What is social proof? And 9 ways to use it in your digital marketing

When digging deeper into the idea of “social proof,” just remember that humans are definitely pack animals.

Psychologically speaking, humans want to fit in with the rest of the crowd, and this can affect us in many ways, particularly our consumer behavior.

Social proof refers to potential customers assuming that what others are doing is correct based on how often they see those actions. In other words, social proof is about looking to others to figure out the right way to interact in any given situation.

Businesses can leverage positive social proof to influence consumer behavior and generate more sales.

About 91 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online social proof reviews as much as recommendations from someone close to them, while 63 percent of consumers indicated they are more likely to purchase from a website with product ratings and reviews.

Of course, social proof is even more powerful when it comes from someone the potential customer knows. About 82 percent of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase.

The following are nine ways you can use social proof across your digital marketing channels to persuade potential customers and grow your sales.

Highlighting positive reviews

Online reviews might be the first thing you think of when it comes to social proof. You’re definitely not wrong.

Consider Yelp. Are you more likely to try the restaurant with a lot of five-star reviews or the one with none? About 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and consumers often check at least two or three review sites before making a decision about a business.

Be the business they want to try, not the one they want to avoid.

You can do this by paying attention to more than just one review site. In other words, if you’re only focused on Yelp, you’re missing key opportunities. Google, FourSquare, even Facebook are all platforms where reviews can be made and viewed publicly about your business.

Then, highlight any relevant five-star reviews on your website, landing page or even some social media posts, depending. The more you share, the better! Don’t be shy.

To help boost your share of positive reviews, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a review on their favorite site. This can be done with follow-up emails, signs posted in your business or even links shared on your social media. Keep your ask simple: “Support our small business by sharing your experience with us on Yelp” or whatever review site, for example.

Engaging with negative reviews

Granted, we can’t assume that all reviews will be positive. When encountering a negative review, read it thoroughly and respond. Yes, respond. Do not ignore. Acknowledge the issues or problem your reviewer encountered with your business (no matter how relevant or not). And offer a solution to his or her problem. This can be a gift card, discount or other incentive to come back and give you another shot. And this offer does not have to be worked out in a public back-and-forth. At the right time, you can say that you’ll message them directly to further resolve the problem. But it’s the initial engagement publicly that can help save a negative review from completely preventing a potential customer from considering your business. 

The better you engage with the negative review, the better you will look in the eyes of others. In fact, about 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews in general.

Make sure you know about these eight types of negative SEO while you’re at it.

Sharing customer testimonials

It’s one thing for you to say that your brand is the best. It’s something entirely different when people outside of your brand say that you’re the best.

About 92 percent of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising.

Testimonials are positive experiences and/or anecdotes from customers who have used your product or service. They help establish credibility for your brand.

Be sure to regularly solicit happy customers for testimonials that you can update your website with and/or share in social media posts. Encourage them to be specific about the product or service they used, the problem it helped them solve and even how they felt before they came to you and after.

You can make the process even easier by including a Google Form (or another embedded form on your website). 

Partnering with celebrities, influencers

Influencer marketing has only been growing in recent years, and it’s easy to see why, especially when considering social proof. Consumers clearly trust public opinion more than brands themselves, so the word of people with influence falls into that category as well.

In fact, content from influencers generates more than 8 times the engagement rate of content shared directly by brands.

The key is that you identify an influencer who is relevant to your industry and jives with your brand.

Dig into these seven tips you should know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Onboarding brand ambassadors

Similar to influencers, you can recruit brand ambassadors, which are essentially brand evangelists and loyalists who will promote your brand to their networks. Brand ambassadors can range between average people who love your company to micro-influencers with some clout online.

This type of program can be managed in a range of ways, where you can offer anything from commission to discounts to branded swag.

The appeal here is that brand ambassadors can humanize your brand even further. Just remember that brand ambassadors can be an easy avenue of getting more user-generated content (UGC) that features or includes your product out on various online channels. UGC can definitely play into social proof by piquing the interest of the potential customers it reaches.

Growing your social media following

First things first, we don’t want you to fall into a rabbit hole of obsession with growing your followers on social media. It’s just not the ultimate measure of success that some brands think it is. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the size of your following can be a type of social proof. It’s that herd mentality again. When a consumer sees a large number of people doing (or following) something, they’re more likely to try it, too.

Resist the temptation to buy a ton of fake followers. This practice will never serve you in the long run. Social media success thrives on authenticity, and creating the illusion of social proof is exactly the opposite. Focus, instead, on sharing engaging content and building a genuine social media following.

Leveraging your customer count

If you have an established customer base, it’s worth considering leveraging those numbers as social proof. Whether it’s customers, subscribers or any other type of consumer who is using your product or service, sharing that will help show that your brand is valuable and trusted.

Think about how McDonald’s says “Over 9 billion served” on its signs. But this can be done on your website and/or social media profiles as well.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to simply boast about your numbers. Make it an invitation: “Join our 500,000 satisfied customers,” for example. It gives a feeling of belonging to consumers.

A slightly different angle on this front is leveraging any of the big-name customers you might have. You can do this by highlighting their logos on your website. Just make sure that you’re highlighting the brands that your audience will recognize.

Showcasing any awards, recognition

Awards and recognition aren’t just great types of social proof, they also act as evidence that your brand is, in fact, trustworthy. There’s a validation there because they come from a third party. 

Beyond just listing awards your brand has won, you can use award logos embedded on your website and even feature the logos of websites your brand has been mentioned on.

Again, it lends to your credibility.

Creating a blog

Before you think, “Not another blog,” remember that blogs are a great way to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

The idea is to offer potential customers with insightful, problem-solving and actionable content. Tying this content into your products or services is great, but keep that approach in balance.

Showcasing your value to your audience is more important than getting yet another sales plug in. In the end, you’re ultimately creating and sharing content to build up your trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers. It’s less about the hard sale.

Check out these seven tips to level up your content marketing.

Be aware of social shares

Adding social media share buttons next to various content on your website can sound like a great type of social proof. And it can be.

But if your social shares are typically low, this can actually backfire on you.

Website visitors seeing only a handful of shares can give them the impression that your content isn’t very valuable.

So, before using this approach, do an audit on your average amount of social shares. If it’s typically a high number, then the social share buttons are worth including to boost your social proof.

While you’re boosting your social proof, consider improving your digital marketing process with DailyStory. Features include automation and dynamic audience segmentation. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Struggling with marketing content? 7 tips to beat writer’s block

Beyond just writing, the goal of copywriting aims to create engaging marketing content that persuades your audience to take action. So, when you’re experiencing writer’s block, it can impact the success of your business. 

No pressure, right? 

Writer’s block is often referred to as the inability to form words, and there are entire scientific studies behind it.

Fortunately, the following are seven tips to help beat writer’s block so that you can effectively represent your brand, engage your audience and help grow lead conversions.

Maintain a content calendar

If your writer’s block centers on the lack of ideas for the content itself, creating or maintaining a content calendar can help you keep the momentum going. 

It’s all about having a plan.

If you’re just starting out with a content calendar, aim to plan out one month ahead at a time. You can make note of both national holidays and social media “holidays” (like National Puppy Day) that are relevant to your brand and your audience. Look ahead for any other events or product launches as well. Then, you can start brainstorming content around these events, holidays and so on. 

Once you get comfortable with maintaining your calendar one month out at a time, you can start increasing it. Ideally, the further out you can plan, the better. That way, you won’t find yourself in a day-to-day rut trying to figure out what kind of content you should be creating each day.

Keep a backup list of ideas

As great as advanced planning can be, it’s always possible to not be inspired by the topic you originally planned to write about. Or, perhaps the topic no longer works for when you planned it.

That’s OK!

As you plan out your content calendar, be sure to maintain a list of the ideas that don’t make it onto your calendar. Think about your target audience. What problems are they facing? How can you help them overcome those problems?

This can be a great resource of back pocket options to potentially inspire you when you do hit that writer’s block.

Lean on your colleagues

Brainstorming alone can get difficult and (honestly) a little soul-draining at times. If you’re looking for some inspiration, ask a colleague to brainstorm ideas with you.

Better yet, pull in your team.

Group brainstorming sessions can bring up ideas that might have never happened on your own. Just make sure to document all the ideas flying around. Even though they aren’t all going to make it onto your content calendar, they could easily end up on your backup list of ideas for reference later.

Revisit past content to defeat writer’s block

Just because you’ve covered a particular topic before doesn’t mean that you can’t revisit the topic in a new or more in-depth way.

Remember that you can easily break up various angles of a topic across different and separate pieces of content.

For example, if you have a past list of tips, is there one tip that you can spin off with? The possibilities are endless.

And of course, for an SEO (search engine optimization boost), be sure to link related pieces of content to each other. While you’re thinking about your SEO, see if you’re making any of these 13 common SEO mistakes.

Don’t just write … read

Any good copywriter isn’t just writing constantly but reading, too! 

It doesn’t matter what:

  • Industry-related publications
  • Various blogs
  • Your competitors’ content
  • Local or national news

Doing so regularly will naturally inspire you with topics that will likely be relevant to your audience. Always record those ideas as soon as you have them, whether you’re in planning mode or not.

Write out of order

In the simplest sense, know that you never have to write the first sentence first. Whether you start in the middle, with the conclusion or whatever aspect is inspiring you, you do not have to write in order.

Sometimes, even just roughing out a loose outline first can help funnel your thoughts.

Mix up your approach

If you have all the right ideas, but the words still aren’t flowing, try mixing up your approach to beat writer’s block.

You can work in a different place, at a different time, for different lengths of time and so on.

In fact, simply taking breaks and doing something else briefly can make a world of difference as well. A break might sound counterintuitive if you’re on a deadline, but think about how much time is wasted when you’re facing writer’s block. A break of any kind doing something else can be just what you need.

Beating writer’s block will help you reconnect to your audience and boost your brand’s presence, so be patient with yourself and work through your process.

Take your content to the next level with these seven content marketing tips.

Then, consider leveling up your digital marketing process with DailyStory, which features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.