Author : Veethee Dixit
Social proof is one of the most potent tools in today's marketing world. As marketing has slowly evolved to become such an integral part and parcel of our lives, we see new and upcoming trends that have replaced conventional ones. Marketing in the yesteryears used to be in the form of offline marketing. Nowadays, it is ruled by the internet and associated collaterals. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. have become common and default marketing tools for most companies, whether small or big.
Social proofing has emerged as one of the most popular and secure tools that help you reach your marketing goals and results. There are many ways to achieve competent social proofing for your brand. First, let us understand what social proof means and then move on to the ways to use methods of social evidence.
The meaning of social proof lies in the word itself. Proof of concept is sought or looked for by a consumer socially, meaning he looks for it in his social surroundings. How does this work? The brain is a crucial part of our body and it identifies and understands visual cues rather than just auditory or theoretical. Why are these cues most robust on visuals?
The answer is obvious. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon of "latest trends" and do what everyone else is doing. We all want that social acceptance by doing something that everyone else is following, enacting, launching, or becoming viral with, as a trend.
Social proof is a manipulative marketing tool which enables the mind to think like others and make people see and follow what you want them to. There are many mediums or sources as you may call it, to achieve social proof. Marketers have identified many such references to help this campaign tool work effectively. Let us look further at what these are.
Types of social proofs that are in use
Social proofs work through mediums to reach a target audience. Based on the categories of audiences, we can decide the different types and sources that we use for social proof. When we have a broader look at the sources, we find that there are six different types of mediums that we use. Let us have a quick look at those mediums as to what they are and how they work.
- The customer – this category includes feedback (positive or negative doesn't matter) from your existing or returning customers or users or clients, whatever you may call them. The input can be in the form of emails, comments, reviews, one on one interviews and also the history of cases of various customers.
- SMEs – SMEs or subject matter experts are the same as the people who visit your website for the hounding of information. They show similar behaviour as your site visitors.
- Famous people – This category talks about famous people or celebrities as we call them. They may be celebrities in their own fields like philosophers, opinion leaders, influencers, etc. They are people who have used your product or interacted with you to attend an event of yours.
- Data & numbers – in today's world data is king. Data and numbers become impressive selling points all on their own when placed correctly to catch the eye of the reader. Emails, campaigns, shout outs, all work well with numbers since they can be visible at a glance and have a more significant impact.
- The known factor – word of mouth is an important success tool. We rely on feedback from a friend rather than a stranger trying to sell us something. Friends or peers from our network, be it LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Any game, product, the application is more attractive if a pop up comes up – "50 of your friends like this app."
- Authenticity – Certifications, rewards, etc are a stamp of authenticity. They confirm your competence, trustworthiness, and reliability by several-fold. We as human beings don't trust our feedback sometimes, but we do acknowledge some product that has been vetted and cleared by someone else.
Different ways to incorporate social proof in email marketing campaigns
Email marketing campaigns today have become a new motto for the use of social proofs. But why does everyone want to use it? The answer lies in the proof of the pudding. Pun intended. Social or being socially connected on the net has its benefits of mass visibility and appeal. When we procure any customer, there is a significant amount of time, effort, and cost that goes into acquiring that customer. Ignoring the use of social networks increases the value that is incurred for the procurement or engagement of a client or customer. Let us look at seven simple yet effective ways to implement social proof as a concept in your email marketing campaigns.
Customer reviews talk a lot
When a customer comes across any product, he or she first look at the specifications, whether it matches their expectations. If it does, the next thing 80% of the customers do is that they look at the customer and product reviews. They want to know how the product has fared and how well it has serviced another person. If they find a good result in the first few searches, they go ahead and purchase. Inculcate these review snapshots for your trending and bestselling products to mail to your customers.
- Use the number game
People today don't believe big words and colorful messages. They are more realistic and want to see believable and tangible proof that a concept or product or brand is working in the market. They will be able to see that through the most potent tool – data. Data in terms of quarter revenue numbers, product pieces, customer acquisitions, rewards, awards, etc., go a long way in convincing the customer that a particular brand is worth it to pay attention to.
- The 'I want it too' mentality
We as human beings are very nosey to find out what others are doing, only to do the same things ourselves. The whole basis of the concept of social proof – if he is doing it, it must be reasonable, and I want to do it too. Cashing in on this concept, run a campaign which talks about your best sellers and what other people are purchasing and how beneficial they are.
Endorsements go a long way because all of us have role models, people we look up to, follow on social media handles, and want to imitate them. Getting endorsed by a celebrity of any kind is a massive deal for most people. Celebrities who have millions of followers, see and observe an endorsement, and more likely to follow them rather than following an expert. Email campaigns that highlight your current and past endorsements in the form of an event, webcast, or even a shout out can boost your sales like never before.
Famous mentions or name dropping is a potent marketing tool which enables you to name your customer (with the sufficient and required permissions) who is maybe a famous person or idol to many or student/opinion leader etc. Masses will follow them blindly and what they do becomes news and a huge trend. In an email, if you find that a celebrity has brought a product, you may go and check his or her page and then go buy the same product yourself.
And the award goes to...
There is a famous saying - if you have it, don't be afraid to flaunt it. Flaunt your successes in the form of any rewards, awards, that you may have received. Put together an email campaign that speaks about your awards and achievements to highlight to the customers.
Always take into account the number of followers that you have built and make a timeline for your brand. The number of days, frequency, and tenure you have chosen to build those followers on to your account. Special milestones that you have achieved. Make the campaign flow like a visual story that tells the customer how far you have come and what reputation your brand holds as of today.
How using social proofs improve email deliverability
Email deliverability depends a lot on your domain's reputation. Domain's reputation and trust level in turn depends on social media and online presence. More followers a domain has on social media more reputation it enjoys. Now when you pull your social proofs from social media in to your email marketing campaign it helps improving both audience engagement and email deliverability. It becomes a positive cycle with domain reputation, social media and email deliverability pushing each other positively.
Apart from this, one important tool to use is personalization. Make the customer feel special. Take feedback over emails in a general campaign to ask if the service was alright. Slip in the social proof emails in between so the customer knows you mean more to them than just an email address that is looking to purchase. A personal touch in an email can go a long way to build a mutually beneficial relationship with a customer.
Author : Veethee is a Computer Science Engineer by degree and a passionate writer by choice. The credit for her profession as a web content writer goes to the knack for writing combined with a technical background. She believes in utilising her skills to spread awareness and simplify people’s lives with her writing! When she is not busy playing the game of words, she likes to indulge herself in hobbies like reading and hitting the gym.
If you need any consultancy around setting up your email campaigns Postbox Consultancy Services can help. We have a team of experts who can help with copy writing, designing your campaigns and managing your lists and campaigns.