As much as you’d like to think, social media isn’t just for Millennials. My mom uses Facebook to connect with her hometown friends she hasn’t seen in 20+ years. I think a lot of us can relate (although we aren’t the biggest fans) that our parents are using Facebook just about as much as we all are.
So, what does that matter? We care about what our friends are doing, where they’re traveling, what they’re wearing, etc. If your friend just bought some awesome new bedding, and you’ve been thinking about revamping your sheets, you’re likely to explore what that bedding is all about. You have now been introduced to a brand you otherwise wouldn’t have had any connection with previously. This is called social proofing.
Social proofing comes in the form of testimonials, Facebook posts, Instagram pictures, Twitter tags, you name it. You may not think about it, but we subconsciously have connections to restaurants, cities, brands, and many more things that we have never actually experienced, all because our friends have vetted them and posted an awesome picture or post on a social channel and told us how awesome something is.
Even if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “but I don’t do social media.” Social proofing comes in all different shapes and sizes. If you’re looking for a new doctor, first you’re going to ask your friends for any recommendations. Second, you’re going to ask the next best-trusted source, Google. You’re going to search for the doctor online looking for some reviews from other people who you’ve never even met before, but who have experienced that doctor. This is also social proofing.
To gather organic social proofing for your e-commerce brand, here are a few suggestions:
- Integrate a review app/plugin/platform that makes it easy for a customer to submit a review quickly after receiving their purchase.
- Run a user generated contest on Instagram and/or Facebook.
- Have the customer post how they enjoy their product.
- Incentivize the contest with a prize (free products work really great)!
- Set up a referral reward program where you incentivize the purchaser to refer their friends. The purchaser will accumulate points for sharing on their social channels, and the person they’re referring will also receive an incentive if they make a purchase.
As you can see, social proofing can have a lot of power, whether it’s engaging and incentivizing your current customer base or acquiring new potential customers through word-of-mouth.