Social proof is a critical part of your sales process it isn’t just a sales gimmick. It is a social reality that human beings are significantly influenced by the decisions of others. We see what our friends or others are doing and make our decisions based largely on what we see their experience has been. Their actions validate our decision to take action and often make the difference between buying or not buying something.
To put it in a sales context, the potential buyer is considering their options and evaluating offers. Their mind is full of doubts especially if they have no real relationship with you or your business. They’re looking for reasons not to trust you or buy the product. Social proof helps them understand what your business offers from the point of view of another customer just like them. It’s part of any rational decision-making process.
Look at big marketplaces online Amazon or eBay for example, there is a lot of emphasis on the review, they are front and center when you look at a product there so making the buying decision becomes easier if you see personable reviews from others especially if they are recent ones.
Social Proof in the Digital Age
Social proof has always been essential in sales, but in the digital age, it has become more important than ever. All of us are glued to screens all day long and bombarded with marketing messages. We’re so used to getting spammed and shouted at by businesses that we largely tune it out.
As a result, people rely more than ever on what their friends, connections, and peers say. When considering buying a product, any savvy shopper will check online reviews and see what people are saying on social media. Therefore, it’s more important than ever for you to work social proof into your marketing plan and follow every sale with a ‘leave us a review' strategy
How to Use Social Proof in Your Marketing
Fortunately, it can be easy to take advantage of the power of social proof. Procuring and publishing social proof should be a key part of your digital marketing strategy.
Show potential buyers what other users think about your products and services. A great way to do this is through testimonials. When someone contacts you with positive feedback, telling you how happy they are with their purchase, ask if you can use it publicly. Online reviews and case studies are also great ways to demonstrate the value you offer to your customers. If buyers are comfortable enough to leave a video testimonial then that adds an extra level of credibility to the testimonial
In addition to your customer base, reach out to influencers, experts, and other industry leaders for an endorsement. People listen to what these influential individuals say, plus you can sometimes get access to their audience.
Another highly effective form of social media is referrals. Word of mouth is more powerful than any other marketing message. Encourage your customers to tell others about your business and offer them a reward for doing so. For example, if you get a new sign-up, give the referrer a discount. Set up a reward system for customer referrals. Affiliate partners are often a fantastic way of building a trusted network of referrers, this is a tried and tested method that means someone promotes or sells your service or product to a group of people they have a connection with, in return, they get a % of the sale.
Indirect Social Proof
Certificates and membership in organisations also work as a form of social proof. They show that a third-party organisation recognises your expertise and value. If you do speaking engagements and events, post about this on your website as well to show that you’re active in your industry.
Whatever method or combination you decide to implement for your business there is no getting away from the fact that putting time and effort into building social proof should be a high priority for your business. Now it's time to decide how you are going to do this for your business.