How to Use Social Proof in Content Marketing?
Consumers are more likely to purchase products and services from brands they trust. The question is, how can you as a brand build trust and authority?
Several strategies can be used to achieve this. But among the most effective is using social proof.
In this article, we’ll explore how we can effectively use social proof in our content marketing campaigns. To fully understand this, we need to learn the basics.
What are Social Proof and Content Marketing?
When in doubt, follow the crowd. This is the basic concept of social proof. It’s a form of bandwagon across social media and the internet.
Content marketing on the other hand is a strategy meant to provide prospects with important information about your brand. It covers everything from photos, videos, infographics, articles, and more.
Here are some examples of social proof:
- Expert testimonials
- Photos and videos about a product
- Awards and Accolades
- Electronic word of mouth
5 Benefits of Social Proof in Content Marketing?
Content marketing encapsulates all forms of content published during marketing campaigns. Brands can pull data from user-generated content to make campaigns organic.
If you provide value to your customers during these campaigns through social proof, you can get advantages in the following:
1. Give and Take
Psychologist Robert Cialdini cited that people are more inclined to “owe” you something if you give them something first.
During content marketing campaigns, you want to generate leads by providing value to prospects. You can use social proof such as testimonials and reviews to give prospects insight into the experiences of past customers.
2. Consistency and Loyalty
When others are committed to something, it’s likely that people within that community would commit to that as well.
Brands can use this concept effectively with the help of social proof. Think of brand community and how that elevates customer loyalty.
With a loyal customer base, brands can even get advantages outside of sales. Social proof can be a gateway to a self-sustaining marketing campaign.
Trust is built when a brand’s values align with the audience it represents. The more these values are aligned the higher the chance of it resonating with your core audience.
This can lead to more positive outputs from customers. We’re more inclined to trust the sentiments of people closest to us. This could be friends, family, or community members. We can find this concept in social proofs such as reviews or testimonials.
Studies show that we trust people in authority. When an industry expert vouches for a product, it significantly boosts its credibility.
Social proof in tandem with CTA (call-to-action) “nudges” can be an effective form of marketing. Imagine a brand showcasing a banner that says “3.2 million businesses have used our service”, followed by a limited-time-offer discount.
5 Ways To Use Social Proof In Content Marketing
Now that we know the psychological foundations of social proof, here are 5 effective ways of using this strategy in your next campaign:
1. Reviews and Testimonials
Customers value authentic reviews and comments over paid advertising. According to studies, 63% of customers are likely to purchase a product that has reviews.
Meanwhile, research also suggests that 95% of consumers say reviews and testimonials greatly affect their purchasing decision.
2. User Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content or UGC is a cost-effective, organic, and sustainable form of social proof. You can use photos that your customers upload on their social media accounts and feature them on yours.
Sometimes a customer's content is fantastic but the picture quality isn't. Using free online image upscalers can help retain a quality that fits your brand image.
3. Influencer Marketing
Influencers can be seen as pseudo-celebrities. They’re famous but in a way that’s more grounded and connected with their fanbase.
You can use influencers to promote your brand or have them review your products. Studies suggest that 70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities.
4. Case Studies
Case studies are best used for business-to-business (B2B) and SaaS companies. But it's still an effective form of social proof no matter the industry. Featuring case studies provides your brand with legitimate proof that your product or service is working.
5. Customer Base
Using the customer base social proof is effective in two ways - it provides a bandwagon effect and uses FOMO (fear of missing out).
Brands can highlight that “x number of people are already using our product”. FOMO comes in when customers realize that they’re being left out of the loop.
Using “Nudges” To Elevate Social Proof
Psychologists and researchers published a study suggesting how “nudges” can affect a person’s decision-making. But what exactly is this?
What Are Nudges?Nudges in tandem with social proof can help secure prospects that have no clear preference when it comes to products. When people are on the fence about a choice, nudges may help guide them go to the right direction.
What are Examples of Nudges In Social Proof?
There’s a lot of competition in eCommerce and other industries. Prospects are likely going to go through possible alternatives to your products.
Nudges help by facilitating a desirable decision from your prospects without forbidding the alternatives. Examples of this include:
- Clothing brands highlighting UGC that shows key features of their products.
- Smart notifications or pop-ups showing how many people used a product.
- Using reviews and highlighting the best ones on your product page.
- Fast food chains like KFC offer discounts with the help of social proof: “Everyone’s enjoying our French fries for $1, why not you?”.
Social proof and content marketing go hand-in-hand. Brands can conduct campaigns using UGC as data for their infographics, photos, or videos. Doing so provides an authentic and organic feel to campaigns.
Here’s a quick rundown on what social proof can do for your content marketing campaigns:
- Social proof drives more sales by establishing credibility with your target market.
- Create sustainable connections with customers using user-created content.
- Encourage a more positive brand image.
- Provide priority for customer feedback and reviews.
- Brands can use social proof as a cost-effective and sustainable way to conduct marketing campaigns.