In psychology, social proof is a phenomenon that individuals conform to the attitudes and actions of the masses. This theory was proven by a simple experiment conducted by Solomon Asch. The famous psychologist invited college students to participate in the experiment and broke them up into several groups. Each group was given a simple line test, where members should tell which line from the right picture matched the line from the left picture. Only one person in each group was an innocent participant, while others were previously told to give a wrong answer. The results were shocking. Even though the question was simple, over 75% of innocent group members agreed with the wrong answer provided by other participants.
In marketing, social proof is not a new concept. Still, it gained greater popularity with the advent of digital marketing. The main goal of social proof marketing is to build trust with your target customers, increase brand awareness, trigger FOMO, and inspire people to convert faster. Above all, it helps you build a growing follower base and inspires brand loyalty.
There are many ways to use social proof to maximize conversions and below are some of them.
User-generated content is one of the most effective ways to grab users’ attention and build trust with them. Your prospective customers want to see your products used by your customers, in real-life situations.
That is exactly where encouraging user-generated content steps in, as it encourages 80% of customers to make purchasing decisions faster. UGC is basically any form of content that features your products and that is created by your customers. By letting customers tell your brand’s story through quality visual content, you will make your brand more credible and connect with prospective customers on a more personal level.
There are many ways to encourage UGC. For starters, create a dedicated brand hashtag and encourage users to use it continuously. Use social media monitoring tools to track brand and hashtag mentions and republish customers’ photos and videos of your products on your website and social channels. You can always host a massive photo contest, where your customers’ most creative photos of your product get valuable rewards.
Real-Time Customer Data
When purchasing from you, customers would be happy to know how many people are visiting your website, signing up for your free trial, or purchasing from you. This is where using a social proof tool can help. These tools will display the information about your recent leads and purchases in a catchy popup at the bottom of the page. The number of your customers during the last week or month will build trust with website visitors, evoke their fear of missing out (FOMO), and inspire them to convert faster. The good thing about the popups is that they are fully customizable. You can adapt your messaging, design, and tone of voice to address your audiences and trigger urgency.
Customer Reviews and Ratings
Many big eCommerce brands like Amazon show reviews for every product they sell. They have a good reason to do so. Today, 88% of customers trust online reviews and ratings as much as they trust their friends and families. Before buying from you, they will google you and look for your previous customers’ experiences.
To encourage customers to write reviews on your website, social networks, or business review platforms, you could incentivize them. When offered free trials, discounts, coupons, or freebies, they will be more likely to review your products and services.
Adding customer testimonials on your website, email newsletters, social networks, or landing pages promoting your special offers can significantly improve your online brand and conversions. Encourage your loyal customers to write a sentence or two about their experience with your brand. When showing testimonials, make sure you include a customer’s name, location, and photo. Customers tend to trust your claims more if you include relevant photos.
To take customer testimonials to the next level, you could also use video formats. Many big brands like HubSpot or Amazon use video content to tell their customers’ success stories and emphasize the benefits of their services.
While customer testimonials offer only snapshots of customers’ satisfaction and experiences with your brand, case studies are more comprehensive. They explain the problem a customer faced and how you helped them solve that problem. A quality case study explains what goals you set, what techniques you used, and what metrics and KPIs you used to help a customer. Above all, a case study should be supported by relevant statistics, customer testimonials, and numbers.
Influencer marketing remains one of the most powerful digital marketing practices. Studies found that more than 40% of customers have purchased a product after seeing that a social media influencer uses it. However, just because someone has tens of thousands of followers does not mean they will help you increase reach and conversions. Always choose an influential person in your industry – the one that shares your values and targets the same audiences. Above all, before contacting them, check their user engagement. Choose influencers that communicate with their fan base regularly and encourage their feedback.
Over to You
Social proof is the nerve center of your brand building process. It gives you the opportunity to build and nurture strong relationships with your audiences and inspire their loyalty in the long-run. Above all, it helps you position yourself as a leader in your niche and gain a competitive advantage. Of course, there is no uniform social proof marketing tactic to apply. Experiment with your techniques, channels, and messaging to find out what resonates with your audiences the best.