How to Use Social Proof to Increase Sales
When talking about growing a business, it basically comes down to finding your ideal customers and then convincing them that your business is the right business for the job.
While this two step process may seem ridiculously easy in theory, if you’ve ever tried to do it in practice you know that it isn’t. Without that final step though, you just don’t have a business. Mark Cuban famously said “There has never been a business that succeeded without sales.”
So, how do you convince your ideal customer that you’re the right business for the job? To help you make the sale, create a sense of social proof around your business.
Social what? As defined by Wikipedia, “social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.” In terms of growing your business or increasing sales, social proof is the gold standard in persuading people that you’re the right business for their needs.
Studies have shown that demonstrating positive social proof is more effective at persuading people to do something than promising them that they’ll save money, make a responsible choice or protect the environment.
Here are three ways you can demonstrate social proof for your business today.
1. Get more online reviews, and use them more effectively
Online reviews are becoming more and more important for converting prospects into customers. 90% of consumers think reviews and referrals are more important than any information provided by a salesperson. And 74% of customers say they trust companies with positive reviews. It’s fair to say that your prospects take note of your reviews.
Make sure your social and online presence is in good shape and that your previous customers are able to leave reviews and find you easily. Getting your past customers to chime in on the conversation you’re having with prospective customers is a great way to help convince prospects in your favor. The bare minimum includes completely filling out your social media profiles (especially Facebook), your Google My Business page, and Yelp.
Follow up with your customers and strike while the iron is hot. One study found that 9 out of 10 satisfied customers are willing to provide an online review when asked to do so. Once the job is closed in Jobber, consider sending your satisfied customers a follow-up, since most are more than happy to leave a review. Most businesses fail to ask for the review so this is a supreme opportunity to take advantage of and create social proof. You can even automate this step.
When the positive reviews start rolling in, take the opportunity to share them on social media. Not only does this give you more content to share, but sharing user-generated content like this helps keep you top of mind with your followers, and also helps to reinforce the sense of social proof around your business. Even when the reviews aren’t so positive, respond and then take the time to share where you resolved the issue and turned it into a positive situation.
2. Share photos whenever possible to create a sense of social proof
Adding photos to your testimonials, case studies or reviews makes them more believable. Recent studies have shown that including a photo increased trust among all participants in the study, even when the photo was nonsensical.
To put this into practice, take a photo of the work completed before you leave and include this on your website and social media when talking about the work you do. Include the photo with your reviews as well to visually reinforce and boost the trustworthiness of the review itself.
3. Use stories to connect with your prospects
Sharing your stories is a simple way to increase sales. Studies have shown that a good story makes its audience more open, trusting and empathetic by releasing the neurochemical oxytocin. In contrast, labeling a statement as “fact” makes us naturally question the statement more.
Stories also support those conversations that allow us to connect with each other much more than facts do. We share what we remember with others, and we simply remember stories more than we remember facts.
In his underground marketing classic, “All Marketers Tell Stories,” author Seth Godin makes the case that it’s stories and not features or benefits of a particular product that spread from person to person. This, along with the fact that positive social proof has more of an impact on persuading someone to buy something, makes stories about your customer’s experience, challenges, and how you helped them very powerful.
Getting more reviews, effectively using them in other areas of your marketing, adding photos to the mix and telling more powerful customer stories all creates that unbeatable sense of social proof. By using social proof to your advantage, you can convince more people that you’re the right business to suit their needs, and you can increase your sales.