Social proof is the practice of using third-party authority and comments to bolster trust between a company and its potential customers. It is not a new concept and has been used in marketing since advertising began. Yet eCommerce and the digital arena have transformed how it can take place, making it a more powerful tool.
A recent survey stated that 93.4% of leads will turn to customer reviews when buying a product they are not familiar with. Furthermore, 66% of them will buy a product online because of positive comments. If you can manage to leverage this for your fledgling business or startup, you can reap huge rewards.
Social Proof in Action
Social proof can fall into six different categories. By addressing several of these at once, you can leverage people’s power to increase conversions and sales.
Expert – When an expert in the industry or field back up startup credentials.
Celebrity – An endorsement by a famous person or influencer.
Crowd – When large groups of people endorse a product, usually through social follows.
User – When individuals recommend and review products.
Certification – Approval by a designated body or authoritative figure.
A great example of this resides in the website for Mr Green online casino. Upon entering the site, customer reviews are one of the first items that appear, showcasing comments from real people and giving ratings out of five stars. Below, they have backed this up with a series of quickfire graphics stating gaming awards they have won. Even before the visitor gets to what the company does, they have had both users, experts, and certification forms of social proof to showcase their product.
How to Gain Social Proof
As a startup, you may find it hard to get social proof naturally. That is why you have to put a little more effort into getting it than established businesses may.
One of the best places to start is with expert proof. If you have worked with people to develop a product, then reach out and ask them for comments you can use on your website and social channels.
After this, try to seek certification. Every industry will have bodies you can sign up to. Do some research, put your company forward for certifications, and nominate your company for awards. Not only is this social proof for your site, but you will benefit from the advertising of the awarding bodies involved.
By this point, you should be starting to get social followers. Encourage them to leave product reviews and comments. You can even introduce special offers and referral schemes to increase your presence.
Where Should I Use Social Proof?
Social proof is most effective when spread across a wide number of channels. Don’t open a whole webpage dedicated to your customer feedback, but use small quotes and reviews dotted around the website itself.
You can also use this method socially. Add a weekly social proof post to your content calendar, saying when you have been recognized by other media outlets or pulling out specific customer comments. By providing a slow and steady drip, you will gradually build trust and long-term retention with your followers that you just need to turn into conversions.