Today’s consumers research their purchases online, often using online reviews to validate their buying decisions. An impactful way to build trust with your audience and increase sales is through the use of social proof. It is when people validate their decisions based on the recommendations and experiences of others. Put simply, they use others’ experiences as proof of what they can also expect from your products or services. Leveraging the power of social proof can help you increase conversions and build long-lasting relationships with your customers.
What is Social Proof and Why Is It Important?
In the context of digital marketing, social proof is a method of showcasing other customers’ positive experiences with your brand. This can be done with testimonials, product reviews, or case studies, among others. The most appropriate strategy will depend on your industry. For industries such as real estate, technology or SaaS, case studies or analytics-driven content may be the best option. For industries such as retail or personal care, product reviews or customer testimonials may be most effective.
Social proof is important because it helps you build credibility and brand awareness. Positive social proof gives potential customers encouragement to consider investing in your product or service. It also highlights your brand’s expertise in your niche, and highlights that you can deliver a positive customer experience. A consumer study conducted by BrightLocal found that 85% of respondents trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Types of Social Proof
A case study is a detailed analysis of a particular situation that describes its outcome. Case studies make good social proof because they are based on actual experiences and real-life situations, making them relatable to your audience. A well-written case study will outline how your product or service addressed and solved your customer’s pain points. Case studies can be used to show your expertise and competence in handling the common challenges your customers face. By highlighting statistics about improvements or solutions, you can show your customers why they should buy from you by proving you have helped others in their situation.
A testimonial is a statement provided by one of your customers that endorses your product or service. Testimonials are a great example of social proof because they come from real customers who have no vested interest in promoting your brand. As a result, they are seen as being a trustworthy and genuine account of your benefits. Testimonials are an especially great choice of social proof if your business is service-based, because hearing about another customer’s positive experience encourages customers to work with you.
Product reviews are written by your customers and detail their thoughts and experiences with your products. Often product reviews include a list of features that the customer liked, as well as how closely the product met their expectations. The majority of customers base their e-commerce purchases on whether or not the product has good reviews. This type of social proof is often the defining factor in whether a customer chooses your product over a competitor’s. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘5 star rating’ and this is what you should aim to highlight as a product-based business.
Data and Analytics
Data and analytics are a powerful form of social proof, especially in the software or insurance industries. They are usually expressed in the form of statistics, for example, “Our software increases ROI by 30%.” Many large companies will decide whether to purchase a new product or service based on the statistical analysis of how it can benefit their bottom line. Data and analytics can often go hand-in-hand with case studies, as the data can be extrapolated from the outcome of the case study.
Strategies for Maximizing Your Social Proof
Tell a Story with Social Proof
Creating a compelling story around how your product can solve your customer’s pain points is best done through storytelling. Sharing a relatable account of how your brand addressed a previous customer’s problem is a great way to walk a new potential customer through why they should buy from you. Storytelling can be incorporated into any type of social proof, but the basic format should include how your product or service got the customer from problem to solution.
Test Different Placements on Your Website
To optimize the best use of your social proof, test different placements on your website. Consider the user’s buyer journey and where social proof would be most effective. Put yourself in their shoes to determine which steps of the buyer journey require the most encouragement. You can also use several types of social proof in different ways. A testimonial may be what drives brand awareness, while a product review is what increases sales. Each type provides its own unique benefits.
Humanize Your Marketing
Social proof is a great way to humanize your marketing efforts. It puts a face to a name by showing the individuals that your product or service has helped. It is much more relatable when it includes the names or photos of actual customers. This also helps to build credibility by showing that you have experience in the industry and that your product or service is appreciated by real customers. People are more likely to be influenced by the words and actions of others when they can identify with them or see them as similar to themselves.
Get Started on Incorporating Social Proof into Your Marketing
Incorporating social proof into marketing strategies is a powerful way to boost brand credibility, build trust with potential customers, and increase sales. If you’re looking for a marketing agency to look into your brand’s marketing strategy, contact us today. Nioma is a digital marketing agency that helps established and growing businesses achieve their marketing goals to scale their business.