Having a strong brand image is ideal for future profitability and success of any business.
A key aspect for a business to have is social proof. Social proof, a term coined by Robert Cialdini in 1984, is a psychological phenomenon. It is when a person assumes the actions taken by others, as they believe it to be the correct way. Another way to call this is informational social Influence.
Businesses need strong social proof for the success of their product or service, and one of the best ways to know if you have a strong social proof is through customer feedback, such as reviews. In a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 91 percent of those interviewed between the ages of 18 and 34 said reviews were just as credible as personal recommendations. Not having any reviews, or only having negative reviews, takes away from the trustworthiness of a business and ultimately leads to less opportunities for leads. In addition, Harvard Business Review found that every additional star on Yelp created between 5 percent to 9 percent of an increase in revenue, so for every positive feedback a business receives there is an upward trend in their sales and revenue stream.
Some of the most successful ways to create this social proof is by having a solid social media presence. The more followers and engagements a business sees on social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, the more credibility, or social proof, that business has. Even collaborations with other businesses who already have a strong presence and a solid consumer base, can improve your own businesses standings as it is deemed trustworthy by another business.
Social media Influencers are always great for a business to hire as well, and are often used as a way to broaden marketing efforts. Having an influencer means using an unbiased source to promote the business through personal reviews and recommendations. Similarly to influencers using their own audience, a business can also post testimonials on a website, so consumers can see that other unbiased people have used the product and would recommend it to others in search of the same product or service.
A less commonly used strategy to create social proof would be to share a business’s milestones. These shared milestones creates a sense of community as well as shows the consumer the success the business is seeing, which in terms creates more trust in what it is the business produces. One common milestone businesses may have is to become verified. To be verified on social media means you have a check next to your business’s name, which proves that your business is legitimate and is credible. To get verification you need to have a strong follower base, because you must be a notable business on the platform; social media platforms do not make every business verified, otherwise it would make the verification checkmark less credible.
Lastly, some of the easier steps into creating social proof is to be a frequently active social media business. This means replying to messages quickly, showing appreciation to mentions, using shout-outs and sharing tagged posts from consumers. In addition it means following and building a community on platforms where your business likes and comments on others posts. These all create not only a stronger community feel to your business but also shows credibility and proof that your business is not a sham, and is reliable.
Emilie Steven is a marketing strategist for C&P Business Media.