Social proof is a valuable aspect of marketing because it's based on the idea that your audience is more likely to engage with your business if they see that others have already shown interest in your products and services.
Most people like to have confirmation from different groups of people that a business is worthy of trust - in fact, there are different types of social proof, including expert (industry expert), celebrity (influencer), user (normal people that rave about a product or service), and user-generated (normal people that post their own content that relates to a brand).
In this post, we'll take a look at some examples of how brands are successfully leveraging social media to boost social proof as an important part of their marketing approach.
Slack’s Use of User Social Proof
Slack is a cloud-based digital workspace business which has seen remarkable success in the past few years. The company has grabbed a big chunk of the workplace communication business, and is now valued at an estimated $5.1 billion.
But that success hasn’t made Slack any less competitive, or willing to remain active in its marketing strategy.
And judging from how it uses Twitter to boost social proof, Slack intends to keep winning hearts and minds by displaying user responses as often as possible:
Slack has created an entire Twitter page devoted to ‘Slack Love’, where real users can post how they use Slack and why they love the platform.
While this may seem self-serving, Slack does something really smart, which is to empower its clients to express themselves, and therefore feel more connected to a service they find valuable in their lives.
Slack isn’t forcing people to tweet things on its 'Slack Love' Twitter page, but by offering a forum where users can communicate the reasons they value Slack, and how it improves their lives, the company smartly incorporates social proof without having to toot its own horn.
Provide a forum where your clients or customers can express the reasons they use your products and services, and subtly encourage positivity by giving this dedicated social media page or platform an affirmative title.
The words 'Slack Love' are a clear indication that only people interested in posting positive comments should engage.
Nature Made and Expert Social Proof
Most of us have a tendency to listen more closely when experts talk about a product or service, because they obviously have years of experience and training related to that industry, and frankly, most of us don’t.
That type of expert confirmation can provide that last bit of persuasion that converts a prospect into a buyer, a key aspect of the marketing funnel.
And you don’t have to go out looking for a live expert, because statistics, studies, and facts that highlight why your product or service is worthy, are generally enough.
Nature Made is a perfect example of how to use expert social proof.
In the Facebook post below, the vitamin company doesn’t just say that its vitamins are pure and potent, it lets an independent third party tell the story:
It doesn’t matter that most people don’t know what ‘USP’ certified stands for, what matters is that a third party has confirmed something unique about Nature Made's gummies.
Notice how the USP seal provides a stamp of approval that has a visceral effect? You don’t have to know what USP stands for to feel that it’s a certifying organization that has real authenticity.
If you sell products or services that an expert (individual or organization) can certify, include that as part of your social media campaigns to provide expert social proof to your audience.
For example, if your company sells bike racks, you could include certification from a bike safety company about why your racks are secure.
Frank Body Leverages User-Generated Content
By now you probably know that user-generated content can be a powerful marketing tool because it relies on your real-world users, people who are organically producing content which is beneficial to your brand.
And social media is the perfect platform to enable users to post content which highlights the positive aspects of your products.
Frank Body, a natural skincare company, leverages user-generated content on its Facebook Page to communicate to its audience how normal people are taking advantage of its products:
The reason this is so effective is that it doesn’t require Frank Body to do anything other than post what users are doing with its products.
There’s no sales pitch, no comparisons to competitors - just actual customers using the company’s products.
This type of social proof puts the audience at ease because they can see normal people using products that they might also be interested in buying. When prospects can see others actually using a product that they too have thought about using, it provides a sense of belonging, and an ‘I-can-do-that-too’ belief that can be so essential to tipping the scales from prospect to buyer.
You can take advantage of this type of social media social proof by encouraging and soliciting people to post videos and images of them using your products and services - what you’ll often find is that your customers are eager to show the rest of the world how they use your products, because sharing their process makes them feel connected and empowered.
The Proof is Not in the Pudding
There’s an old adage that ‘the proof is in the pudding’, but the original proverb was actually: ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating.’
Social proof marketing is all about communicating to prospects how others have ‘eaten’ your products and services as a means of reassuring, comforting and persuading them to take their bite as well. This can be an extremely powerful option to communicate brand value - its worth considering how UGC might fit into your broader digital marketing process.