I love to travel. Experiences are the spice of life, and I embrace them all. I also love to eat. I’m a total foodie. I enjoy cooking, and unique dining experiences are a real treat for me. So, when I travel, I’m all about trying new restaurants. And, of course, I go online to find them. I look for local restaurants with great reviews and a menu that intrigues me. I’m not alone. The majority of people look at restaurant reviews before deciding where to dine. It’s a practice that’s not unique to the restaurant industry. That’s why you should understand all about using reviews to show social proof for your business.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is the idea that people copy the behavior of others because they don’t want to miss out on something worthwhile. In marketing, we use it to describe the idea that people will want to use your product or service if they know others are too. So we create ways for them to see that others like and use your brand.
Examples of social proof include:
- Endorsement by a thought leader or expert
- Testimonials, quotes, recommendations, or referrals from users of the product or service
- Business credentials, like how many customers they have, how many people purchased a product, or even awards won
- Positive media coverage
- Social sharing, including recommendations, likes, or follows
- Ratings or rankings (think number of stars)
- Certifications like seals of approval or association memberships
In short, social proof is anything you can do to show that people outside your organization support it and validate the claims you make about your products or services.
Using Reviews to Show Social Proof
While there are many forms of social proof, reviews are perhaps the most powerful. About 93% of customers say that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. They read reviews before they decide to buy something. And 94% of customers say that a negative review has kept them from buying something. Research also shows that customers are using reviews more than ever to make purchasing decisions as online shopping increases. Oh, and people will pay more for brands with positive reviews! They want products and services they feel like they can trust.
People are looking at reviews. And you can use them to benefit your business. But first, you have to get reviews and then know how to use them.
Use Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile, formerly called Google My Business, is one of my favorite tools to help clients quickly establish some online authority. It’s incredible that more business owners don’t harness the power of this free tool. It lists your business with other related local businesses when someone searches for your business by name or looks for the services you provide. The online directory includes your business’s phone number, website, address, hours, review ratings, and a link to your website. Basically, everything is right there at the top of Google to help a potential customer choose your business.
Google Business Profile also offers a free video maker that allows you to easily create a short video for your profile. It helps your business stand out and gives you another chance to promote your products, services, and even reviews. You can also download the video you create and share it on other platforms. Basically, Google realized how popular videos on profiles were and made it simpler to create them.
With so many people looking online for products and services, Google Business Profile is a no-brainer.
Ask current clients to provide quotes reviewing your business and put them on your website’s homepage. That way, when people visit your site, they automatically see an endorsement from someone who uses your products or services and loves your business. Here are examples from our site:
It doesn’t matter if site visitors don’t know the people endorsing your brand. It just matters for them to see that people are.
Brag With Logos
Do you work with some pretty cool clients or partners? Put their logos on your site and brag about it. Here’s an example from our friends at CauseLabs:
CauseLabs also is a Certified B Corp. They include that logo for further social proof on their site too. Take a look!
See how they’re giving visitors reasons to trust them and believe in their mission? And they offer an incentive to brands that share their values.
Build Your Social
As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And a large, engaged social media following won’t be either. But it sends up red flags to potential clients if you’re not active on social media. And they will look! More than half of people use social media to research products. You want to be active and build your audience over time to show social proof. Not only do you want followers on your account, but you also want engagement on posts. Having both proves to visitors that people choose to receive your messages and relate to them.
Encourage customers to leave reviews by asking them or including a request in a Call-to-Action on your site. You can’t share what you don’t have. So, create any opportunity you can for people to provide feedback. And don’t be afraid to ask for reviews. Happy clients are willing to help your company grow and succeed. They just aren’t always sure how to help.
Don’t just encourage reviews, make leaving them easy. We partner with Podium, a live chat software. It also enables Google reviews through text messages and many other features. Using tools like this makes it simple for your clients to leave the social proof you need to continue to grow your business.
Create Video Reviews
Videos can be another way to showcase your reviews. It’s definitley a heavier ask than simply sending someone to Facebook or Google Business Profile to leave a review. Offering reviews in different media formats allows you to use them in various ways.
For example, we worked with three clients to record a video review in under a minute. We then sent the separate videos to our video partner, Sleek Fire Media, who created this incredible testimonial video for us.
We use this on social and even include it in proposals to illustrate what working with Content Journey is like.
Don’t Fear the Negative
It’s unlikely that every review you get will be the glowing five stars you hope for. Don’t sweat it. Instead, think of all reviews as an opportunity to learn and grow. Acknowledge the negative review, validate the person’s feelings, and move the discussion offline to make it right for them as best you can.
When someone helps you with something, you express gratitude. Reviews are no different. Thank people publicly who take the time to provide a review. People don’t have to do this, but it matters for your business. You don’t want to take it for granted.
Let Us Help You Get Some Love
If you want to use reviews to show social proof, but you aren’t sure how, or you just don’t have the time to put into it while building your business, don’t fret. We’re here to help! Book a no-pressure call if you’re interested in working with Content Journey. I’d love to talk with you.