When it comes to retaining customers and reaching new audiences, trust is everything. But it isn't just a matter of telling people that your brand is trustworthy — you have to prove it. One of the best ways to do that is to let others do the talking.
That's right — we're talking about social proof.
In this video, we'll be exploring what exactly social proof is — including what it is NOT — and how it can help marketers build trust in their brands.
Hi. This is Rich Cannava with The CSI Group, and today we are going to be talking about social proof.
These days, you need more than just a few pieces of clever marketing content to get people to buy into your brand. One of the most effective means of nurturing new business — not to mention a sense of loyalty and trust — is through social proof.
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon in which someone looks to the actions and experiences of someone else to gauge the correct behavior.
It’s Human Nature 101. It’s the reason why we all scour Yelp reviews before trying out new restaurants. It’s the driving force behind the famous "FOMO."
When applied to marketing, social proof basically translates to: “This product/service worked for these people like me, so it will work for me too.”
Social proof is a powerful tool to the modern-day marketer. In fact, given how ubiquitous social media and the “Internet hive mind” have become, positive or negative social proof can make or break a brand.
We're not talking about celebrity endorsements and athletes on Wheaties boxes here. We all know those are paid deals.
Effective social proof is real. It's real people, real opinions — no shilling, no BS.
This can include proof from customers, like reviews and testimonials. It can be proof from experts, like acknowledgements from an industry leaders. And then there's proof in numbers, such as a large social following or the number of units you sold. There's also proof from the tribe, AKA word of mouth and customer referrals.
So, according to Nielsen, leveraging social proof is one of the most effective forms of marketing. 83% of consumers in 60 countries say that they trust recommendations over other forms of advertising. Makes sense, right?
I mean, of course, there's a flip side to that, and relying too heavily on social proof can also hurt you. When Gong.io's data science team analyzed over 48,000 sales calls, they found that calls that used social proof that didn't match the circumstances that the prospect on the phone actually had, those calls had a 22% lower closing rate.
I mean, it really all comes down to one thing: CONTEXT. When you share social proof, it should be presented as a tool for the customer's benefit — not a form of ego-stroking or simply a way to prop up your brand. You gotta be really careful with that, because customers do see right through it.
When utilizing social proof, you have to know the audience that you’re trying to attract. Human beings, we're tribal creatures, and when we see people with a lot of the same issues and circumstances as us, there's a natural bond at some level.
That’s why when you are sharing case studies and testimonials, or even user-generated content, you should make sure that the person giving their opinion is actually representative of your target audience.
So, before choosing who you’re going to feature, ask yourself a simple question: “Is this person anything like the kind of buyer I’m looking to attract?”
By creating similarities between your examples and the people you’re looking to woo, you should see success and increased sales over time.
That's it for now! If you want more videos like this to humanize your brand and drive revenue, don’t forget to subscribe to the channel and hit the bell icon to get notified when we post a new video.
Until next time, be well and successful!
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