Everyone has their preferred brand of soap or toothpaste they use every day. When you go to the store to restock, your eyes instinctively search for the familiar logos. You add the item to your basket without giving it much thought. Call it loyalty or just a habit, but it’s hard for new items to enter your basket. In order to get you to try something new, you’ll need something pretty convincing. This is where social proof marketing comes in.
Brands selling personal care and health products know just how important social proof is at generating sales for new products. They know we’d rather scroll through pictures of latte art on Instagram or watch llama videos on YouTube than engage with the content about toilet paper, no matter how charming it might be. Yet without the engagement, there’s no attention, no consideration to purchase, no conversion, and no sale. But there is a way to break through the clutter and get consumers to interact with even the most mundane products, like toothbrushes and deodorants. The secret is to expose them to other people who find their products and brand fascinating.
Read further to find out what makes social proof marketing so effective and how it can help you achieve goals like better customer engagement and higher conversion rate.
What Is Social Proof Marketing?
Social proof marketing is not just another gimmick that promises to skyrocket your sales. It’s been around for years, shaping the trends in what we buy, wear, drive, eat, listen, and watch.
In essence, social proof marketing is using social influence to spread the information that a product or service is accepted by consumers and is a preferred solution for a given consumer problem.
It’s quite simple. We value more the opinion of people close to us, those we respect, and those we find similar to ourselves. The things they use and like are likely to appeal to us as well because we share similar interests, backgrounds or aspirations. When people of such profile endorse a specific product or brand it’s a proof that the product or brand is worthy of our attention.
User-generated content in the form of customer reviews, testimonials, consumer-made videos, and photos is the social proof of the digital age. Marketers who collect this social proof and use it in promotional activities have a powerful tool in their hands. Social proof marketing is very effective in engaging the target audiences and converting them into customers.
5 Ways To Use Social Proof Marketing On Your Site
From generating interest to converting shoppers and creating a preference for a product or brand, social proof helps communicate with customers when traditional methods lose effectiveness.
1. Curate Visual Social Proof To Keep Visitors Interested
You’ve used brilliant advertising to get shoppers to come to your site, now what? You need to keep them clicking, scrolling, and exploring. Social proof can help you keep the engagement up. It works especially well when it’s in visual form.
Brands selling personal care products have already figured that out. How do you keep people interested in a lip balm? How do you create an excitement for a hand cream? You focus on people who already love these products and how they incorporate them into their lifestyle.
Take Burt’s Bees, for example. The brand uses social proof like user generated photos from Instagram to show its products are relevant and on trend. This is very important for a brand whose products have been personal care staples for years.
For new niche brands, social proof is also a way to break into the market. One of the best examples is Frank Body, best known for its coffee body scrubs.
Frank encourages customers to share their selfies using the scrub on social media and then uses these photos on its website to market its products to newcomers. These user-generated photos show the brand has a cult following among skincare enthusiasts, which helps create excitement for an otherwise rather basic product.
2. Add User-Generated Videos To Create Trust
Getting a person to change up their habits and try a new brand is not an easy task. A disruption in a well-oiled routine is rarely welcome. But there’s a way to reduce the friction and convince consumers to try something new.
This is where brands selling personal care products excel. They know that it’s not enough just to show pictures of people alongside their products, they need to step up a notch their social proof game. Videos come in especially handy. They help bring the story about new products and brands alive. But not just any videos will work. They have to be user generated videos.
For example, Huggies knows how difficult it is to convince parents to switch up their preferred brand of diapers. The risks are real and not pretty. If the baby doesn’t like new diapers, there will be tears and lots of messy situations. Nobody wants that. Which is why Huggies lets other real life parents do the talking. Huggies features user-generated videos on its product pages to create a trust for its products for reluctant parents. These videos are genuine, show real people (and babies), and are a powerful evidence that a brand and its diapers are worth a try.
A similar tactic is also used by Crest. The toothpaste brand employs user-generated videos to introduce shoppers to the new whitening kit. Crest uses social proof marketing to reduce the anxiety over product’s effectiveness by letting real customers share their impressions. This makes brand’s claims about the product more believable. Shoppers more likely to buy in turn.
3. Use Product Reviews & Testimonials To Highlight The Best Bits
The beauty of user-generated content is that it helps highlight some unexpected qualities consumers love about your products and brand. For example, you might invest all your marketing powers to promote the anti-wrinkle benefits of your latest face cream, but it’s the soft texture and glow that consumers really praise it for. If this is what they love – make it known!
Customer reviews and testimonials are an excellent way to fuel up your social proof marketing efforts. Brands like Neutrogena and Oral-B capture the best parts of product reviews and use them to highlight the lesser known qualities of their products.
This not only keeps consumers invested in exploring the products but also works well in getting extra conversions. Off-script, original descriptions of the brand and product trigger interest. This, in turn, spikes up the desire to try the product and buy it.
4. Show Real People To Tackle Skepticism
The focus of social proof marketing is to give consumers a point of reference they can easily relate to and use to bond with the brand. This means inviting real customers to take part and endorse the brand.
For example, for its latest face mask that combines hi-tech with skin care, Neutrogena uses videos featuring real customers with acne-prone skin, rather than models with a perfect complexion. This helps show the effectiveness of the new product. Seeing an average person use high-tech product makes the innovation seem less scary and more approachable. This is crucial for getting consumers to try the product and purchase it.
Hair supplement brand Hairfinity also employs this approach on its site. It uses a photo gallery or real customers which show their hair growth progress, thanks to using the brand’s vitamin range.
It’s a powerful and very convincing way to demonstrate product’s effectiveness and brand’s expertise in the specific domain of personal care.
5. Get Social Proof From Influencers
Social proof marketing is not just a fancy name for using user-generated content to promote your products. It means seeking evidence everywhere. This includes also influencers who actively talk about your products and brands and share their enthusiasm with their followers. Content created by influencers, whether it’s a blog post or a product review video, is a powerful social proof. It helps create awareness for your brand and drives word-of-mouth sales.
Content created by influencers, whether it’s a blog post or a product review video, is a powerful social proof. It helps create awareness for your brand and drives word-of-mouth sales. Only one-fifth of consumers are influencers, but they affect buying decisions of 74% of the population.
For example, Laroche Posay, cult French skincare brand, features galleries of top YouTube beauty influencers on its site, who often talk about brand’s range of creams, cleansers, and treatments.
How does it help consumers? 6 in 10 people would rather follow advice over what to buy from their favorite YouTube vlogger than TV and movie celebrities. Influencers give an affirmation that the brand is trusted by trendsetters. Their hands-on experience in skincare is valued by consumers. So, having influencer’s photo, video or testimonial on the brand’s website is a powerful social proof that adds to brand’s credibility and reputation.
Of course, there’s more to social proof marketing than photos and videos. It also includes adding badges and seals that show brand’s recognition and awards, media logos, social shares, product ratings, and other evidence of brand’s excellence. You could include all of them or pick and test a few forms of social proof at a time. The important thing is to figure out what works for your site and your audience in terms of engagement and conversions, and scale from there.
Brands in personal care vertical show some truly original examples of social proof marketing, but that doesn’t mean that it’s reserved only for them. Social proof marketing works just as well for brands selling appliances, baby products, gadgets and consumer electronics. Keep your eyes open and take cues from the leading brands in order to shape your own social proof marketing strategy.