I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the term “Social Proof”. In recent times, when someone talks about Social Proof, a lot a people make the mistake of thinking it’s about social media. And although it is related, it’s only a small part of the real meaning and application of social proof.
So, what is social proof?
Basically, social proof refers to the psychological response to social influence. Back in 1935 research was made to prove how the expressed point of view of one person influenced the point of view of another person. So for example, if a group of people said that X brand of coffee was good, you would tend to agree because of the opinion expressed by others. This also has to do with the one person looking up scenario.
And what does that have to do with my business?
Absolutely everything! Social Influence is something embedded into everyone’s psyche, including your customers. So it doesn’t matter what your business is about, if your customers are human, you can use Social Proof to your advantage. And it’s actually really simple. Here’s the basis of Social Proof… use the opinions of others to influence your future clients and make them take action confident that other people have trusted you before.
Ok, I get it now. But, how can I do that?
As I said before, it’s really easy. Here are 4 simple strategies you can start with:
Testimonials are one of the most effective forms of Social Proof. When people go to your website and read testimonials from other people who have already worked with you, they feel more inclined or influenced to trust you. And if those testimonials come in the form of video testimonials, the effect is even more powerful!
2.- Featured Clients.
If you offer products or services to other businesses, it’s a good idea to do a showcase of your featured clients, especially those that are well know in your industry. If you show you’ve worked with well know companies, that will greatly influence others to trust you.
3.- Case Studies
Case studies go a long way further than testimonials. They not only show that others have trusted you, but they also show what you’ve done for them and the results you’ve provided. This is invaluable to earn the trust of future clients.
4.- Social Networking
As I said in the beginning, although is not entirely about that, you can take advantage of Social Proof using Social Networking. Word of mouth is probably the single most effective marketing strategy out there, and also one of the least expensive. When you, as a business, actively participate in social networks, you are putting your brand in front of the public. And by the way most popular social networks, like Facebook, are designed to work, the reach of your influence is amplified by each person who connects with you. So for example, if John Doe Likes you on Facebook, most of John Doe’s friends will see that he Likes you. Can you say Digital Word of Mouth? For your website visitors, social widgets like the Like, Tweet and Google +1 buttons work amazingly great because they give, at a first glance, a number count of people to whom you are connected.
So let’s recap. Social Proof is about influencing other people to trust you and your business, based on the fact that other people have trusted you before. I will say it again, it really is that simple!
Interesting! So what if…?
No, don’t even think about it. Even though you can cheat social proof by posting fake testimonials, publishing paid reviews or buying fake Likes, it will turn around and bite you in your behind. In this day in age it’s very easy to spot fakers and there are many ways to identify false numbers in social media. So if you do that, you will lose the influence you worked so hard for. It is much better to have one very good video testimonial, than 10 fake ones. You could buy 1000 Likes for $5, but how will your business look when your public Facebook stats show that most of your Likes come from Nigeria?
So in conclusion, take advantage of how the internet allows you to reach and influence others. Work on your website, use social media and keep it real. Social Proof will do the rest.