Social proof is essential for online stores – or any other online business for that matter. It facilitates sales by showing visible facts or proof of past work or proficiency.
Because customers are inundated with sales pitches, adverts and content trying to sell them the next best thing, and due to past disappointments and customer horror stories, buyers are often selective.
Social proof makes this selection process easier for buyers by showing evidence that you can deliver not because of your promise but based on your past work and customer testimonials.
First timers also find social proof handy when making purchase decisions. In this post we would highlight social proof and show seven innovative ways businesses like yours can gather and use them on social media to win new customers.
What is Social Proof?
In online marketing, social proof can be displayed on merchant websites using customer stories, number counters, progress bars, reviews, testimonials etc.
Below is an example:
Social proof convinces prospects and encourages action by showing that other customers have also taken action and purchased or utilized your products or services.
The Importance of Social Proof for Businesses
Social proof helps businesses leverage the bandwagon effect. This is a psychological concept which shows that people are more likely to mirror other people’s actions.
These words on a landing page, compels visitors to also subscribe.
Reason: 35,000 other people already did, meaning it must be worth it.
With billions of users on social networks like Facebook and Instagram, showcasing social proof on such platforms can gain you new customers in their thousands.
As with reviews, these numbers can be manipulated and difficult to verify. However, for larger, more trusted brands, these figures tend to be more believable.
Believable social proof builds trust by showcasing convincing user reviews and testimonials, enabling prospects overcome buyer skepticism.
Client portfolios displaying big name brands (as shown below) builds trust, communicates competence, and capacity to deliver and can increase conversion by up to 400%.
The above is a clear demonstration of social proof.
7 Innovative Ways to Garner and Use Social Proof on Instagram
- Showcase Real Results
This is one of the most common, yet highly effective ways of garnering and using social proof on Instagram. If you are in the skincare industry, for instance, you can showcase customer “BEFORE” and “AFTER” photos.
These images will give your prospective customers an idea of what to expect when they use your skincare product. You may have to be creative, but in reality, it is all about showing customers what that product will do for them.
- Post Real Reviews
Real reviews from existing customers can help to encourage new ones to also give your product or service a try.
It is essential, however, to ensure that you keep all reviews as genuine as possible. You can take a screenshot of reviews left on your website and post them on Instagram. Reviews with photos and real names work better, and video reviews are in fact the most convincing of them all!
Although 5-star reviews are great, you should also post 4 and even 3-star reviews on Instagram. This will show genuineness and eliminate suspicions of review-gating (blocking off negative reviews).
- Showcase Consumer-Generated Content (CGC or UGC)
You can also showcase consumer-generated content like photos or videos of customers taking delivery of products, unwrapping/unboxing them and sharing their expectations.
Another great way to capture new customers is by showcasing product reviews. Unbiased product reviews tell and show customers everything they need to know about your products.
Posting such user-generated content on Instagram shows prospective customers that real people like them are buying and using your products, thereby encouraging them to follow suit.
- Show “Behind-The-Scene” Content
Behind-the-scenes videos showing you packing and shipping customer orders also works exceptionally well when posted on Instagram. It indicates that people love your products and are placing orders.
It is also exciting for buyers to see where and how their purchased goods are processed and packaged, further adding value to and enhancing the buying experience.
It also shows your commitment and the amount of effort you put into making sure you deliver great products and an amazing customer experience.
- Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing
This is one of the most popular forms of social media marketing. You can have influencers endorse your products or services on Instagram. Product endorsements by popular people or brands boost social proof.
Since people already trust influencers, products they recommend can be snapped up by avid followers. And if that product is yours, then expect an avalanche of orders!
However, depending on your budget, influencer marketing can be costly. In that case, you can approach micro-influencers at a fraction of the cost.
- Use Trust Seals
Displaying review badges, trust seals, membership ratings, prominent associations, etc. qualify as social proof. Using any of these key status symbols on your Instagram profile can also enhance brand perception.
Did you know that 70% of buyers will cancel an order if they do not trust a transaction on a merchant website?
With positive brand perception and trust, you can help prospective customers overcome their buyer skepticism and clique the buy button.
- Use Numbers to Your Advantage
They say numbers don’t lie. This is the reason for displaying number counters on websites. This may reflect number of clients served, sales, downloads, subscriptions, followers etc.
Infact, natural and organic vanity social media metrics like number of likes show the strength, popularity and mass appeal of a brand.
Displaying such stats, shows that other people also like, probably buy and use your products or services; another smart way of collecting and using social proof on Instagram.
Social proof works effectively by exploiting our intrinsic need for social inclusion, due to our innate desire to follow the actions and beliefs of others (herd mentality, bandwagon effect etc). When applied to Instagram marketing, social proof could result in higher conversions or sales..