3 Ways to Use Social Proof to Grow Your Small Business

When you start a business, you need to work your way up with customers until they feel ready to take action. If you fail to build brand credibility and gain users’ trust, they’ll be quick to move onto your competitors. 

Before visitors can move through the conversion funnel, they need to know you run a reliable business. Customers aren’t quick to hand over their personal information, especially to an unfamiliar business, so they need to know you’re the real deal. 

Brands use social proof for this exact purpose. It can take a long time to build enough trust to take someone from a new visitor to a paying customer. But by adding social proof to your website and social media practices, you can quickly build your customer base. 

Social proof helps potential customers make an informed decision. It’s the psychological phenomenon that makes people want to copy the actions of others. For example, if you see someone on social media boasting about a new product they love, it persuades you to check it out. You want to feel the same satisfaction, which encourages you to do the same thing. 

Around 30% of consumers would prefer to return to a website they’ve purchased from in the past, which makes social proof so effective. Once you have their trust, it’s easy to continue making sales and seeing positive results.

Let’s look at the different ways you can use social proof marketing to grow your small business and reach your goals.

Build trust through reviews

Did you know that 72% of customers won’t take action on a product or service until they read the reviews? People won’t go out of their way to invest in a brand they don’t trust, which is why consumer ratings and reviews are so important. 

You can use reviews to give new site visitors plenty of reasons they should turn into loyal customers. People aren’t afraid to share their true feelings and give other consumers insight. If they feel passionate enough, they’ll take to your website or social media to express their thoughts. 

Additionally, word of mouth marketing grows faster than any other recruitment channel at 69%. When a business gathers enough feedback, it can make well-informed decisions based on the needs of its customers. If a large number of consumers make the same complaint or suggestion, it’s more likely that businesses will take it seriously. 

Make it possible for clients and customers to leave reviews on your website so visitors both old and new can stay informed. Good businesses have nothing to hide and people appreciate being able to see a mix of positive reviews and constructive criticism.

Improve the UX on your site

Everyone’s had the unfortunate experience of visiting a website for the first time and running into several problems. New visitors need brands to prove their worth right away, and the quickest way to do so is through the user experience (UX) their sites provide. The average reader only spends 37 seconds reading an article or blog post, and they spend even less time on a website with a poor UX. 

It’s difficult to take a brand seriously if its website doesn’t cater to visitors. You only have a few seconds to make a positive impression on a new customer. If your site fails to guide them where they want to go or doesn’t tell them what your brand is about, they’ll bounce quickly. 

If you’re going to generate leads or build an email list, you need to consider the experience users have when they first visit your site. If they face numerous marketing messages or confusing navigation, they won’t spend a lot of time trying to figure your brand out. 

When people first see your site, you need to be clear about what your business does, who it helps and how it helps them. The highest-converting websites are straightforward and don’t promise more than they can deliver. 

Make sure that your website has a purpose and is optimized for user intent. Your homepage is the first thing users come across, so it must offer value. Don’t get caught up with fancy jargon; instead, use plain, simple language to tell users what you do and how you can help them.

Users will abandon a webpage that takes too long to load. They don’t have the patience to wait when they have tons of other options readily available. Regularly test your site speed to ensure it doesn’t lag and frustrate visitors. Test your call-to-action buttons, navigation links and contact forms so it’s easy to move around your site and get in touch.

Engage with users on social media

There are more than 3 billion users on social media worldwide, and that number continues to climb. Customers spend a lot of their time scouring social media and researching brands before spending a dime on a product or service. This is because you can find tons of valuable brand-related information on social platforms. People have less of a filter and feel free to share their thoughts with others. 

That’s why it’s crucial to interact with your audience on social media. Not only does this build brand credibility, but it also piques customers’ interest when a brand is friendly and engaging. 

Imagine a customer making a complaint about a product via social media. Their followers would hear about the negative review and likely spread it to those they know. If that brand failed to respond in a professional manner, or respond at all, it would reflect poorly on the company and its values.

You want to take the high road with any kind of feedback. Constructive criticism can help you build better products and services that cater to your customers and keep them happy. When people reach out to you on social media, take the opportunity to express your brand values and leave a helpful response.

To find content and comments related to your brand, search for relevant keywords and hashtags. You can even create a branded hashtag that only your business uses so it’s easy to find relevant information. 

Additionally, remember to interact with existing followers already active in your mentions. If you ignore them, your brand comes across as unapproachable. But if you take the time to respond to comments and questions, you’ll position yourself as an industry leader that people can trust.  

Your turn

With so much retail competition available, it’s essential to show website visitors why they should choose you. You can make your brand stand out by giving customers reasons to shop with you from the beginning. Seeing others like yourself endorsing a brand gives you enough confidence to follow in their footsteps. 

Using social proof on your website and social media makes it easier to persuade people to trust your business. People want to feel comfortable interacting with a brand and buying its products, and they can’t do so without proof from others. Adding social proof to your marketing strategies helps you grow your customer base, move consumers along the conversion funnel and increase sales. 

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