How to develop a social proof strategy to boost your sales

Social proof is the new concept in webmarketing blogs. What is social proof? People are not really aware of the influence of general opinion on their own judgment. On many topics, especially those that are not particularly important to them, people refer to what other people say …

Anthropologists are fully aware of this phenomenon. The more important something is to you, the more you will wish to form a real opinion, yours.

Otherwise, you will not really think and you will rather rely on the judgment of others, which will have the advantage of representing a considerable time saving (*) while convincing you morally that you are in the truth, even though you can completely go wrong without even realizing it.

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(*) You assume that others have thought for you, which saves you from having to spend a lot of time thinking, especially about something that is not particularly important to you. This will give you more time for what is really important to you.

For many subjects, people have not formed an opinion. They followed the opinion of the crowd. This is normal: imagine for a minute if you had to form an opinion on absolutely all subjects, people and communities. It would be impossible, for lack of time.

This is the strength of the so-called social proof phenomenon. It will be understood, this phenomenon can quite – and very easily – be used to develop sales. If you manage to prove to your prospects that many people before them have bought your products, they will be much more inclined to make these new purchases that would allow you to develop your business.

If you master the techniques of social proof to perfection, they can even follow you with your eyes closed.

The technique is not new. At Disneyland, people usually go where the queues are the most important, where people are already waiting. The hairdressers also know very well this tactic: the customers must be placed, in a hairdressing salon, in priority in showcase.

The objective is that those who do not really know (and anyway can not know) the product marketed are irremediably influenced towards what matters most to you: develop your sales.

The level of efficiency is proportionally correlated with the level of uncertainty: the more uncertain people are, the more they will be influenced by social proof techniques. Somewhere, it is thanks to their uncertainty that you will be able to increase your sales.

How to develop a social proof strategy?

In his book titled InfluenceRobert Cialdini describes the social proof as follows: "The tendency to perceive an action as more appropriate, because others already realize it". So if other people have bought a product, you think you can buy it too. And the more people have bought a product, the more you will say that you can buy it with your eyes closed.

Major brands capable of selling millions of products owe their success to this simple anthropological mechanism – but not only because the product must also be in perfect harmony with a market.

If you want to deepen the subject of the social proof, it is best to read the works of eminent anthropologists such as Roger Caillois and Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Let's go back to digital, because digital is no exception to the rule. And there are a multitude of ways to set up a social proofing strategy on your website.

1. Social proof: The testimonials

Highlight the testimonials of your customers. Some website owners are still nervous about placing such testimonials on their site. It is a mistake. Such testimonies can not really be harmful. On the other hand, they can be very beneficial. At the very most, they will not be able to harm you, on the contrary.

Also, be sure that people are beginning to understand better and better the marketing mechanisms. Rather than being influenced by such tactics, which are beginning to experience some wear, they prefer to read more and more testimonials of human beings more credible than TV commercials. This is normal.

2. Social proof: The numbers

People love numbers.

The numbers are selling.

One of Elvis Presley's best albums sold this way: with a catchy title explaining that 50 million fans could not be wrong, millions of other people bought the album, thanks to this single argument and to this single digit.

Highlight the numbers you could get on social networks: the number of shares, retweets, comments, etc. If an article has been shared thousands of times and it has received hundreds of comments, it will be further consulted and commented. It will benefit from a multiplier effect. If one of your products is a bestseller, put it well on your site. Say it's a bestseller. The more a product is a bestseller, the better it sells: it's the domino effect. For a reason that anthropologists know perfectly well, it reassures people.

Nowadays, in these times of geopolitical uncertainty, terrorism and the economic crisis, people are more than ever in need of reassurance. The more you can reassure them, the more they will appreciate you, and the more they will buy your products.

3. Social proof: Influencers

If you work with influencers and recognized people in your industry, let them know. This will bring an image transfer between the leaders of your industry and your expertise. People will tell themselves that they can work with you, since the best people in your industry are already working with you.
If it turns out that a celebrity has used your services or bought your product, it should theoretically be able to show off your extraordinary feat on your website. Celebrities have a tremendous power of influence over a very large section of the population. This is one of the reasons why prestige brands work with stars.

4. Social proof: Your story

Set up a storytelling strategy. Marketers and sales people know that they never lie, they tell stories.

And people love stories, since they are very small with Santa Claus (this is the very first trivia to which they believe hard as iron: to say that it has an impact, later, on their ability to believe just about anything and everything).

But do not take advantage of it to say anything.

The technique of storytelling is to look for the few elements that would eventually abound in your interest, to link them together for the purpose of weaving a fresco, which will reflect you perfectly, in order to give it a sense that will be excellent for the development of your business.
This is the principle of any sales scenario.

5. Social proof: Your website

It must be the receptacle of all your assets in terms of social proof. Place the testimonials in the strategic places of your website: on the home page, besides the bestsellers, on the contact page, etc.

Example: If you had a contact page on your site, your goal would most certainly be that people click on your email address or fill out the contact form to send you a message. If you place a relevant social proof element in your favor, such as a testimonial, Internet users will be much more inclined to proceed with the action that will ultimately benefit your business.

6. The notes

Ratings in the form of stars are good benchmarks for Internet users. By seeing a large number of stars, they feel comfortable in the idea that they too can proceed to purchase products that others have already made before and to which they have also awarded a good rating.

7. Badges

People love certifications. If your industry has implemented certification systems with recognized, recognizable badges, try taking the tests to get these certifications and gain the right to use those badges – and put them on your site.

8. The media

The media has a determining power of influence. If you manage to be featured on any media, if you are interviewed by a reference magazine in your industry or if any of your articles are published there, highlight the logo of this media on your site. website. You will thus operate a transfer of image, of the media of reference of your industry towards your Internet site.

Conclusion

The benefits of social proofing strategies are well established. Today, 90% of consumers read testimonials on the internet before making a purchase. 85% read more than 10 testimonials before buying and 88% trust them.

Such a strategy, however, should in no way make us forget the essential: your product must be irreproachable. Because if you manage to develop good sales through a social proof strategy, but ultimately your product was really poor quality, it will really end up seeing and be known.

Do not put the cart before the horse. Ideally, a social proof strategy is there to facilitate sales of a high quality product. He arrives at the end of the chain, with the sale.

In any case, such a strategy should not be the mainstay of a commercial process aimed at selling a product of very poor quality (this is also the way the scammers proceed), because it is a whole society that would then turn against you. The social proof to boost the dirty performance, it's really good, but pay attention to the social boomerang.