Today’s customers are savvy and spoiled. They aren’t easily swayed by subjective marketing claims and clever ad copy. They live in a world that’s characterized by fake news, sensational headlines, and biased reporting. One of the byproducts of this sort of toxic environment is that they’re constantly looking for facts and objectivity. And until they find these facts and objectivity, they’re unlikely to be persuaded.
From a marketing perspective, these factors only serve to enhance the significance and effectiveness of social proof. The question you need to be asking your brand is, “Are we leveraging social proof in the proper manner?”
The 4 Types of Social Proof You Need
“Social proof is a psychological phenomenon referring to people’s reliance on the feedback and actions of others to determine what is right and what is wrong in a given situation,” marketing strategist Kristina Cisnero explains. “Social proof is a concept as old as marketing itself – think of the testimonials in ads. But the rise of social media has enhanced the importance of social proof because feedback from real people is more easily accessible than ever before.”
- Statistics and Numbers
People love statistics, data points, and numbers. While it’s certainly possible to twist numbers – and savvy customers are aware of this – they are generally viewed as objective and rational.
This web page from Davis, Saperstein & Salomon P.C. is a good example. They include a section titled “Verdicts & Settlements,” which references a number of different cases the firm has won. When prospective clients see these numbers, it reassures them that the firm knows what they’re doing.
- Client Testimonials and Reviews
Peer approval is the ultimate form of social proof. From a marketing point of view, one of the best things you can do is curate your brand’s best client testimonials and reviews and conspicuously publish them on key website pages.
This web page from Atradius Collections is a nice illustration. Not only have they gathered statistics about customer satisfaction, but they’ve also pulled some quotes and published them in a singular resource for easy reference.
- Celebrity Endorsements
Celebrity endorsements are a favorite social proof strategy for many big brands, but why? The answer can be found deep inside your brain. Your mind doesn’t do a good job of differentiating between real and make-believe, so a famous person you’ve never met can feel like a trusted friend.
“When a familiar face promotes a product, it makes it seem as if the product itself is familiar, which makes people more likely to buy it,” Jeff Stibel writes for USA TODAY. “Even though we’ve never met them, the brain regards familiar celebrities the same way it does people who are actually familiar and trustworthy to us in real life.”
- Halo Effect
If you know that one of the more successful businesses in your industry is using a certain tool, it’s going to make you more likely to try it yourself. That’s because you trust their judgment and, to some degree, believe their alignment with this particular resource is partially responsible for their success.
In terms of social proof, one of the best things B2B businesses can do is include a list of current customers and clients. The Storbie homepage is a good example. Near the bottom, you’ll notice a section with more than a dozen logos of companies using its platform. This is social proof in action.
Make Social Proof Work for You
Nobody is going to force you to use social proof on your web pages, but it would be pretty foolish to ignore. Social proof comes in many shapes and sizes, but it’s been proven to be effective over and over again – especially in today’s landscape. It’s time to put it to use.