If there’s one marketing factor that’s become dominant in the age of the Internet, it could quite possibly be social proof.
And almost everywhere you turn, you’re being exposed to it through the efforts of many different companies.
In fact, customers the world over now expect to see some level of social proof for your brand.
Now, you might be asking what social proof really is.
And that’s a very good question with a pretty straightforward answer.
Social proof is the way your audience discovers your brand’s trustability.
In essence, it’s the clues that customers use to assess just how socially connected your company is to other people like them (and trust me, they are assessing your brand!).
Today, this marketing strategy can take the form of share buttons, follower counters, and a whole host of other methods.
Every time you click that Facebook Share Button… that’s social proof.
Or when you write an online review about a product… that’s social proof too.
And the numbers truly show how powerful this avenue of your marketing is.
88% of all consumers report that they trust online reviews as much as family and friends.
Also, more than 1 million websites have added some level of Facebook integration directly to their site.
See what we’re talking about here?
Proving your brand’s social worth isn’t just another chore; it’s a major component of your marketing strategy.
At the same time, we want to go beyond a simple share button or two.
In fact, we want to own this marketing strategy, creating a magnetic experience for our audience.
Just like with any of your other marketing tools, there’s fair, good, and even better.
And we want the best for our brands.
With these more sophisticated tactics, you’ll have exactly that level of influence.
Stick with Using Positive Social Proof
Have you ever noticed that positive people tend to attract other people to them?
For content creation, social proof sort of works under the same theory.
The way you frame your marketing matters, significantly.
To see negative social proof in action, look no further than the donation marketing for nonprofit, and Internet superstar Wikipedia.
Here is just part of the content for that campaign:
We’ll get right to it: This week we ask you to help Wikipedia. To protect our independence, we’ll never run ads. We’re sustained by donations averaging about £10. Only a tiny portion of our readers give.
Notice anything troubling?
By adding the line about only a small number of people giving, the brand is inadvertently broadcasting negative social proof.
It might seem odd to think about, but the most popular encyclopedia in the world is basically saying no one is interested in sustaining their brand.
Seeing that fact, who would want to donate now?
Instead, with positive proof comes the desire for more people to participate and join in.
Showing that your brand is socially desired has a compounding effect, much like a snowball rolling down a hill.
And when people feel positively connected to other people, they’re more likely to stick around.
With this in mind, stay positive and highlight the ways your audience is becoming part of a community or lifestyle by opting for your brand.
Also, position your marketing to show off the positive experience involved for them.
Protip: Even juggernauts like Facebook have used the theory behind positive social proof to create sticky experiences and huge communities. For maximum effect, keep in mind the psychological factors that bind together your targeted audience.
Add Pictures to All Your Content
Whether it’s a Facebook Message, a post to our ClickFunnels Group, or your own status update, including images is a must.
Browsing the statistics shows that if you aren’t including them at least some of the time, you’re missing out on vital engagement.
Clearly, taking the time to find an image for your posts can be a complete game changer.
If you’ve thought about adding images, but struggle to find new ones to include, here’s some awesome ideas to get you rolling:
Infographics – well-made graphics that easily explain data, processes, or other information.
These are very popular across the Internet.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also create your own or virtually hire someone to make one.
- Memes – This category probably doesn’t need much explanation, but it’s an often overlooked one for quick, easy
- Stock Photos – While stock photos aren’t the very best choice when it comes to boosting your social proof, it can at least add something interesting.
- Presentation Slides – A slide that pertains to your niche can be a great way to highlight your authority (and therefore, your social proof) to your audience.
- Screenshots – You can even include screenshots of your content! Doing so might help clarify something or demonstrate an idea.
- Photos You’ve Taken – This is probably one of the best forms of social proof. Branded photos that are you take are unique and that you own are an excellent form of visual social proof.
Protip: Make sure that your image is also relevant to your content. Otherwise, you may be confusing your audience.
Use Familiar Faces for a Serious Boost
Okay, this one is the real deal when it comes to seeing higher conversions.
Because social proof relies on our own innate psychology, it also means that personality is important.
There’s research that shows that customer action is reduced by nearly a quarter when an image doesn’t include a face.
So when you’re looking to prompt an action, especially if it’s related to moving a customer to the next phase of your sales funnel, consider how this step might fit.
But don’t just post a face once and call it a day.
Continue using that face throughout your efforts and make it a familiar face to your audience.
This is a little-known trick in the marketing world that has yet to catch on, but there’re a few reasons it works so well when it comes to social proof.
- You’re Creating a Personality – when you continue to see someone over the course of time, you assume that personal has an individual personality. This implies that they have values, goals, and beliefs. And in a way, you’re then associating those with your brand.
- There’s an Ongoing Relationship – It’s equally true that through that personality, you’re showing a person that your audience can have a relationship with. This continues to build trust and rapport, even if they never talk to that particular person.
- Humans are Hardwired to Recognize Familiar People – It’s totally incredible how much we simply love familiar people. We’re so predisposed to it that within mere hours of birth, we’re making it a hallmark of our lives.
Protip: Consider how the familiar faces you post are expressing themselves to best convey the emotions and ideas you’re going for.
Tell a Really Good Story
Almost everybody loves a good story, and after all, isn’t there a great story behind almost every brand?
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why brands have relied on characters throughout the ages to tell their story.
On that note, stories are engaging, interesting, and most importantly, we truly enjoy applying them to our lives.
And you know what else?
Authentic people tell stories.
For brands, we can commandeer this fact to our social proof benefit.
Whenever we use our brand to tell a story, we’re highlighting that our company isn’t just a company.
In a way, we’re saying that our brand is a real living, breathing person with something to say.
Here’re a few tips to get you off the ground:
- Borrow from Other Storytellers – Our first stop is to look to other amazing storytellers. They can be your favorite novelist, vlogger, or even a family friend. Look for the thread that unites their stories to make the tale more intriguing. And see how you can apply them to your own storytelling.
- Think About How Your Story Evolves – Storytelling isn’t about static marketing. In reality, it’s about taking your audience on a journey from point A to point B. Use that trip to evoke a range of emotions that solidify the relationship to your brand.
- Consider Brand Characters – We saw how brand characters have played an important part in marketing history. But they aren’t played out yet. Even insurance companies are still using them successfully.
Protip: for some master storytelling insider tips, check out our Secrets to “Story Selling” podcast episode.
Retargeting with Video Testimonials
Fact: testimonials from other customers have the highest rating for effectiveness in all of the content marketing.
What if we combined them with two other award-winning strategies that we have?
Let’s say that, since we saw above how much people trust testimonials, we add in the influence that retargeting has with the engagement of testimonials.
Then we’ll have created an unquestionably strong conversion strategy that can truly make waves.
Social proof is about relating to people like ourselves. And testimonials present exactly that.
Between more companies using them, however, and some recent scandals associated with online reviews, basic written testimonials might not be enough anymore.
That’s why turning to video is a perfect idea.
This way, we’ll be able to show real-life customers with a real love for our brand.
Now that will put us a step ahead of our competitor for sure!
And through retargeting, we can guarantee that we’ve already established a friendly connection with our audience.
Protip: We’ve all seen those infomercials where people seem to have been paid to perform in them. To produce a better video, simply ask your best customers if they’d like to help. You’ll find that many of them are happy to get their 15 minutes of fame.
Why do you think social proof has become such an effective form of marketing in recent years?