Is Social Proof the Missing Link in Your Marketing?

marketing social proof

Have you ever walked past a full restaurant? There may even be a line of people waiting to get in. What pops into your mind? You might think “this place is probably good”. It might make you want to try it, right? What’s more, you’re likely not the only one who thought so. That’s why there’s a line. That is social proof. 

As humans, we are always looking to reaffirm our decisions to make sure we’ve made the right one. It’s human nature, and we all do it. We’re looking around at other people to see if what we’re looking into is what we want to do with our time and money. 

Social proof for an online business

When we’re out in the real world, this might look like a flurry of people waiting to get into a restaurant, customers walking around with a cup from the same coffee shop, or clothes with the same logo. But now, so many buying decisions are happening online, and social proof has been reduced to forced testimonials and flat 5-star reviews. 

So, how can we, as business owners or marketers, ensure that there is a “line” outside of our online business attracting more customers? Social Proof. 

Social proof is the powerful concept of using your clients’ stories to tell your brand story, build trust with your audience, and attract more customers. But there’s a catch. Social Proof isn’t as easy as going out and getting random reviews and testimonials. Social proof in marketing is about the quality of your stories. 

So, how can you identify if your social proof is actually compelling? 

Social proof is about telling your customer experience

Social proof that actually serves your business is not about sharing snippets of audio or text saying how awesome you are. It’s more about sharing stories that are relatable to the kind of people you want to attract to your business. 

These kinds of social proof are your customer experience. It is the excitement a new client feels before, during, and after their first call. It is how someone feels when they receive your package in the mail. It’s the anticipation of visiting a new restaurant or bar. It’s a new buyer’s excitement that they found you. Your student’s first “Eureka” moment or first breakthrough. It’s what happens when 10 (or 100) people buy your new product on launch day. It’s the small wins and milestones reached along the way. 

Purposeful social proof should include clear, relatable stories that serve as buying cues to let your potential customers know that people like them are also buying from you. And yes, these are testimonials and reviews, but they’re also success stories, case studies, video testimonials, snippets from social media, and more. 

Instant Social Proof

Social proof is a powerful marketing technique. The key to making it work is to be strategic about how you collect, display, and share your customer experiences.

The key is to place intentional cues throughout your customer journey and to inject adequate prompts when asking for a testimonial. The second essential element is to be smart about how and when you share those testimonials. After all, it’s only social proof if you know how to share these experiences, journeys, and stories.