By definition, social proof or informational social influence is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to others’ actions under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. It is one of the most potent drivers of people’s everyday behavior.
In this article, we will look at
- What is social proof?
- Ways to improve business with social proof
- Where to place social proof in sales emails
What is social proof?
When it comes to Public Relations, marketing, and getting the word out there about a company, there are different social proof types. They can include expert, celebrity, user, the crowd’s wisdom, the wisdom of friends, and certification.
They are pretty self-explanatory, but expert social proof is when an expert in a specific industry recommends a company’s products or services or is associated with a brand. Celebrity or influencer social proof is when they endorse products and services through their social media channels or word-of-mouth. User social proof when existing customers recommend a company based on their personal experience with it. Other types can be when a large group of people is seen endorsing a brand, when friends approve a product, and when a company gets a stamp of approval from an authoritative figure in the industry.
Public relations is a way of getting the word out there about a company, however having all the necessary information is one thing, but using that information to create useful materials to gain media coverage is another story. Companies who want to achieve adequate media coverage and not have to deal with its stress can hire PR agencies and professionals like Pressfarm to help with all of their PR needs. PR professionals not only create content, but they also help companies achieve online visibility, provide advice on what has proven to be effective in the PR world. They can also provide companies with access to a PR database with journalists and media outlets so that entrepreneurs can find the perfect match for their business.
Ways to improve business with social proof
It has been proven that social proof can positively influence the purchasing behavior of potential customers. Done correctly, it can help grow a business and generate more sales. It also proves a company’s credibility by pointing to other people and organizations that they have previously worked with and is the quickest way from being unknown to being a company that people trust and want to work with.
Companies that do not use the power of social proof to their advantage through their landing pages, social media posts, product pages, blog content, and other marketing channels may not receive the same levels of conversions and online traction as ones that are.
Let us look at some ways that companies can use social proof in their email marketing campaigns.
1) Let customers do the talking
One of the easiest ways to leverage social proof is to highlight positive ratings and testimonials about a company. Research has shown that potential customers always look at product reviews before making a purchase. They trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations.
Regardless of their sentiment, customer reviews indicate to potential customers that a company has made sales in the past and is a legitimate business. Opinions will help potential customers understand the quality of a company’s products, the timeliness of their shipping, the likeness to product photos, and other useful information.
Along those same lines, if a customer makes a purchase and enjoys their shopping experience, they will tell people through word-of-mouth and their social media profiles. By providing high-quality products to customers at an affordable price point. They will be able to increase the social proof of their business organically. Companies can also send emails to customers once they have received their order and ask them to leave a review regarding email marketing. They can also incentivize reviews by creating an exclusive discount code through emails.
2) Press and media
The main intention of sending out an email is to get media mentions and attract journalists to write about a company. Since journalists are humans, they will more than likely follow the pack mentality and want to be a part of something that has already received media attention.
Companies can include previous media mentions and stories that have been written about them to gain more attention because it is another credible form of endorsement. If a company has been mentioned in the media, a great way to stay relevant and keep the content alive is to feature those past links in the email. Social proof is one of the easiest and under-utilized strategies for building an effective email marketing campaign. When a company uses social proof, they can take the interest they have earned for the brand and convert it into paying customers.
3) Creating a blog
Another great way to gain social proof for a brand is to establish authority as a thought leader in the specific industry. Content marketing is a perfect tool used by businesses to provide potential customers with insightful, actionable content that ties into their business, products, and services. By creating a blog, companies can draw in high volumes of qualified traffic, which will lead to more sales. Blog content indicates to existing and potential customers that the brand cares about its customers, rather than just being a company that cares about selling products. Having a positive brand image helps companies secure repeat customers, increase traffic to their websites, and increase a brand’s social proof.
4) Use brand ambassadors and influencers
As mentioned previously, customers are more likely to follow what their favorite celebrities and influencers are interested in. Brand ambassadors and influencers can help humanize a company’s products and brand for prospective customers. They can help spread social proof on social media, their websites, and within their circle of friends.
Influencer marketing has proven to be very useful on social media, with a high percentage of customers relying on recommendations from influencers on the platforms. Content from influencers has earned more than eight times the engagement rate of content shared directly from brands. Social proof is more effective when it comes from someone that a company’s target audience knows, likes, and trusts. Whether it is mentioning the brand in a social media post, reviewing the product/service on their website, or writing an endorsement that a company can use on their website, influencer marketing has been a proven tactic to gain social proof.
5) Awards and recognition
Sometimes, just saying that a company is trustworthy is not enough to gain the trust of customers. Having awards and recognition as evidence is an excellent form of social proof and is much more convincing than just taking a company’s word. Awards and recognition help validate a brand because they come from an unbiased third party that has given them the impartial stamp of approval.
6) Case studies
While they are more formal, case studies provide high authority social proof because they leverage the idea that customers perceive long, in-depth user views by being more reputable than brief excerpts.
Where to place social proof in sales emails
After understanding what social proof is and what kind to use, it is equally important to know how to use it. A few scenarios that come to mind are if people are abandoning cold emails wholly or reading the emails but are not responding. In that case, adding social proof to the beginning of an email is one way to grab their interest and engage their imagination. Another tactic is to add it right before or after the call to action so that people feel confident about responding to an email.
While having authoritative content helps companies with their PR and marketing strategies. Having social proof is a great proven tactic to give companies a leg when trying to stand out from the competition. It gives companies control of what messages are going out to their public and allows them to tailor it in a way that is attractive to potential customers. Using it in their email marketing allows for a higher open rate and the potential for higher conversion rates.