Consumers have always looked for validation from others when seeking out products and services. Here’s how to gain social proof for your business to make it easier than ever for consumers to choose you over competitors.
Social proof encompasses anything that influences and eases buying decisions, including but not limited to:
Social proof is invaluable for small businesses because it builds trust and credibility and greatly simplifies the buying decisions of your customers. While consumers have always looked for validation from others when making decisions, these validations are much more accessible today thanks to social media and online review sites.
Related: Reputation 101 eBook (free download)
Here is a list of ways to gain social proof for small businesses without big marketing budgets:
Build and grow a social media audience on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The number of likes and followers provides validity and credibility to your business. Here are some helpful posts on building your audience:
Proactively ask your customers for feedback and post positive feedback as testimonials on your website for everyone to see. (Respond to negative feedback as well and use it to improve your business.) Here are some helpful posts on feedback and testimonials:
Ask customers to leave reviews and tips on Yelp, Google, and Facebook where customers are searching for businesses like yours. Don’t be shy and share positive reviews to your social networks. For guidance with reviews, check out these posts:
If you’ve been in business for a while, make sure to include this information on your website and online profiles. Thousands of happy customers can’t be wrong!
Having a custom hashtag for your business is a creative way to get your customers posting about and building social proof for your business. The more fun it is for them to post about your business, the more likely they are to do so and the more social proof you will get. A custom hashtag also builds a sense of community around your business that others will want to be a part of. For more help with custom hashtags and customer posting, head over to these posts:
When consumers share that they are at or using your business on their social networks, they’re likely to create some interest from their friends and earn you some new business. Encourage your customers to check in to your business by tagging your business location in their Instagram and Facebook posts.
Need to add your location?
Here are some strategies for encouraging social proof via check-ins at your business.
Simply put up a sign in your business that asks customers to check in on Facebook or tag your business location on Instagram. This could be something like: “Support small business, and tag our business location on Instagram!” or “Support us on Facebook and check in!”
The best way to get people posting about your business on social media is to make it picturesque. Unique backdrops, art, decorations, and creative displays are easy ways to entice more picture-taking.
If you catch customers taking photos at your location (especially with your unique decorations) and the moment is right, ask them directly. Let them know that it’s great for your business when they tag your business location on Instagram and Facebook posts.
If you’re not completely confident in asking for check-ins, you can always start with your loyal customers. They will be happy to check in on Facebook or post a picture to Instagram with your location tagged. You might even offer them a slight discount or small freebee once they do so, to keep them coming back.
Free refreshments, free refills on coffee, stickers, etc. are great motivators! Incentives are a nice exchange for a check-in or location tag. Also, this can be done very inexpensively. Your customers will love the free treats and are likely to be more than happy to show support to your business.
In order to gain social proof for your business, you need to share what others are saying about your business. But this also means you have to get people talking about your business. Make it easy for customers to talk about your business by providing outstanding service that they’ll want to talk about, and getting listed on review sites and directories where they can leave their feedback. It’s also important to be proactive. Ask your happy customers to talk about their experiences so that you have material to work with, and encourage them to share their feedback themselves.
Consumers rely heavily on what others have to say about your business, so be sure to add social proof to your marketing strategy if you haven’t already!
For a more in-depth look at getting online reviews for your business, download our free eBook below: