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.

9 ways your business can use QR codes in marketing

Think QR codes are dead? Think again.

In fact, QR (Quick Response) codes are so old (digitally speaking) that they’re new again—and trending. 

A 2020 survey found that 18.8 percent of consumers in both the U.S. and U.K. strongly agree that they had noticed an increase of QR code use since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic “shelter-in-place” orders began in March 2020.

While QR codes don’t mean much to the naked eye, they can be read and understood by mobile devices. You’ll see them used on billboards, magazines and various other marketing materials.

They offer the opportunity to provide more information about a product, service or company quickly on a user’s device. The key appeal here is: instant and easy information delivery.

Several factors stalled QR codes back in 2010, including (but not limited to):

  • Fewer consumers with smartphones
  • The requirement of a separate app to scan them
  • QR codes linking to web pages that were not optimized for mobile devices

More than a decade later, we’re seeing higher usage of smartphones, an overall improvement in the abilities of smartphones and mobile-optimized websites becoming the norm (rather than the exception).

Are QR codes right for your business and overall digital marketing strategy? The following are nine ways you can use them so that you can decide for yourself.

Direct to a landing page or website

This is the most commonly thought-of purpose and use of QR codes. And it makes sense. Scanning a QR code can send a user to any relevant sign-up page or other landing page or website.

This can be much easier than asking consumers to type in your URL (no matter how short or simple it might be).

Just make sure that you use a unique URL for your QR code in order to effectively track the traffic generated by it.

Find out more about tracking links.

Download apps

Another common use of QR codes is for downloading an app. You can link it to the download page of the app to make it easy for users. Of course, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to consider separate QR codes for Apple and Android devices.

Apps themselves also use them to encourage engagement within their communities. Think Snapchat, which has unique QR codes to make it easy for users to add other people as connections. Another app, Spotify, launched them to easily share songs.

Make it easy to shop and save

Businesses often use QR codes for discounts and promos to entice potential customers. These discounts and promotions can be anything that makes sense for your business.

If using this method, be sure to monitor and tweak your promotion accordingly if it doesn’t seem to be as effective as you’d like.

Call your business phone number

It can be helpful to have your QR code link to a “contact us” landing page, but even better, consider having it call your business phone number directly. 

It’s just a matter of the right HTML (“tel:” followed by the phone number) to trigger the option to call your business from the user’s phone. 

This can be helpful in business conferences or other booth event scenarios.

Send the user a message

Thanks to HTML coding, it’s possible to have a message sent to the user’s device after he or she scans your QR code. 

This can be particularly beneficial for SMS text marketing in which you can use for SMS registration opt-ins, by-request product upgrades, user support or even sales.

Send the user an email

QR codes also can be used to send emails to a user. Because emails have more flexibility than SMS text messages, you might find this option a better fit.

What’s contained in that email is up to you. It can feature your latest product release or a new service you’re offering, for example.

Share your location address

QR codes can give users not only your location address but directions as well. This can make it instant and easy for consumers to navigate to you. If you have an event coming up at your business, this can help people find it.

Promote your social media

Make it easy for consumers who like your products and/or services to follow you on social media. Doing so can help them stay connected with your brand.

This can work for any social media page you want to promote.

Encourage reviews

Looking for more positive reviews? About 90 percent of consumers read a review before visiting a business. 

You can display a QR code in your business to encourage your customers to review your on the spot. It can also be placed on a receipt or product that you’re selling.

In conclusion

When using QR codes, a clear call-to-action (CTA) is critical. Users want and need to know what to expect when they scan it. If they have to guess, they’re less likely to do it.

We also recommend testing your QR codes on multiple devices so that you can anticipate (and fix) and possible issues. And keep in mind that users will need internet connectivity is needed for your codes to work.

As far as marketing strategies, you might want to leverage FOMO to persuade your potential customer to act sooner than later with your QR codes.

While you’re exploring QR codes, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automations, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.