What is Social Proof and how do you use it for Marketing?

Image courtesy of Sarah Reid/Flickr.

Using a marketing tactic called social proof is a great way to show off your reputation, tell potential customers that people are satisfied with your services and make more sales. But what exactly is social proof and how do you use it?

Social Proof Defined

Social proof is online content from your current customers that helps you promote your business. Sometimes this is organically created as customers are satisfied with a business and other times businesses create it as part of their marketing strategy.

Some common forms of social proof include:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Social Media Interactions
  • Online Reviews
  • Testimonials
  • Case Studies
  • Statistics about Sales and Customers

The purpose of using social proof is to show your market or potential customers that others are happy with your services. People are often more likely to listen to people like them rather than marketing or sales material.

What’s the Big Deal about Social Proof?

There’s enormous power behind social proof. According to KISSmetrics:

  • More than 70 percent of American consumers read reviews before buying a product.
  • Almost 63 percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy something on a website if it has product ratings and reviews.

These statistics alone show how much user reviews can influence potential customers.

But, social proof can do more than that. It can help you build a reputation as a business with satisfied customers. When your online presence proves to your market that you provide top-quality services and are invested in making sure your customers are satisfied, you’ll reap big benefits.

This kind of reputation and presence can help you grow your business and even make more sales. Social proof is all about showing people what you can do for your customers so people will want to work with you.

How you can Start Using Social Proof

To start using social proof at your business, decide on a few tactics to use. Look at the above list and decide whether online reviews or case studies, or any of the other forms of social proof, would be best suited to your business.

Then, decide how to illustrate that social proof and disseminate it to your market. For example, statistics about your sales and customers could be organised on an infographic you will share through social media.

Case studies could be posted on your website, emailed to your subscribers and shared on social media. Online reviews could also be posted on your site, or you may want to link to third-party review sites. Testimonials could be used in blog posts, videos or just short snippets of text on your website.

You can also leverage organic social proof by interacting with your customers on social media and your blog so that others can see that you value their input and thank them for their compliments. Interaction also shows your market that you are active in listening to your customers and provide excellent customer service.

There are so many ways you can use social proof, so the trick is to decide what kind of information would be most persuasive to your market and then finding the right way to use it.