their friends liked your page, therefore doing the work for you. 

Crowd Social Proof: Highlight Your Numbers 

People love a crowd, and luckily, “crowd social proof” is one of the easiest to obtain. To reflect the popularity of your brand, you can highlight impressive stats and numbers:

  • The number of followers you have on your social media pages
  • The number of likes, shares, or favorites gathered on your social media pages
  • The number of customers you’ve served
  • Your average star rating from customers

You can show these numbers on your website or social media pages as a quick and easy crowd social proof. 

Certifications Social Proof: Display Accolades and Mentions 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to show off your achievements and awards. Display them directly on your homepage to show potential consumers that you are credible and authoritative. If you don’t have any awards, display mentions you have received from experts and other companies that have recognized the work you do. If you’ve contributed to another site through guest blogging, link to that too. It demonstrates your collaborative social proof and gives other brands a shout-out as well. 

How To Get the Ball Rolling 

There are many ways to begin social proof gathering so you can start seeing results. The first step is to simply ask for it, which is especially true when it comes to gathering customer reviews and testimonials. For example, every time a customer makes a purchase, you can send a follow-up email asking for a review or a rating, which you can then feature across your website and social media pages.

Once you’ve started to receive reviews, case studies, testimonials, and user content, you can leverage the material on your website, email marketing, social media pages, or a combination of all three. You can set up a schedule for how often you’ll share your social proof. Consider using online resources and tools, such as affiliate marketing, to ensure you meet your goals. 

Reap the Benefits of Social Proof

Social proof is a must in the online world to build brand awareness, deepen customer trust, and establish your credibility among competitors. There are a lot of different ways you can get social proof, with each option offering its own set of benefits. Whichever social proof you decide is right for your business, you’ll want to make sure it’s helping you achieve business growth. LeadDyno can help you establish an affiliate program to begin building social proof while monitoring your progress. Start seeing how you can make the most of social proof. Contact LeadDyno today and see why they are an industry leader in affiliate tracking technology and affiliate program management.