A loyal client base is paramount for a successful business. To build a loyal base you need to earn your clients trust, which is why developing your social proof is critically important for your business.
What is social proof?
Coined by the author Robert Cialdini in the book Influence, social proof is the influence that the actions and attitudes of the people around us (either in real life or online) have on our own behaviour. The “proof” element is the idea that if other people are doing it (or saying it), it must be correct.
How to build social proof for your business —
1. Get experts rooting for you
Networking with experts in the field your business operates is a great way to start and nurture relationships that will pay off for your business in leaps and bounds! Experts are thought leaders and have already built trust within their area of expertise. If you’re able to engage (with a monetary exchange), collaborate (produce a piece of work together) or simply ask an expert to talk about your business (free of charge), it can be a great way for your business to build its social proof. Experts are teachers, they’re trusted, if they believe in your product or service enough to share it with their network, that is a massive win for your business!
If you’re hoping to connect with an expert, just remember they are people too! They make friends just like anybody else, they go to networking events, give presentations, and participate in online communities on Facebook or LinkedIn. Reach out, comment and give your views on information they share, attend their presentations, be visible in their online and offline community (in a professional, non-creepy kind of way!)
2. Develop high-quality content
It’s been said a zillion times before, but it remains 100% true—content is king, especially when it comes to building your business’s social proof.
Focus your time and efforts on creating interesting, informative, funny or compelling content that provides real value for your clients. People value great content, and what’s more, they really value real advice that is useful and actionable (especially when it’s free!)
Great, engaging content helps strengthen trust between your business and your clients, nurturing those relationships long-term.
PRO TIP: Add a name, a short bio and/or a face to all your content. Readers tend to trust more willingly when there is a visible author credited for the content (see my pic above), they want to see that someone is standing behind the advice provided in the article they are reading.
3. Ask for reviews
This is an obvious one, but it’s also one that many business owners forget to invest time into! It seems too simple, too easy for it to be of any real use. Well yes, reviews are sort of the ‘low hanging fruit’ for building social proof, but they’re an incredible way of building trust in your product, service and business.
Visitors, both online and offline, almost always look at reviews to gauge whether a product or service is the right fit. So ask happy clients for genuine reviews, add accessible review sections to your website, and/or add testimonials to your marketing collateral.
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About the Author: Sarina Shaw is an experienced marketer with 6+ years’ experience in Marketing and Communications roles, working both locally and internationally.
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