Social proof is a cornerstone for digital marketing. Consumers want to know (from other sources) if your product/service is legit. And knowing how to use it to your advantage is essential, that’s why we wanted to share the 4 most important types of social proof.
First things first – what is social proof? Basically, it’s the influence and actions of those around us. When applied to digital marketing it gives credence to your business. Continue reading to learn about the 4 important types of social proof that can help your business.
1. Reviews & Testimonials
Chances are before you purchase something you see online, you look at their reviews or testimonials. Reviews and testimonials are social proof that influences your opinion of a business based on other customers.
According to a survey done by Invesp (image below), 88% of consumers place their trust in online reviews just as much as they would a recommendation from someone they know personally. Additionally, 90% of consumers are reading online reviews before visiting a business.
If you’ve ever shopped on Wayfair or Amazon, you’ve probably checked out their star ratings and customer photos, right? Personally, I won’t buy anything from Wayfair unless I can see reviews where the customers have uploaded images of the product in their homes. It’s incredibly helpful because it gives a true representation of the product. Similarly, Rent The Runway offers a feature that allowers customers to leave reviews, list the size of the garment they rented, and upload a photo of it if they choose. Again, a very helpful tool so you can find reviewers who match your body type to see how the garment fits them before you rent it yourself.
[Source: Rent the Runway]
Similar to reviews, testimonials are a strong form of social proof. Many of us that work in the social media industry know how easy it is for a consumer to post a negative review about a product or service. To that end, the positive testimonials are proof that the consumer loved your business so much, that they took the time to praise it.
It’s easy to see how reviews and testimonials are important types of social proof that your business needs to pay attention to.
2. Awards & Case Studies
Awards and case studies are other great examples of important types of social proof. Both are influential to potential consumers because it’s solid proof that what you are offering is top-notch. If your business has won awards for certain achievements, then you need to put modesty aside and let consumers know why they should choose you.
As you can see from the image below, our friends at Sprout Social are top-rated! These images can be found on the home page of their website so any potential customers checking out what Sprout has to offer, know right away that they are leaders in their industry.
[Source: Sprout Social]
Case studies are another important social proof that exhibits proof your service has worked for other clients/consumers. If a potential client is browsing your site and sees case studies that show how your services benefited another business, they will read that to see if it fits what they’re looking for. Solid proof (data and stats) is what a potential client wants to see.
B Squared Media has a dedicated page for case studies to show potential partners how we’ve been able to enrich their business needs. These studies provide data and testimonials to further prove our services do what we claim. You can view our case studies here.
[Source: B Squared Media]
3. Influencer & Celeb Seals Of Approval
In a sense, some influencers have become a bit of a celebrity themselves. It all comes down to your business. What kind of influencer works best for you? Micro or macro? Influencers and celebrities are important to sway many of your potential customers.
This article from Top delves into the definition and importance of influencer marketing. Would you trust an influencer and their #ad, or a celebrity? Truthfully, it’s all in the presentation and sincerity, don’t you think? That’s why it’s vital to choose the right influencer or celebrity for your business. It’s not just about who’s the most popular. They need to be sincere about what you’re selling, not just there to collect a paycheck.
But in the end, influencers and celebrities are strong forms of social proof because they do just that – influence!
4. User Generated Content
Finally, the last of our 4 important types of social proofs is UGC (user generated content). UGC is the ultimate stamp of approval from the customers themselves. Even better than reviews because the business has control over what they want to reshare (unlike negative reviews). And more trustworthy than testimonials because they weren’t prompted by the business to share.
For example, a business that makes a product will be tagged on Instagram in posts and stories from customers who are proudly showing what they’ve created with that product. The business can then ask their permission to reshare it on their own social media page, which potential customers will then see. We’re big proponents of UGC for a few reasons, which you can read here.
As you can see, the 4 important types of social proof can help influence your potential consumers. If you’re not already giving space to reviews and testimonials, that’s a great place to start. The vast majority of consumers read reviews online before ever interacting with a business or making a purchase online.
And when it comes to recognition – get those awards and credentials up on your site if they aren’t already! Consumers shouldn’t have to do in-depth research to see how your business ranks within the industry. While we’re at it, be sure to present them with easily accessible testimonials and case studies.
Finally, if you have customers who share how your business has helped them, ask them if you can reshare. UGC is free and a great way to thank customers while promoting your product/service!
What form of social proof will help your business the most? Let us know in the comments below!