The power of Social Proof

By Tania Shirgwin | Aug 19, 13 07:20 AM

How to combine the power of word-of-mouth with your online platforms.

I’m sure you already know that the humble word-of-mouth is your most powerful ally in business. But have you taken the time to combine the power of word-of-mouth with the potential mega-phone that’s your online platforms?

With the power of the internet at their fingertips, consumers can find out an immense amount of information without ever having to visit your business or speak to a salesperson.

And online social proof speeds up the word-of-mouth process. You’re not solely relying on your loving customers to pass on how great you are – it’s literally there for the world to see.

Social proof , which includes testimonials, star ratings, reviews, endorsements and even social engagement stats, is all about instilling confidence and trust in those who visit your website or other online platforms and providing additional proof that your claims are true.

Social proof really can mean the difference between high converting sales pages or poor performers.

How can you use social proof?

Social engagement numbers

What’s an easy way to show potential customers just how many loyal fans you have?

Making your numbers visible for subscribers, followers, fans, tweets, likes, and other social shares. (This works if the numbers are there – if they’re too low, people can think you’re not popular enough and it can negatively impact trust and confidence).

Social plug-ins

Facebook has plug-ins you can add to your website and blog content such as the Activity Feed, Recommendations and Likes to show visitors to your site images and/or names of people they know who have already interacted with your content.

Then there’s embedded tweets – if someone tweets something positive about your company, you can embed it on a relevant webpage to create more social proof.

Celebrity or expert endorsement

Getting approval or a positive review from an expert in your field or celebrity can definitely help your cause and drive more interested & engaged traffic to your online platforms.

And if it’s on your site – you instantly give your social proof a boost.

Media Mentions

Don’t forget about the more traditional form of social proof that is media mentions.

Keep your press room up-to-date and make it social so people can easily share the positive press you’ve received.

Testimonials

Without doubt, testimonials are still one of the most persuasive forms of social proof you can use. But you need to be careful how you use them.

  • Don’t fake it – whatever you do, don’t be tempted to write your own testimonials. It’s dishonest, and when you get found out, there goes all of your credibility.
  • Benefits are best – the best testimonials point out how your product has solved the problem for the customer. In other words, it talks about the benefits, not the features.
  • Put a face to the words – online testimonials work better with pictures because it increases trust. Just make sure you use high-quality pics where the person looks inviting & friendly.
  • Stories connect – interesting anecdotes, case studies or customer stories are relatable, persuasive and trustworthy, and stick in our minds more than stats and averages.
  • Video it – with online testimonials, you don’t have to be limited to words on a page. Why not test out video to see the impact on conversions.
  • Know your target market – if your testimonials or reviews are from people who don’t resonate with your target audience, they’re not going to convert. In short – people are influenced by those they perceive to be similar to them. So try to find a customer that truly represents what you believe is your ideal customer.

Social proof is only effective if it’s visible.

So that means it’s time for you to start leveraging your social proof wherever you can!

Make sure you’re including your testimonials and stats throughout your social media channels, website and blog, as well as in other marketing collateral and email marketing communications.


Tania Shirgwin is the Principal Consultant/Trainer at BizEez Communications. She is passionate about assisting restaurants, wineries, food producers and tourism operators with their digital marketing.

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