Utilize Social Proof to Increase Engagement

The journey of social proof begins with envying Little Johnny’s new sneakers in first grade and seemingly never concludes. It’s the hidden ingredient powering every triumphant marketing campaign. Amidst our scrutiny of KPIs like engagement rate, net follower gain, and reach, we often overlook the pivotal driving force behind these metrics: Social proof. In essence, it propels individuals to engage, follow, or even notice your social media content in its initial stages. Even before you amass a significant follower count, you must cultivate an atmosphere that compels people to follow, engage, and eventually purchase from you. Social proof is the catalyst for creating such an environment. Below are some strategies to utilize social proof in your marketing endeavors, along with our expert recommendations for optimal outcomes.

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What is Social Proof?

Utilize Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon compelling individuals to observe others’ actions or opinions to shape their own behaviors or convictions—particularly in uncertain situations. It harnesses our inherent drive as social creatures to assimilate and establish connections with peers.

The phrase ‘social proof’ was initially coined by psychologist Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book “Influence,” wherein he delved into his extensive research exploring the interplay between human conduct and persuasion. So now we follow him, utilize social proof!

What’s the Function of It in Marketing?

In marketing, social proof induces individuals to engage with or buy from you.

Instances of social proof’s impact on marketing comprise:

  • Shoppers review online feedback before buying.
  • Viewing a business with a substantial/active social media following as more credible.
  • Feeling at ease using credit cards on sites using secure payment processors like Shopify or PayPal, or showcasing security badges.
  • Forming an immediate favorable impression of an unfamiliar company after seeing them featured on a beloved social media profile.

Example of Social Proof

1. Customer reviews

This is the most important if you want to utilize social proof. Among the most fundamental and crucial types of social proof are classic customer reviews and testimonials. Brands emphasizing content from satisfied clients yield an average 17.4% higher conversion rate than those neglecting this practice, with specific categories enjoying even more elevated rates — instruments at 47.3%, electronics at 38%, and gifts at 32%.

While reviews should be prominently displayed on your website, don’t overlook their significance on social media platforms. Encourage feedback and then integrate it into a branded template for wider sharing.

2. Comparison websites

While reviews by actual customers hold immense sway, comparison and review sites also wield considerable influence. The choice of platforms depends on your industry. For instance, Capterra is prominent for software comparisons, while NerdWallet reviews financial products.

Certain comparison websites offer sponsored, paid posts, while others don’t. At minimum, identify relevant platforms for your industry and your target audience’s information sources. Strive to gain visibility on these platforms.

3. UGC content

User-generated content (UGC) is authentic content crafted by your customers. The simplicity of UGC’s power lies in its authenticity, setting it apart from conventional paid advertisements and influencer campaigns. Given that 76% of individuals employ social media to explore new products, UGC content significantly drives sales.

Prompting your audience to create UGC content, such as photos or videos with a designated hashtag, is an efficient strategy. Consider hosting contests to stimulate participation.

4. Awards

While modesty is key, showcasing accolades and noteworthy recognition significantly contributes to establishing trust with potential customers and existing leads.

5. Case studies

Imagine case studies as comprehensive customer reviews supported by data. A compelling case study should resonate with a segment of your target audience, demonstrate how your product/service resolves a business challenge, and showcase remarkable outcomes from your collaboration.

Although the core of a case study resides on your website, contemplate:

Transforming it into a video for your YouTube channel. (Extra perk: Conduct an interview with your client on camera, if feasible!) Segmenting the YouTube video into bite-sized portions suitable for TikTok or Reels. Extracting quotes for graphics or carousel posts on social media.

6. Customer results

Utilize social proof means you have to use customer results. Besides customer testimonials and case studies, another method of validating your outcomes is by leveraging solid data to convey the advantages of engaging with you or making a purchase.

Universities commonly employ this approach to attract potential students, spotlighting the impressive career paths their alumni embark on or the percentage of graduates securing employment in their chosen fields post-graduation.

How do you acquire this data? Engage with your customers.

Conduct surveys, gather insights from one-on-one interactions, and harness data from current case studies or other sources.

7. Statistics and data

Which of the following sounds more impactful:

A. “We accelerate accounting processes for small business owners.”

B. “We empower 100,000+ small business owners to save 10 hours/week on accounting.”

You probably picked B, right? When encountering the second statement, you instinctively deduce a few things: The company must possess some degree of excellence to have 100k clients, its sustainability is relatively secure, and the prospect of saving 10 hours a week with their product or service seems incredible.

The beauty is, you already possess such data. Whether your clientele is extensive or moderate, accessing your invoicing software (or consulting Bill in Accounting) yields the count of customers served. As for calculating the hours saved for clients, execute a few in-house experiments comparing manual task durations versus those accomplished using your offering. Presto, you have your statistic.

8. Endorsements

Do you boast celebrity connections? Just kidding. However, perhaps a notable individual once commented on your product during an interview or podcast. Capitalize on it!

Endorsements embody authentic, unpaid endorsements of your brand. These shouldn’t be confused with influencer marketing, which entails paid collaborations.

Ensure to seek permission from the individual to employ their quote and/or likeness in your promotional materials. Although their statement might have been made “publicly,” seeking consent before incorporating it into your business’s promotion is courteous.

This strategy is particularly viable with physical products, enabling you to send samples to noteworthy figures in your field, or even to celebrities.

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