Social proof is another step in developing an effective relationship management strategy. Social proof is essentially third-party “proof” that your business or product is what it says it is; that you produce quality products or services, and that you do what you say you’ll do.
Social proof is important because, let’s face it, a new customer is far more likely to believe an existing customer when they say, “This is an awesome product!” than they are to believe the business itself when it says the exact same thing. Social proof is similar to word-of-mouth advertising in that it depends on the recommendations of existing customers to spread the word about the product or service.
Social proof helps consumers get to know your brand, company, or business. It’s instrumental in building consumer trust, which is why we consider it a critical component of relationship marketing.
So. What does social proof look like and how do you get it?
Examples of Social Proof
Think of social proof as a testimonial. The only thing is, there are many different kinds of testimonials these days. It’s not only about asking a customer to say something good about your business and putting it up in quotes on your website. Here are some examples of what social proof looks like and how you can use it.
- Customer Testimonials. Testimonials are tried and true; there’s no reason not to include them. Place them on your website homepage, on landing pages, or on product/service specific pages. Improve their credibility by including a photo, name, company, and job title for the customer.
- Case Studies. Case studies provide real-world examples of how your business helped a customer or solved a problem. They can be as long or short as you like just be sure to include the problem or need that brought the customer to you, what your company did to solve the need, and the end results. Case studies can be used in conjunction with testimonials – just link to the appropriate case study from the customer testimonial!
- Shares and Likes. Social Share and Like buttons are a very popular way for new customers to evaluate your business. Pages or content that is shared a lot provide greater credibility in the product or business than those that are not routinely shared. Shares mean people like what is on offer. Likes function in a similar way. Every social media site has share buttons that can be added to your content. Use them to build social proof.
- Embedded Social Posts. Social media sites are a treasure trove of social proof! Simply embed positive comments, tweets, images, and the like that customers have posted about your business onto your own business pages.
- Use Trust Seals. Trust seals are a must for e-commerce sites since they reassure visitors that sensitive data is securely handled by the site/business or that the business operates in a proper manner. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a good example as is Norton or McAfee. Industry awards or local business recognition are also good choices.
You don’t have to use all of these examples to gain some social proof. Mix and match. Do some A/B testing to see what works best with your audience or just start with what is easiest to obtain. The important thing is to use third-parties to provide social proof, not internal staff or business leaders.
Ready to get started building social proof? Contact The Marketing Shop for support!