Looking to build social proof? You’re in the right place. Do you know human beings are from a young age wired to follow the actions of others? When a child sees another child playing with a toy, he or she automatically wants it.
When teenagers see their favorite celebrities wearing expensive designer shoes, they immediately start obsessing about them, regardless of the price tag. The psychological effect of social proof is undeniable.
Beats by Dre, the headphones company, gained its early market using this very approach. Their headphones would often be featured in music videos, and celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Lady Gaga could be seen wearing them. Within a short time, the company gained some serious mainstream popularity and everyone wanted a pair of their highly coveted headphones.
A lot of marketers are ditching the traditional marketing approaches and opting to use strategies that leverage social proof. It’s the reason why influencer marketing is now growing at a faster rate than digital ads.
The internet has amplified our reliance on social proof when making purchase decisions. Studies show that around 67% of people are influenced by reviews when buying things online.
This article will go over 7 ways to build social proof and get people talking about your business.
7 simple ways to build social proof
1. Reviews are king
Did you know that up to 85% of people search for products and services online? Could you guess what the first things are that catch their eye?
They simply want to know what other people are saying before they can commit their money. Reviews are fundamental in this digital era because they give consumers assurance that a product or service is worthwhile.
Take some time to come up with a strategy on how to collect ratings and reviews for your business. In many cases, all you have to do is politely ask for them from your customers. If they were pleased with your services, then chances are that they’ll not mind doing it.
If you have a physical shop, you can set up a Google My Business page. Every time people visit the shop, Google will automatically request them to submit a rating and review.
You can also set up business pages on listing platforms and directories that allow reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more your business will stand out and appear credible.
2. Get featured on popular publications
When you are featured on popular blogs, magazines, and newspapers, you naturally gain more authority in the eyes of consumers. The fact that an established platform has published content about you makes you seem like the real deal. There’ll be no doubting your credibility.
A lot of blogs and news sites are always on the lookout for stories to cover. If your business has a unique selling proposition or an inspiring story to tell, then they might agree to cover it. All you need to do is reach out to platforms that you’ve seen covering other businesses similar to yours.
You can also sign up on websites such as Help a Reporter Out to find interview opportunities where you get to share your expert opinion on various things related to your industry. A lot of media outlets such as TIME Magazine and Mashable use such sites to find stories to publish.
Ideally, whenever your prospective customers Google your name, one of the first things they should come across are your interviews and featured articles. That increases your credibility and social proof tenfold.
3. Run monthly contests
Contests are a great way of getting publicity by having other people do the heavy-lifting promoting your business to their followers.
The contest can take many different formats, there’s not one set way of doing it. For example, if you have a Twitter page that has a decent following, you can have your followers share a post from your page or use your hashtag to enter the draw to win something.
The more times the post gets shared, the more awareness it will drive your way. If just 5 people with around 1,000 followers share it, then it would be seen by a possible 5,000 people who may never have heard of you before. Now imagine if you can get hundreds of people to share that same post. Be generous with your giveaways to encourage more people to participate.
In addition to getting people to talk about your business, social media contests are also a great way of driving sales. Studies have shown that up to 76% of social media users have bought things that they saw other people post about.
4. Start a referral program
Referral marketing entails getting affiliates to promote your business, and then paying them a small commission for any sales that they drive. It’s a tactic that’s commonly used by companies in the digital space, but any business can easily fit it into its plans.
Similar to social media contests, a referral program is also an effective way of getting other people to actively promote your business inside their social circles. That gives you invaluable social proof.
Affiliates are usually not employees and are therefore not subject to receiving monthly salaries or any other benefits that a full-time employee would get. That reduces the risks on your side because you’d only be paying them for the sales they generate.
You can get people to sign up to your referral program by simply offering attractive commission rates and bonuses, and then running a paid ads campaign on social media to drive awareness to it.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is quickly becoming the go-to approach for so many companies around the world. According to this article on Forbes, it is growing at a faster rate than digital ads. A lot of people trust the opinions of other people who they look up to. That’s social proof in full effect.
You can find influencers to work with on platforms such as GRIN or Mavrck. Valued Voice is another great influencers hub where you can find affordable influencers and can also become one yourself and earn for publishing blogs, sharing contents on social media and do a whole lot of other fun stuff and earn while at it. Make sure to only work with the ones who are a good fit for your company. Their followers have to consist of people who would see value in your products or services.
For example, if you have a tech company, then you’ll want to work with influencers who are in the tech space. If you have a restaurant, then you’ll want to work with local influencers whose following is mostly based where your restaurant is located. That’s how you get the best ROI.
Most influencers will require a payment to promote your products, however, some would be happy to review you in exchange for free samples of your products.
6. Cross promotions
Doing cross promotions is a great way of marketing a small business by leveraging the power of mutual referrals. All you need to do is to partner with another business that’s not a direct competitor but targets similar customers like you, and simply promote each other to your respective audiences.
For example, if you have a shop that sells sports equipment, you can partner with local sports clubs and event organizers. You’re not in direct competition with each other but have similar target customers.
Now all you have to do is actively promote each other across your various marketing channels. Whenever the organizer has a sports event coming up, you can help drive attention to it on your social media pages, and they can refer to you people who need to buy equipment.
The more credible and established your partners are, the more value you gain from their referrals. It’s a very simple strategy, but it works like a charm.
7. Host free webinars
Webinars are one of the most underrated ways of generating publicity on the internet. You can host them every month (or quarter) on various topics related to your industry.
For example, if you are a marketing consultant, you can host a webinar on “10 ways to double sales using social media” – a topic that would be of interest to a lot of business owners, your main targets.
As long as your topics intriguing, then you’re very likely to get people interested. To make the event more marketable, you can also invite other authority figures to come on as guest speakers.
Make sure to start promoting the webinar weeks in advance to give people ample time to plan to attend. You can send out email invitations and do a social media campaign to help drive awareness. The goal is simply to get as many live viewers as possible. The more the attendees, the better the look for you. Social proof 101.
Once the webinar is complete, you can break down the video and use it as content for your social media pages and YouTube channel. That gives it a longer lifespan on the internet. Every time people come across your videos as the host of a webinar, they will subconsciously value you higher.
That’s how you build social proof, increase your credibility, and get people to notice your business.
Got value from here? Share your thoughts with me and other strategies you applied to build social proof for your startup.