How to Build Social Proof for Your Small Business

By Thomas Griffin,
business.com writer
|
May 29, 2020
Image Credit: Prostock-Studio / Getty Images

Building trust with consumers is one of the fastest ways to grow your small business. Here's how to build social proof and generate more leads.

Are you struggling to generate leads and traffic for your small business? If so, you're not alone. Surveys show that a whopping 63% of marketers and business owners have trouble getting consumers to stay invested in their brand. 

Why? 

The main reason consumers hesitate to trust businesses is they don't see any signs showing they should feel good about handing over their credit card information and email address. If you want people to stay connected to your website, you have to do everything you can to gain their trust. 

Today we are going to talk about social proof, which is a psychological phenomenon grounded in trust. Essentially, social proof is the idea that people are likely to commit to a company if they see other people liking and using the same product. Similarly, interactions with companies that may be new to consumers can lead to more sales and engagement. 

Let's look at several ways you can build social proof for your website while increasing sales and boosting your lead generation efforts. 

Polish your website 

It's safe to say that we have all landed on an unpolished website when browsing the internet. When your goal is to build an audience and sell products, you cannot skimp on the quality of your website. 

The purpose of getting your site in tip-top shape is to show users that you are the real deal when they land on your homepage. You don't want people to navigate to your website only to see a cluttered mess that doesn't describe what you do or offer. 

Create a simple homepage that demonstrates your value to the community. Telling people what you do before they navigate to a second page will help build trust, which leads to more conversions. If people feel like you're being dishonest or vague on your homepage, they will leave and are not likely to return. 

You'll also want to test all of the different links, contact forms and calls to action on your site. Another red flag for consumers is a site that looks aesthetically pleasing but doesn't function properly. 

In other words, if someone wants to sign up for your email list, they should be able to quickly fill out a form and hit Submit. Check this process with a brand new email to make sure everything is working correctly. An organized, functioning site is one of the foundations of building trust with consumers. 

Gather feedback and reviews

Feedback and reviews are vital for building social proof for your business. You can gather feedback on social media, through email, or on your website. The trust-building here is long term but worth the investment. 

Let's say a bunch of people leave feedback requesting a specific feature for one of your products. If you get enough responses, you can turn this feature into a reality. As a result, the people who made the suggestion will trust your brand more because you recognized their need and took action to solve their pain point. 

Reviews are great for building trust with brand new customers. When you consider that 72% of people refuse to buy a product without reading reviews, you can see why this feature is so essential for your business. 

Allow customers to leave feedback on individual products so consumers can get a better idea of what they are buying before they enter their information. When you add reviews and testimonials to your site, you're giving the folks visiting your website a reason to trust you. Even if they've never met, the opinion of others is crucial for establishing a connection during the early stages of the buying cycle. 

Make social media engagement a priority 

Over 3.81 billion people use social media, and a staggering 80% of internet users have at least one social media account. It's clear that people talk through various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The conversations that take place on these platforms influence the decisions of countless customers across all industries. 

You can start actively building social proof for your website by making social media engagement a priority. Dive in and take part in conversations about your products, industry, and community as a whole. 

The best way to keep up with all of the different conversations is with social listening software that tells you when your brand name, or a specific hashtag, is mentioned across all social media platforms. Now that you have this information, you can stay on top of what people are saying across your industry. 

When you're actively using social media to talk to people with industry-related questions but have never heard of your brand, you're establishing yourself as an expert. If these people have problems in the future, they will seek out your brand, which could translate to a sale. 

Don't forget to actively engage with your existing subscribers. You can hold online giveaways, create polls and share valuable content to cement yourself as a reputable and trustworthy name in your field. 

Work with influencers 

Influencers are internet personalities that typically use social media or their blog to communicate with their audience. In most cases, the "product" is the personality of the influencer. They may have supplemental income such as merchandise or subscription tiers, but people tune in because they enjoy the character of the person who runs the channel of website. 

While engaging with your audience on social media is a great way to build social proof, working with influencers can take your efforts to the next level. Influencers often take on sponsorships for products and services that they believe in. This helps the internet personality make a living, but it also builds social proof for businesses. 

There are influencers that have millions of followers. When these people have an opinion, there's a group of fans that make their decision based on what their favorite influencers think. 

If you want people to trust your brand, look for reputable influencers that can promote your product to their audience. When their followers go to your site through the custom link, they will already have a level of trust due to your connection to one of their favorite internet stars. 

There are plenty of different promotions you can use when working with social media influencers. One of the most common trends involves the business giving the influencer a coupon code that will give their users a discount. In many cases, this code acts as an affiliate link, which provides the influencer with extra incentive to get people to click your link. 

Conclusion

You don't have to be an industry expert to know that there are more online businesses online than there was just last year. Due to this explosion of online retailers, consumers have a hard time putting their trust in one brand. Your job as a business owner or marketers is to sell more products by showing potential customers the value your product or service brings to the table. 

In order for them to care about your offer, they have to trust your business. Use the advice we outlined today to start building social proof for your website. Building a following of leads and customers that see you as a reputable figure in your industry will help you thrive and grow your small business. 

I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.
Like the article? Sign up for more great content.Join our communityAlready a member? Sign in.