Why Social Proof should be used as a Sales Tool

Selling is one of the biggest costs for most companies, with every 6th employee at growing companies being a salesperson. 14.5% of Twitter employees, 15.7% of LinkedIn’s and 32% of Salesforce.com workers are in sales. Similar percentage of employees in companies like Facebook, Google, and Groupon also work in sales, not technology.

The Use of Social Proof as a Sales Tool is Greatly Underrated

On an intuitive level, many e-commerce businesses understand the importance of social media in attracting new customers and convincing them to buy. Yet, according to Harvard Business Review data, the amount of total spend by the U.S. companies on social media is 1/30th of their ad spending and only 1% of their sales budgets. Few businesses, as hard data shows, rely on social media to drive sales. Business owners pay attention to areas where they spend money, so if they spend less than 1% on social media then it is only natural that they should spend no more than 5 minutes per workday thinking about it. That needs to change – and this article describes how social media can be re-focused to generate one of the most valuable assets: the social proof.

Why Social Proof is a Great Match with Social Media

Almost every business seeks to maximize positive word-of-mouth advertising, yet few realize the degree to which conversations How can businesses convince customers they’re great in the age when most of us tune out sales messages outright? Nothing is more convincing than an honest review with whom you know or perceive as trustworthy – and social proof is the perfect tool for that. Visit Products Page

There are several varieties of social proof and you should consider using a combination of them as part of your sales process:

  • 1. Expert: Approval from a credible expert, like a magazine or blogger.
  • 2. Celebrity: Approval from celebrities or someone in the public eye.
  • 3. Customer: Approval from current customers, such as testimonials, endorsements and reviews.
  • 4. ‘Wisdom of the Crowd’: Highlighting approval of many (i.e. ‘1,265 people bought this item’)
  • 5. ‘Wisdom of Friends’: Approval from those who are part of your social networks.
Social proof helps convert website visitors into customers by reinforcing their decision to buy with information from other users, their friends or trusted experts. By playing off of the “me too” validation of the crowd, the trusted expert, or the fear of missing out, you can compel more visitors to take the last step and complete their purchase. So when you’re looking for ways to optimize your conversion rate, think of how social proof can work in your favor.

Get Social Proof to Join Your Sales Team

If you haven’t already done so, consider integrating your social media accounts with your e-commerce website. There are several services that integrate social features into your website like AddSocial, or you can bundle social features with a customer rewards program like Sweet Tooth. Social feature services like that (or even custom social widgets added by your web developers) will allow you to:
  • Show off social media activity surrounding your brand and your products
  • List reviews written by trusted real social media participants
  • Allow the undecided customers to bookmark your website by liking your brand
  • Solicit feedback and invite a two-way conversation with customers
  • Create an outlet for customers to generate pictures and videos for you
  • Encourage discussion among potential customers right on your website
  • Add credibility with customer statistics
A word of warning: keep in mind that having the tools on your website with no content can actually backfire. Therefore, it is best to implement social ecommerce tools along with a customer rewards program or by offering customers discounts, special offers and freebies for social actions that you seek to encourage. The folks at Demandforce created a great Infographic to help you see how Social Proof can help your e-commerce website: (click on the image to view in a separate tab) Social Proof for Ecommerce Social Proof for Ecommerce via Demandforce

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