The biggest problem you face online as a small business is legitimacy. People are naturally suspicious of things online due to the endless stream of scams and tricks. However, to generate leads and increase conversions, you’ll need their trust. Unfortunately, that can take a lot of time your company doesn’t have. The good news is that social proof offers a shortcut. You just have to use it correctly.
1. Make Your Testimonials Visual
Written testimonials are all well and good, even effective at times, but they’re known as marketing tools. Even perfectly legitimate testimonials are viewed with suspicion. Anyone can put a review under a picture. What you have to do is take a different approach. Instead of settling for text testimonials, use visual aids. Images of customers using your product are far more compelling than words. When you use social media to engage with your customers, many social proof opportunities will present themselves.
2. Show Subscriber Numbers
Compelling offers are everywhere. Even if your product is unique—and it should have a unique selling point—you’ll still need a little extra just to get your target customer’s attention. Handling skepticism may be a matter of showing potential customers that other people trust your small business. Showing them subscriber numbers may be more effective than pitching your product or preaching its virtues. People may think that you’re exaggerating the value of your product, but they can’t ignore the number of people using it.
3. Show Number of Sales
What customers are really looking for is proof of concept. While there are a select few who are eager to get in on the ground floor, the vast majority of consumers will wait for someone else to go first. Show them that someone has already gone before them by publicizing purchase counts. If they see that others have decided that your product was worth their money, they’ll be more likely to join in.
4. Look Professional
Looks matter. In-house brand and site design may be cheaper, but that can only take you so far. A difficult-to-understand or blurry logo, for example, can confuse and drive away potential consumers. Having concise branding across all your offline and online properties adds instant credibility.
5. Find Influencers
The most well-known and well-used version of social proof comes from getting influencers in your target market or industry. It will take time for your small business to develop its legitimacy, so you’ll need to borrow someone else’s. If you’re lucky, someone will pick up and promote your product without you having to do anything. More often than not, however, you’ll have to do some legwork and contact them yourself for a paid endorsement.
Modern consumers are not only more skeptical; they’re also more community-focused. They’re more likely to trust the word of their fellow customers, so use that to your advantage. Get your small business out there by leveraging the power of social proof.
Trust has always been the foundation for a successful business relationship. If you would like to learn more about how you can use social media to build trust among potential customers, please feel free to contact us at any time.
Originally published 04/25/17.