Social proof is about building trust with your customers and potential customers, as well as showing that you’re a reliable and honest business person. It’s a factor in people judging how reliable you are and can even influence your website’s page rank in search engines.
Newbie marketers often get the balance wrong when using social media to market themselves. My grandmother often used the saying “Self praise is no recommendation” and it’s true that some people can be suspicious of those who blow their own trumpet. Being social should not be about shouting how great you are from the rooftops. It should be about helping your community, showing yourself to be honest and trustworthy, and displaying what you have to offer and it being so good that it impresses people enough for them to share it with others.
Friends as influencers
Your friends, colleagues and acquaintances can be influenced by what you are doing, saying and buying. The actions of the influencers in your life probably help determine the actions you might make. Studies have shown that your closest friends influence not only your happiness but also your net worth. If you can spread the word about your products and/or services via the right connections on social media to one of your most ideal clients, and they share, it will likely end up in front of more of your ideal clients.
Most people will trust word-of-mouth recommendations for products and services more than they trust any other type of marketing or advertising. I remember being more impressed by a student’s account of his success than I was of his mentor’s assurances that internet marketing was a great way to make money. If someone you trust says they found value in something that you are also interested in, you’ll probably be more likely to look into it with a favourable frame of mind. The challenge is to present your product or service in a way that encourages word-of-mouth. This means it should be interesting, impressive, and easy to pass on.
Be an active participant
Growing your social proof happens through interactions on social media, blogging, and participating in your community. Being an active participant will go far in creating the social proof you need to be seen as a trustworthy source of information. The more people who friend you, follow you, and spread a positive impression of you by retweeting your information and quoting you, the more positive social proof you will gain.
Link your online presence
Creating branded social media accounts with a consistent image and profile will help people recognise and know who you are. Mention and link to your articles and blog posts in social media and once a person reads, enjoys, likes, shares, and comments on something you have written, they’ll be more likely to see your work appear when searching online in your niche. The more of your work they see and enjoy or find useful, the more likely it is they’ll share.
It’s well known that customers are more likely to tell others if they have a bad experience with a product or service than if it was good. However social media seems to have led to a shift towards positive reporting. Today, a person who likes something may share their opinion online with hundreds or even thousands of people. Which can only lead to the conclusion that earning social proof is too big an online marketing opportunity to ignore. Building a presence in social media that has others recommending you to their friends can really grow your business.