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We are continuing our look into how social proof can give you an edge over your competitors. If you missed our first article, check it out here

Why Does Social Proof Matter?

Social proof matters because social proof works. In fact, it’s extraordinarily effective because it does the work for you. People might not take your word for how good your products or services are, but they’ll take other people’s word for it.

Research shows that about 86% of all consumers – and 95% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 – read online reviews before buying a product. In fact, they read an average of 10 reviews before a purchase.

It’s also interesting to note that more consumers are getting savvy about reviews. The same study found that 40% of consumers in 2018 only read reviews that were recent, meaning they were no more than 2 weeks old. That’s up from just 18% in 2017.

Here are a few other key facts…

  • 80% of consumers between 18 and 34 have written at least one online review
  • 91% of people in that age group trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews
  • 57% of consumers will rule out any business that doesn’t have a high rating (4 out of 5 stars or above)
  • 80% of consumers look at more than one review site before buying

What can we learn from this? Clearly, social proof is hugely important in marketing. We also know that it’s likely to increase in importance because young people are the ones posting and reading reviews. That behavior will shape marketing going forward.

Tips for Using Social Proof in Your Marketing

How can you use social proof in your marketing? Here are some tips and examples to get you started.

Encourage (and Respond to) Reviews

Reviews are still the most popular kind of social proof. As a business owner, you can encourage reviews by:

  • Putting a link to your Yelp or Google My Business page on your website
  • Asking your social media followers for reviews
  • Respond to reviews quickly and professionally
  • Add a rating scale to your website or allow people to post reviews of products there

You may even want to put some of your online reviews on your website for people to see. You can also display your Yelp rating in your business.

Get a Professional Seal of Approval

Not all social proof comes from consumers. Sometimes, it comes from a professional certification or acknowledgment of your product’s worth.

This type of social proof has been around for a long time. Decades ago, Good Housekeeping magazine offered its seal of approval to products. Today, you can get a professional seal of approval by applying for and receiving a professional certification or cultivating relationships with reporters to get press mentions.

Tap into the Wisdom of the Crowd

You already know that FOMO is real. One way to tap into social proof is to take a page out of Netflix’s book. The streaming giant highlights popular TV shows and movies for streaming. They know that when people are talking about something, the ones who haven’t watched it yet won’t want to miss a chance to get in on the conversation.

You can accomplish that by highlighting your best-selling products or services on your website or social media.

Influencer Marketing

Finally, you should consider using influencer marketing to get the social proof you need to boost sales. Influencer marketing focuses on getting recommendations and endorsements from influential people, often on social media.

Keep in mind that an influencer doesn’t need to be a celebrity. Most small business owners can’t afford a celebrity’s price for influencer marketing. What you can do is find people who have authority and clout in your niche or industry and get them to talk about your company.

Social proof isn’t new, but it is growing in importance. The ready accessibility of online reviews – and the ease with which consumers can research companies – means that no local business can afford to ignore social proof.

Kacy Carlsen is the Co-Founder of UpDog Media located in Redlands, CA
She has 25+ years of experience in digital marketing and branding.
She has worked with thousands of business owners in dozens of countries across the
world, helping them build, market, and scale their businesses.
Contact Information:  kacy [at] | 909.498.4416

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