Social proof

What types of social proof are best for online sales?

We are in an era where finding new ways to prove to our customers that our products and services are the best can be difficult. We can shout about it until the cows come home; that’s marketing for you. On the other hand, if someone else who has been a customer says it, then it has much more credibility in the eyes of the prospect.

Social proof can be particular and a specific set of facts that lead one prospect to consider that something is proven may not necessarily reverberate with another. I’ve always said that using multiple channels of social proof through digital marketing will be one of the best things that you can do in your marketing mix.

User proof

Over three-quarters of consumers believe that content produced by real-life customers is more honest then genuine advertising from brands. It can be an extremely effective route to market; getting your existing customers to share their real experience using your product or service. Certainly much more effective than the generic photoshopped product shoot. User-generated content can be regurgitated from social on to e-mail and website as well. It’s important to get this type of content trending and create a mini community who are talking about your brand.

Peer proof

Naturally, we trust those who are closest to us. Obviously, this creates a fantastic opportunity to target individuals for word of mouth recommendations.  The likes of Uber, GiffGaff and Domino’s have all incorporated successful campaigns where customers have to pass on to peers their great experience. Often using incentives including tags, hashtags and either photos or videos for proof.  This gives an exponential growth of awareness throughout networks once widely shared on social networks.

Celebrity proof

Sending products to celebrities and social influencers alike can be pivotal for your brand once shots are posted online and your brand potentially goes viral. Many heritage brands have used this route and gained an increase in sales and product sell outs within days. To continue making this route to market as powerful as possible, focus your content towards followers of the individuals who are influencing a big audience and acquire more engagement.

Following the herd

There is a huge number of consumers and shoppers (over 80%) do their research online before making a purchasing decision. What a great place to play on their fear of missing out! By showing them that many of their peers have purchased a product or service that may be of interest them, using rating sites such as Reevoo and Feefo, entices them to believe that this is the right fit.  This kind of approach is great to use across various channels; across the website but also within e-mail campaigns and social feeds.

Expert proof

The final way to social proof your brand is using recognisable industry accreditations and awards for your work. This will reassure customers that they are choosing a brand that has been reviewed and approved by industry leading experts. Using multiple examples such as ‘customer service’, ‘technical expertise’ and ‘best in practice’ can really seal the deal and provide proof to your prospects that you are the real deal.

Written by: Jamie Clifton
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