4 Ways Social Proof Can Accelerate Your Online Business

Social media is currently the number one activity on the internet, but it’s much more than just a time-waster or personal connection with family and friends. When used properly, it’s an incredible tool for connecting businesses with their target audiences. There are dozens of ways that social media can be used to augment an online platform, and social proof is one of the most powerful.

“Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon that every savvy marketer and business are taking hold of,” explains Arash Asli of the free appointment booking website Yocale. “Social proof is the idea that people will change their behavior based on the assumption that the behavior is correct…. There are several different types of social proof….There’s expert social proof (for example, an industry expert recommends a product, which causes more people to buy it), user social proof (i.e. proof from customers), friends/family social proof and even celebrity social proof.”

Exploring the different kinds of social proof and using them to your advantage will yield many benefits for your business. If you can convince customers that you’re an excellent company, you won’t have trouble getting new customers. For best results, try some of these powerful methods for establishing your success.

1. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing is one of the most useful forms of social proof. According to a Neilsen study, when a person shares or discusses a brand on social media, there’s a strong link to purchasing behavior. Additionally, 80 percent of American shoppers seek recommendations and reviews from others before they make a purchase.

One of the best ways to offer social proof is through positive testimonials. According to research from Visual Website Optimizer, customer testimonials have the ability to increase conversions by up to 34 percent. Specific, detailed testimonials from satisfied customers are best for outlining your success to other customers.

2. Influential Endorsements

Everyone wants influencers behind their marketing efforts. If you’re paying attention and have a well-structured company, your influencers will find you and do much of the marketing work, mentioning your name on social media, using it in books, endorsing your product on television, and more.

“The more relevant and influential the endorser, the more powerful the social proof,” wrote Andy Crestodina from Unbounce. “If your business has ever received a compliment from a well-known person who is respected by your audience, go find it, and add it to your home page.”

The key to great influential endorsements is ensuring that your product or services will meet their needs. Then, you can market your efforts towards an influencer and hopefully, reap the benefits.

3. Pictures for Further Understanding

Social proof works undeniably better with images. When someone reads or hears information alone, they’ll remember just 10 percent of it three days later. However, if you add a relevant picture to that information, the person will retain 65 percent of it in the same amount of time.

The same principle applies in full force to your company brand. People might read a testimonial on your website during their research stage, but when it comes time to make the purchase later on, they’ll have a difficult time recalling it.

Adding images to testimonials, social posts, and advertisements can significantly increase understanding and remembrance of your products and services.

4. Maximize User-Generated Content

Testimonials on your website are just one form of user-generated content. There are dozens of ways that you can honor your customers and further your business through their comments and posts.

According to Buffer, sharing user-generated content on Instagram was their key to incredible growth. “In under six months since implementing a user-generated content campaign on Instagram, our account has grown by 500% – 4,250 to 21,000 followers and counting,” wrote Brian Peters on the Buffer blog.

He goes on to explain their strategy for maximizing such content for their gain: “The easiest way to think about user-generated content is this: brands taking the best-of-the-best user content from around the web and featuring it on their own social media or other platforms while giving credit to the original creator,” their blog explains. “By utilizing UGC, brands give real users the opportunity to tell real stories – something that may be inherently missing from brand generated content.”

Peters’ research concludes that 84 percent of millennials agree that user-generated content influences the way they buy something and 43 percent of all shoppers say that they’re more likely to purchase a product when they’ve heard about it on social channels or through their friends. Take this information to heart and devise a stronger user-generated content strategy for your business.

Conclusion: Let Your Authority Show

Whether you’re looking for influencers or more customers, establishing yourself as an authority figure in the industry is vital to a successful campaign. Customers should have as much confidence as you do in yourself.

Testimonials, endorsements, and other forms of social proof will do wonders for conveying your credibility. Don’t forget to mention the size of your customer base in social media bios, the number of countries you’re in, the ratings you’ve been given on Yelp, or the high-profile businesses you’ve served. Don’t think of it as being arrogant, but rather allowing your customers to celebrate with you in your successes.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.