How to build brand trust and send sales through the roof using social proof

- October 11, 2022 3 MIN READ
Line of young people using mobile phones

There’s one surefire way to boost trust in your brand and get those sales flying – social proof. Get to know the different forms of social proof and how to use them to build your business.

In the psychology of persuasion, the phrase ‘social proof’ refers to the way other people’s actions guide our own. Here’s how you can use social proof to increase your sales and brand trust.

Forms of social proof – and how to use them

1. Generate trust through testimonials

When someone else writes positive comments about you and your business, it sends a strong message that you can be trusted. Prospects are afraid of wasting their time and money doing business with someone they don’t know or trust; but testimonials generate trust through social proof.

People think, ‘If Joe Bloggs got great results using Tom’s service, then I want to use Tom’s service too’.

There’s no doubt that client testimonials win customers.

Don’t restrict yourself to written testimonials, either. One of my clients has recently experienced a marked increase in daily enquiries due, in part, to placing video testimonials on her home page. Why the increase? Because social proof is powerful.

2. Win business with word of mouth and referrals

As with testimonials, word of mouth and referrals are a verbal form of social proof, and can have a huge impact on sales.

While personal recommendation is the gold standard, you don’t need to wait for your clients to talk about you in order to harness the potential of word of mouth.

If you’ve ever bought a product from Amazon, you’ll be familiar with the line, ‘Customers who bought this item also bought …’ Not only are Amazon reassuring you that other smart people have purchased the product you’re about to buy, but they’re using social proof to persuade you to buy additional products at the same time.

Creating an ‘Our clients’ page on your website that lists a range of people and businesses you’ve worked with is another excellent form of social proof. It shows that other people have trusted you enough to hand over their money – and the world didn’t end as a result of this transaction! Indeed, quite the opposite.

Man using mobile to leave 5 star rating - interactive content

3. Spread your reach with social media

Having a certain number of connections, followers and fans on social media is another way of harnessing the power of social proof. People see other folks connecting with you, and they want to be part of the action.

For tips to build up your social media fan base and get your followers talking about you and your brand, check out these six hot tips to make social media work for your business.

4. User generated content (UGC)

One of the most powerful forms of social proof today is user-generated content. UGC refers to content created by people who are not an official representative of your business.

It may be:

  • a social media update naming, linking or tagging your business
  • an unprompted review on your social media pages or their own
  • a video of your products, such as an unboxing video
  • a brand mention in a podcast or blog

If your brand is involved but no employees or affiliates created it, it’s user-generated content.

UGC brings authenticity and trust to your brand, as they are perceived as more ‘real’ than a review or testimonial that was prompted by the business.

Tips to highlight your social proof

Other people talking freely (and positively!) about your business brings powerful credibility to your brand. So, be sure to harness every bit of that goodwill by sharing the love.

Some tips include:

  • Reposting reviews, testimonials and UGC on your own social pages and website
  • Sharing your social proof wins in your newsletters to customers and clients
  • Commenting on others’ social media posts that mention your brand – a simple thank you from a business goes a long way, and also helps to bring new followers to your social media pages

Even if you didn’t know what the term ‘social proof’ meant before reading this article, I bet you’ve already harnessed its power to generate leads and increase sales.

So, are you using your brand’s social proof effectively?

This article has been updated for 2022.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"