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The power of social proof

The term “social proof” describes a phenomenon in which consumers take action based on the behavior of others. When someone uses a product or service and talks about it positively online, that’s social proof. Social media mentions, testimonials and online reviews are all forms of social proof, and leveraging this word-of-mouth marketing can be a great way to instill trust in your brand, increase conversions and drive sales.

Consider this—70 percent of Americans look at product reviews before making a purchase. Sixty-three percent say they’re more likely to make a purchase from a site that displays ratings and reviews. And, a multinational survey found 92 percent of consumers trust earned media, like testimonials, more than any other form of advertising.

If you’re looking to prove the product or service you sell is worth talking about, check out these five tips for soliciting social proof:

  1. Social media: Regularly monitor your social media presence for positive comments about your company. Posts or tweets worth sharing can be embedded directly on your website for all to see. Include social share buttons that show the number of shares, likes and retweets as another demonstration of social proof.
  2. Online reviews: Reviews are not only very powerful forms of social proof, they provide valuable insight on what consumers think about and how they interact with your product or service. Incite buyer reviews with a post-purchase email or by including a review button on your website. Encourage participation by offering a discount code or free gift, such as a tablet holder or wine bottle cap, for feedback.
  3. Testimonials: It’s worth repeating that earned media, like testimonials, is trusted above all other forms of advertising.
    If a happy customer is singing your praises, ask if they’d be willing to write a testimonial for you. If possible, include a photo or video, as these types of accompaniments boost trust levels even more. And don’t forget to show gratitude to your contributors. A set of logo’d glass mugs or a gourmet popcorn tin makes a nice thank-you gifts.
  4. Case studies: Take testimonials a step further with yet another great form of social proof, the case study. Write case studies in a format that details a problem, the solution and results to drive home your success story. And don’t forget to show the love to customers willing to participate. A logo’d tablet messenger bag or Cell Phone Power Bank are suitable gifts.
  5. Endorsements and mentions: If you’ve been so lucky as to get accreditation or mention from a well-established organization, proclaim it on your website (and better yet, theirs, too) with logos and back links. This establishes your brand as one that hangs with the big dogs, and earning back links to accredited websites boosts search engine optimization (SEO).

Social proof is a great way to instill trust in your brand, increase conversions and drive sales. Try one or all of these tactics. Good luck!

Olenski, Steve. “The 6 Most Important Ways To Generate And Use Social Proof To Increase Online Sales.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 12 Nov. 2013. Web. Retrieved 19 Nov. 2015.

Ciotti, Gregory. “7 Things You MUST Understand When Leveraging Social Proof in Your Marketing Efforts.” Kissmetrics Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 19 Nov. 2015.

Harel, Tomer. “5 Incredible Facts About Customer Testimonials.” Spectoos.com. N.p., 13 Nov. 2014. Web. Retrieved 19 Nov. 2015.

Kolowich, Lindsay. “5 Ways You Can Add Social Proof to Your Landing Pages.” HubSpot Blogs. N.p., 16 Sept. 2014. Web. Retrieved 19 Nov. 2015.

Agrawal, AJ. “How to Use the Power of ‘Social Proof’ to Attract Customers.” Inc.com. N.p., 09 Oct. 2015. Web. Retrieved 19 Nov. 2015.

Aspland, George. “How To Get Good Reviews & Testimonials That Drive Business.” Marketing Land. N.p., 12 Aug. 2013. Web. Retrieved 19 Nov. 2015.

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