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5 Proven Ways To Build Credibility Online

social proofThis is the second part to a two-part series on the importance of social proof in online marketing. Go here to read the first one to get a background on exactly what social proof is if you are unsure.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about social proof and now I want to show you some examples of exactly where you’ll find it and how you can leverage it.

1. Social Media & Blog Mentions

If you aren’t saving all your great social media and blog mentions for later, you are already under-leveraging social proof that’s already available to you.

social proofTools like Sprout Social have built-in archiving features that allow you to easily save great social media moments. On Twitter, you can simply favorite any tweet for it to be stored inside the Favorites section in your account.social proof

Using Twitter’s embedded tweets feature is an excellent way to display your best customer tweets because they link back to that person’s profile (so they know they are a real person).

2. Customer Reviews & Testimonials

Do you have a spot on your website that promotes testimonials you’ve received? Amazon stopped dead in their tracks a few years ago when they realized it was the customer reviews, not the product description, that were selling products.social proof If someone sends you a personal message, email or just verbally tells you how great your service or product is, ask them on the spot if you have their permission to use that as a testimonial. Every word that comes out of a paid customer’s mouth is EXTREMELY valuable in the new socialized Internet age we live in.

3. Social Plugins & Social Sharingsocial proof

Have you ever gone to a website and seen a Facebook box showing a few of your friends that are already fans? If so, you know that feeling of reassurance and validation when you see people you trust embracing a product or service through Facebook or Twitter.

You get a very similar effect when one of your fans shares your content and one of their connections checks it out. What’s even more important is that occasionally people will click exclusively because of who shared it, rather than what it is.

4. Amount of Fans & Followers

Sometimes a user will find a website, Facebook or Twitter page and although it doesn’t show any of their friends connected, the sheer amount of followers and subscribers gives enough confidence to justify a closer look. This is similar to when you walk by a busy restaurant and feel it’s only reasonable to assume that there is something great about it.social proofObviously this isn’t social proof that is readily available to those who have yet to build up a following but once you have it the trick becomes figuring out how to best leverage it. Whatever you do, don’t buy your way to social proof with fake followers and fans…go to this article for more on that.

5. Facts & Statistics

Here’s an example that really shows the power of social proof…the video below is a real ad from 1949 saying that doctors smoke Camels more than any other cigarette.

The fact that doctors approved of the Camel brand over other cigarettes was a pretty convincing appeal. After all, doctors are among the most esteemed professionals in society and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me…right?

Other examples of using facts and statistics for social proof would be:

  • 9 out of 10 dentists recommend this toothpaste brand over the competitor
  • Over 1 million satisfied customers
  • People’s choice award winner 3 years in a row
  • In my LinkedIn profile headline, I write “The Media Calls Me Canada’s #1 Social Media Expert” to leverage valuable 3rd party credibility

Where Do You See Evidence of Social Proof?

What are some of the best examples you have seen or experienced with social proof? Leave a message in the comments below or join us in our Social Media Marketing Strategies group on Facebook so we can continue this conversation in greater depth.