Humans are wired to copy the actions of other people that they relate to. When a child sees another child playing with a toy, he or she immediately gets drawn to it without even thinking twice. Adults seek validation from their peers when making important decisions. Studies show that up to 67% of people are influenced by reviews when shopping online. Diners will often read through countless restaurant reviews before deciding where to go eat. Travelers will spend months researching destinations and reading about other people’s experiences when planning their own trips. We simply cannot resist the urge to copy one another because it removes the guesswork from decision-making. It also makes us look trendy and fashionable. If you take a look at any close group of friends, chances are that they all have the same smartphone make, listen to the same music, and even have the same sense of humor. That is social proof in full effect. Nearly every brand that managed to become a household name incorporated social proof in its marketing, including Coca-Cola and Apple. Social media companies have used it to lure more than half of the entire world’s population to their platforms, a feat that otherwise would have been impossible. If you can find a place for it in your marketing strategies, then you’ll be able to transform your business. 5 Easy Ways to Build Social Proof 1. Ratings and reviews Ratings and reviews are undoubtedly one of the best ways of standing out on the internet. Majority of consumers rely on them when faced with purchase decisions. The more positive reviews you have, the more credible your business appears, and therefore the easier it becomes to convert leads into paying customers. Put together a plan on how to start accumulating ratings and reviews for your business. In many cases, all you’ll have to do is ask for them from your customers. You can ask in “thank you” emails, in payment receipts, and even directly through phone calls. Ensure that they are clearly displayed on all your digital platforms, including your website, social pages, and directory listings. Also make it a point to respond to every review you get, whether positive or negative. Negative reviews are extremely useful because they give a clear indication of the areas that need improvement. If you notice that you’re getting numerous complaints on a particular area, then you know that it’s something you need to have a look at. 2. Get featured on popular publications Most blogs, newspapers, and magazines are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting content. If your business has a unique angle or an inspirational story to tell, then it might qualify to get featured. You can find such opportunities by simply reaching out to every local publication you’ve seen covering other businesses which are similar to yours. They’ll usually get back within days if they’re interested in your story. You can even offer to write the article yourself and edit it to their standards, if it makes things easier for them. Another way to get free coverage is by signing up on platforms like Help a Reporter Out where you get to share your expert opinion on various things. A lot of mainstream media outlets such as Mashable and TIME Magazine use such platforms to find quotes to use in their stories, and give full accreditation to the people that they publish. 3. Publish blog posts Most people do some form of research whenever they need anything, whether a product, service, or just some answers to their questions. A blog enables you to get in front of their eyes right at that point of research. The more times they encounter your brand online, the more familiarized they get with it. Consumers are usually more likely to buy from businesses that they recognize. You can publish blog posts on any trendy and in-demand topics in your industry. For example, if you have a graphic design business, you can write posts such as “5 things to know before designing your company logo” and “top 10 graphic design services”. WordPress is the most widely used platform for building professional websites and blogs. If you don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself, you can use services of an expert developer to do it for you free of charge. 4. Monthly Contests Doing contests is a great way of generating publicity and getting people to engage with your business more than they normally would. The contest can take many different formats. For example, if you have a social media page with a decent following, you can have your followers like, comment, or share your posts for a chance to win something. Be generous with your prizes to encourage as many people to participate as possible, your ROI will be the publicity and social proof your business is going to get through being widely shared online. If you can get 100 people who have 500 – 1,000 followers to share content from your page, it could be seen by up to 100,000 people. The more people participate, the wider your reach. 5. Cross-promotion partnerships Partnerships enable you to achieve things that you could never have been able to on your own. Cross-promotion is the perfect example of this. You can partner with businesses that target a similar clientele like you, and then promote each other across your various channels. For example, if you have a sports equipment store, you can partner with local sports clubs, such that they recommend your shop to people who need to buy equipment, whereas you recommend their membership club to your customers. You can also actively promote each other on social media, email, and blog posts. Cross-promotion is one of the most effective, yet highly underutilized marketing strategies. It creates a win-win situation for everyone involved and barely has any costs involved. When an established business recommends you to its customers, you get instant validation and social proof by simply being associated with it.