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15 ways your business can leverage social proof in digital marketing

“Even if your brand is mentioned just once by Oprah in her magazine, you will forever be known as the biscuits that Oprah loves. Isn’t that the kind of thing we’re all aiming for?”
Written by publishing team

Your business gets a great score from wine or great writing in the local newspaper. What you do next can make all the difference.

Public relations is an important component of any brand marketing and communications strategy, but mentioning it in a magazine, blog, TV ad, social media post, or newspaper is only one part of the marketing mix. The real magic lies in how brands use press cues or a wine award after the fact. Amplifying this “social proof” can help your brand build credibility, reach new audiences, and ultimately sell more of your product or service.

What is social proof?

The term social proof was first mentioned nearly 40 years ago by author Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. (The book has since been revised.) The idea is that people want to mimic other people’s apparent behaviors.

This is why word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful: the majority of people instinctively trust others in their community and look for cues on how to act.

Social proof in marketing comes in many forms:

  • Word of mouth, such as a friend or influencer sharing a link to their favorite products.
  • Peer ratings, such as testimonials or review sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp.
  • Wine prizes, such as an additional 90 Wine Enthusiast points or a gold medal from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
  • Journalism is mentioned in newspapers, television, magazines, or blogs.

Social proof isn’t just about your brand – it can be related to growth in your category or trends in your industry (check out trade journals in your industry for stats).

These cues – like a 95-point rating on a bottle of zinfandel – act as evidence that others (and sometimes these “others” have subject knowledge and therefore gain more credibility) like the product, so the questioning consumer might like it, too.

Here’s how important social proof is:

  • 91% of American shoppers look for online reviews before making a purchase, according to BizRate Insights.
  • More than 80% of Americans seek recommendations from friends and family members when making a purchase of any kind, according to Business Community 2.

When customers are looking to spend their money at a new restaurant or winery, social proof helps them decide which brand will win over another.

How to integrate social proof into your marketing

Here are some places where companies can add their latest press releases, certifications, or accolades:

  1. construction Featured in section on the homepage From your website (see RandallTheBlueSpider.com as an example). You can create links or simply add logos of places you’ve been tagged in.
  2. Specific addition Awards or testimonials on the product home page of your website. Also place it on any relevant individual product page (see 2018 Pellegrini Zinfandel AV at PellegriniSonoma.com/Wines/Wines as an example).
  3. Add new mentions to your trade/press page. For some other ideas on what to include in a press page, see our digital marketing column “6 Keys to Getting More Media Coverage for Your Brand.”
  4. Incorporating links and logos into an email blast to your customer base and create a separate email to send to your sales and supplier accounts. The first is to allow customers to feel good about buying your products, and the second is to encourage sellers to buy your products for their own shelves.
  5. Craft an email subject line with an eye-catching stat or sign From the press to get people to open it. “Our cookies are one of Oprah’s favorites – find out why!” (BigBottomMarket.com)
  6. Create shelf and bottle neck speakers with cues It is for retailers to use to sell your products.
  7. Share a sentence or two of the testimony on your social media pages. Create a quote image to share on Instagram and Twitter, share an article link on Facebook.
  8. Creates Digital ads that indicate the latest wine points And direct people to your website, or share the mention image with a link to your product/service.
  9. Show cash prizes In your traditional store. Take pictures of it and share it on social media too.
  10. Add all major press releases and accolades to your sales papers So your sales team can use social proof to get your product to more stores, restaurants, etc.

Robert Larsen, communications expert and owner of The Larsen Projekt (TheLarsenProjekt.com), a hospitality PR and storytelling agency, worked with Dry Creek Valley Pedroncelli Winery to celebrate their 90th anniversary.

He agrees that social proof can be one of the best tools for a sales team, saying, “Share the good news with the sales team. Encourage them to take advantage of good journalism to help tell your company’s unique story, to ultimately support the sale. A good review or Pressure on success signals that market influencers endorse the brand.When necessary, support the media by checking its relevance, whether it is a national or regional publication.

“Pedronncelli Winery does a good job sharing its successes with sales at all levels. We worked together in 2017 to celebrate their 90th anniversary and worked hard to get a high level of press coverage with my guidance. Furthermore, they made sure to impress the company’s sales reps, brokers and distributors And the tasting room staff is important to talk about the anniversary coverage.”

11. Create a physical card with a gift code It includes a certificate or a badge and your best clients share it with their friends/families.

12. Write a blog post about social proof and direct customers to your website (instead of sharing a link to an article that isn’t on your website via social media).

13. If you have an Instagram landing page (shanabull.com/hello-from-instagram) or Linktree, create a Link to the latest article about or award for your business Under your products link.

14. Take advantage of top prizes with your SEO strategy, as did the Big Bottom Market in Guerneville.

15. Create a file Press release announcing achievements, honors and other press mentions. Prizes can be newsworthy, especially if you’re an Oprah favorite (sonomamag.com/big-bottom-biscuits-in-guerneville).

If you haven’t started using social proof already, step back and look at some of the newspaper articles I’ve mentioned in the past and see how you can incorporate it into your digital marketing efforts going forward.

And remember to share over and over again. Getting a press mention, certificate or badge is important and you should be proud of it and share it many times. Even if Oprah mentions your brand only once in her magazine, you will forever be known as the biscuit that Oprah loves. Isn’t that the thing we’re all aiming for?

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publishing team