In order to win loyal blog readers, you need to earn their trust.
Social proof could be your ticket to achieving this.
If you’ve never heard of social proof before, you’re missing out big time.
Let’s start with a quick introduction.
Table Of Contents
- 1. What is Social Proof?
- 2. Top 12 Social Proof Examples
- 2.1 Social media shares
- 2.2 Customer reviews and testimonials
- 2.3 Informative content from third parties
- 2.4 Brand mentions
- 2.5 User-generated content
- 2.6 Backlinks
- 2.7 Star ratings
- 2.8 “As seen in” banners
- 2.9 Wisdom of the crowd
- 2.10 Company logos of business clients
- 2.11 Influencer endorsements
- 2.12 Stamp of approval
- 3. How to Build Social Proof
- 4. Conclusion
What is Social Proof?
In simple terms, social proof pertains to the fact that people follow the wisdom of the crowd. From a marketing perspective, it refers to content from consumers or influencers that can boost a brand’s trustworthiness.
Obtaining social proof will start a snowball effect that will grow your blog’s authority.
With social proof, more people will be enticed to read your blog. This could lead to more sales, shares, and user-generated content – thus, giving you even more social proof.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, chances are you’re already using social proof to generate readers, leads, and customers.
You just need to use the right tools and strategies to find them.
But before we get to that, let’s go over some of the best social proof examples.
Top 12 Social Proof Examples
There are several types of social proof bloggers can use to elevate their authority:
1. Social media shares
A lot of new bloggers rely on social media shares to generate traffic.
Not only will social shares instantly grow your online reach, they’ll also build your credibility as a reputable information source.
Take note that the vast majority of people online trust word-of-mouth recommendations over all types of advertising.
It doesn’t matter if you have the best ad or content promotion in the world. Most people would still take the word of someone they know over yours.
Additionally, amassing a huge number of social media shares also serves as social proof itself.
You just need a social media marketing tool that has the option to display your content’s total share count.
2. Customer reviews and testimonials
Another way to leverage word-of-mouth marketing is by utilizing user reviews and testimonials as social proof.
Keep in mind that, before someone makes a purchase on your website, you need to address one question:
“Why on earth should they trust you?”
With reviews and testimonials, your previous customers can answer that for you.
Just remember that there’s a huge difference between a testimonial and a proper customer review.
A testimonial is a short statement that describes someone’s experience with your brand. It can be shown anywhere, be it on social media, online forums, or your own website.
Just like testimonials, reviews also talk about someone’s experience with a brand – albeit longer and more in-depth.
They’re often submitted on review platforms and other blogs. In certain niches, products are also widely reviewed on websites like YouTube.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget about readers who leave comments on your blog posts.
Blog comments that leave positive feedback are just as good as testimonials from customers and other brands you’ve worked with. You can argue that they’re even better since visitors can see them as they read your blog.
3. Informative content from third parties
When it comes to building buyer confidence, there’s one thing that’s significantly better than product reviews.
I’m talking about informative, high-quality content that features your brand.
Tutorial videos on YouTube, for example, will do more than just introduce a brand to a wider audience. It will also educate viewers on how to use the brand’s product or service and how well it performs.
And if there’s one thing more powerful than social proof, it’s actual proof that something works as promised.
Of course, tutorials don’t have to be in video form to be convincing.
As long as there are high-quality visuals in the mix, in-depth tutorial articles can also convert leads.
In fact, regular blog posts are more accessible to a lot of users, particularly those without a high-speed internet connection. Articles are also more scannable, especially if they use a table of contents and readable headings.
4. Brand mentions
Ever got mentioned by a thought leader, CEO, or anyone famous in your industry?
Being mentioned by someone important, be it on social media, their own website, or an event, is great social proof.
If they have a large reach, the mention itself should be enough to bring quality traffic right to your doorstep.
You can also use positive brand mentions as proof that people are getting value from your brand.
Look at positive mentions as testimonials that can help you win the trust of even more people.
If someone mentioned you while sharing a suggestion or question, be sure to respond professionally and appropriately. Focus on having a meaningful conversation so you can get a quotable response you can share with your own audience.
5. Other user-generated content
Reviews, testimonials, and informative content are all types of user-generated content.
They are created and published by people who have firsthand experience with your brand. As such, other people are more likely to believe them than some ad you published on Facebook.
Apart from the three mentioned above, there are other types of user-generated content you can leverage as social proof:
- Social media photos – Your existing customers may post a photo with your brand and not tell you about it. They may not even mention your brand at all, but they should still make your brand more recognizable.
- Messenger Days and Instagram Stories – “My Day” content on Messenger and “Instagram Stories” are both appealing to users because they don’t last forever. If someone mentions you in their Instagram Story, you can be sure that they truly appreciated your brand.
- Posts in online communities – You may not know it yet, but people could be recommending your brand to others in forums and groups. These posts will definitely bring business to your website whether or not you consciously capitalize on them.
Yes – the favorite asset of SEO professionals is also a type of social proof.
Backlinks can do a lot of great things for your blog. It can give you targeted traffic, improve your search engine rankings, and boost your authority.
The effects of a backlink are amplified if it’s coming from a popular website with a loyal readership.
If the brand they trust leads them to your blog, they’re definitely more likely to trust you from the get-go.
7. Star ratings
If you review products or share recipes, you can use star ratings as social proof.
Tons of people take a quick glance at star ratings when shopping for products online. As a matter of fact, most people won’t bother reading a full review if the product has low star ratings.
According to statistics, 57 percent of consumers will only buy or use something that has at least four stars.
That’s reason enough to believe that users also prefer content, like food and DIY recipes, with high star ratings.
Check out how I am a food blog uses star ratings in their recipe posts.
Looks good, right?
You have to admit – star ratings look pretty cool.
Star ratings can also make your content more clickable on search engine results.
They also give you a shot at appearing in rich snippets, like recipes on Google.
8. “As seen in” banners
You know you built your “street cred” once you get featured in big-name publications.
By featured, I mean content like:
- Interview posts with you
- Guest posts you submitted
- Reviews that mention your brand
- Collaborative posts you helped with
How to leverage those as social proof?
Easy: put up some “as seen in” banners.
Some of my favorite bloggers of all time do it to show visitors that they’re the real deal.
For example, Nomadic Matt’s expert travel advice has been featured in mainstream publications like CNN, TIME, and National Geographic.
9. “Wisdom of the Crowds”
Ever come across online courses and other subscription-based services that brag about their user base?
I don’t blame them.
If you’re looking to spend your money on something, being tried and tested by thousands of people sounds really good. It also triggers our innate FOMO or Fear of Missing Out, especially if loads of people are getting results.
Well-known brands like the Digital Marketing Institute use this strategy to warm up new leads.
Our FOMO is also the reason why people are more likely to trust personalities with a massive following.
Users can clearly see how many are following and engaging them on social media. In turn, it’ll seem more promising for them to follow those pages or profiles themselves.
10. Company logos of business clients
Are you running a company blog?
Good news – you can easily win the trust of new prospects by featuring the logos of past and current clients.
This works best when presented alongside other types of social proof. Optimizely, for example, shares a rough estimate of their clientele size along with the logos of recognizable brands.
Sure, not every blog has a collection of business clients they can show off to new leads. But if you worked with popular brands, be it through guest posting or collaborative projects, let your audience know.
11. Influencer endorsements
A lot of businesses nowadays work with influencers to multiply their online reach or target untapped markets.
In the modern age, social media influencers are just like the celebrities you used to see in TV commercials. They can help boost your brand image plus introduce you to thousands of people through sponsored social media content.
Here’s an example of a sponsored post on Instagram:
12. Stamp of approval
On the internet, a “stamp of approval” can mean different things.
For example, you can get a “Norton Seal” by purchasing an SSL certificate from DigiCert.
This will also help convince certain types of leads to transact with you. However, I don’t really see security seals as social proof, especially if you look for the “social” aspect.
What really counts as social proof is the checkmark on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
With this checkmark next to your name, the social media community will immediately understand the following:
- You are an influential person or company in your industry
- Your account is managed by a real person
- They can expect you to share valuable, relevant, and high-quality content
How to Build Social Proof
Alright, you’re now familiar with the different types of social proof you can use to boost your blog’s authority.
What comes next is the tricky part: generating and featuring social proof on your blog.
Let’s start with something you can probably get done within the day.
1. Make your blog content more shareable
Supercharging the shareability of your blog posts doesn’t require a lot of manpower.
Naturally, you need to start by learning how to create cutting-edge content.
Here are a few posts that can help:
- 12 Powerful Tips on How to Write Persuasive Blog Posts
- How to Proofread Your Blog Posts (11 Easy Proofreading Tips)
- Step-By-Step Guide to Write High-Quality Content for Your Blog
Using a social sharing plugin
Once you have the quality of your content in check, the next step is to make sharing convenient for readers.
A social media plugin like Social Snap should cover all your bases.
Social Snap is more than just a plugin that adds social sharing buttons to your website. It is loaded with features that can help supercharge social media shares on your blog, like:
- Share counters – Show readers how many people liked your post.
- Advanced social media analytics – Understand the types of content your readers prefer.
- Social media “Auto Poster” – Automate posts to your social media channels.
My personal favorite is the floating sidebar that follows readers throughout your content and shows the total share count.
Other than that, here are some of Social Snap’s most useful features:
- URL Shortening – Social Snap uses Bitly to automatically shorten sharing links. This will encourage fussy users to share your content, especially on platforms like Twitter with strict character count limits.
- Follower counter – Remember the “wisdom of the crowds” social proof? A follower counter is a great way to utilize it straight from your blog.
- On-media share buttons – If you use a lot of visuals on your blog, you can take advantage of Social Snap’s on-media share button. This will allow users to quickly share your images, like infographics and data visualizations, on Pinterest.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to use Social Snap to improve the shareability of your blog content.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help ramp up your blog’s social media presence. With a little research, you can easily find Social Snap alternatives that can do as good a job.
2. Invite more users to write feedback
The next type of social proof you should double down on are reviews and testimonials.
If you generate a steady stream of traffic through blog posts, a simple strategy is to invite readers to comment.
I do this every time I conclude an article. And while it may not work all the time, it has definitely helped me garner loads of positive feedback.
Vishwajeet, if you’re reading this, thank you.
Encouraging more users to leave reviews
If your goal is to get more customer reviews, you can start by installing a plugin like WP Customer Reviews.
In addition to text-based reviews, WP Customer Reviews also allows readers to leave star ratings.
This means you can take advantage of two social proof types with just one tool.
Automating review request emails
Lastly, you can try automating “thank you” emails with review requests to new customers.
An email marketing platform like ActiveCampaign can help you do this with its advanced automation workflow builder.
Not sure how to write a review request email that works?
Remember that you can always incentivize review requests to encourage more people to chip in their thoughts.
ProWritingAid, for instance, offers a $10 gift card for customers who write a review on Capterra.
Apart from gift cards, you can offer your customers discounts, free downloadables, and early access rights to new products.
3. Look for brand mentions through social media listening
Want to use brand mentions to win the trust of your audience?
The easy route is to use the built-in search tool of social media networks to look for mentions.
For example, I can use my Twitter handle to easily look for tweets that mention me. All I have to do is enter “@iAnkitSingla” in the search bar and look at the top results.
Go ahead and try searching for brand mentions on your favorite social network right now. If your blog has been around for a while, chances are you’ll find a couple of mentions from other users.
Hopefully, you’re already mentioned by someone with a large social media following.
Using a social media listening tool
To streamline the discovery process for brand mentions, you can use a social media listening tool like Hootsuite.
Put simply, it is an all-in-one social media management platform with features like post scheduling, analytics, and team collaboration. Most importantly, it has a social media listening feature that will help you find brand mentions in a snap.
When you do find brand mentions, it’s important to know how to respond in a way that benefits your image:
- Questions related to your brand – If someone asks a question about you, that’s your chance to initiate contact with a prospective lead. Just provide a meaningful answer and aim to be as helpful as you can.
- Positive feedback – Positive comments from your audience are the mentions you want to use as social proof. Don’t forget to show your appreciation, especially if you’re mentioned by a popular influencer or brand.
- Negative feedback – Addressing negative comments is a great way to build a positive brand image and perhaps prevent misinformation from spreading. Whatever you do, never take a comment personally and be professional at all times.
4. Build your social media presence
This next strategy is a no-brainer.
The bigger your social media presence, the more social proof you can get. There will be more comments, shares, reactions, and connections who can spread the word on your blog.
If you haven’t yet, I recommend building a presence on major social networks, namely Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
While you’re at it, you should also consider participating in Q&A websites like Quora.
Here are a few resources that can get the ball rolling:
- How to Start a Blog on Instagram
- How to Drive 50,000 Visitors Per Month to Your Blog From Pinterest in 2021
- How to Get Traffic From Quora – Quora Marketing Guide (2021)
5. Create “Skyscraper” content to generate backlinks
Truth be told, my current content strategy is heavily inspired by Brian Dean’s “Skyscraper Technique.”
In case you didn’t know, it’s a link building strategy that involves three key steps:
- Step 1: Look for popular, “link-worthy” content
- Step 2: Write something better in every way
- Step 3: Reach out to people who linked to the original content
Sure, I don’t do a lot of outreach for links. But I’m a big fan of borrowing inspiration from link-worthy content and writing something even better.
If you’re after social proof, however, I suggest you don’t skip step number three.
That’s essentially what makes the Skyscraper Technique a link-building strategy.
A tool like Semrush should have all the features you need to execute the Skyscraper Technique from start to finish.
It can help you look for popular content, pick better keywords, outshine your competitor, and spy on their backlink sources.
For a more in-depth look at SEMrush’s features, click here to read my full review and tutorial.
6. Run an influencer marketing campaign
Whether you like it or not, social media influencers can help skyrocket a brand’s popularity – seemingly overnight.
Influencers can lend you their social reach, credibility, and, of course, influence.
However, they almost never work for free.
According to statistics, social media influencers typically charge anywhere between $10 to over $25,000 per post depending on the platform. There are also some celebrities who charge over $1 million per post on Instagram.
These huge discrepancies in pricing depend on the number of followers an influencer has:
- Nano influencer – Up to 10,000 followers ($2 to $250 per post)
- Micro influencer – 10,000 to 100,000 followers (
- Macro influencer – 100,000 to 1 million followers
- Mega influencer – Over 1 million followers
In some cases, an influencer may be willing to post about a brand in exchange for free products. This is called “product seeding” or “influencer gifting,” which usually ends up with the influencer reviewing what they received.
Tech YouTubers get free gifts all the time from companies who want to cash in on their online reach.
Apart from product seeding and paid posts, below are other types of influencer partnerships you can land:
- One-time shoutouts – Paid shoutouts are the simplest form of influencer content. They don’t cost a fortune and are a great way to ease into the influencer marketing economy.
- Brand ambassadorship – If you want influencers who will proudly represent your brand in front of the masses, you’re looking for brand ambassadors. This type of influencer partnership can be done on either a short-term or long-term basis.
- Giveaways – A lot of influencers love getting their audience involved by running giveaways. The brand, of course, will provide the prizes in exchange for bigger brand awareness.
- Social media takeovers – In a social media takeover, an influencer will be granted full access to a company’s specific social media account. Influencers, of course, will use their own reach to promote the brand and your content to followers.
7. Share your blog’s milestones over the years
Keeping a record of your achievements is one of the best things about being a blogger.
It’s also a genuine and effective way to build social proof that your target audience will appreciate.
There are two ways to share your blog’s achievements with readers:
Writing a detailed “About” page
Achieved something amazing lately?
Feel free to update your “About Me” page.
This is ideal for older blogs, especially if their “about” page is already generating organic traffic from search engines. Just edit your page, add in your latest accolades, and hit save.
Here’s a snippet from one of my favorite “About Me” pages of all time – featuring Matthew Kepnes of Nomadic Matt:
Still haven’t worked on your “About Me” page yet?
Don’t forget to read my six-step guide on writing an about me page.
Publishing content to celebrate the occasion
If you recently accomplished something significant, don’t hesitate to publish a special post for the occasion.
It can be a short post that highlights your achievement and expresses your gratitude to those who supported your brand. Alternatively, you can
Here are some milestone ideas you can talk about:
- Making your first sale
- Making your first $1,000
- Surpassing 10,000/100,000/1,000,000 page views per month
- Getting your first X subscribers
- Your blog’s anniversary
- Reaching X members on your Facebook group
The best part is you don’t have to spend a single cent to talk about your blog’s milestones. Just focus on what you do best, set your own goals, and be rightfully proud once you achieve them.
Unless, of course, if you want to hire someone to design an infographic that shows your blogging journey.
Check out what Mia – the blogger behind Beautiful, Inspiring, Creative Life – features on her website:
8. Run a social media contest
Here’s a fun way to get social proof: running social media contests.
Something as simple as a hashtag contest on Instagram can get your page a lot of likes, shares, and comments. You can also plan contest mechanics that require participants to upload images, which you can then use as social proof.
The game plan is really simple:
- Come up with a good prize – It can be a voucher, freebie, cash, or anything your target audience finds valuable. Avoid offering anything that requires customers to make a purchase or hand out their personal information.
- Plan something fun – A typical strategy is to have participants upload something related to your brand. It can be a photo with your product or a caption to an image you’ve uploaded.
- Add in the rules – When running contests, you can require participants to follow or like your page, share a post, or both. If you’re running a hashtag contest, think of a cool hashtag that participants need to include.
If you’re active on social media, you actually see this done by businesses all the time – regardless of size.
For example, take a look at this Instagram contest by L&T Electrical and Automation:
The prize is a simple voucher, but the mechanics are simple and fun enough to encourage participation.
For more elaborate contests, consider getting a giveaways platform like Rafflecopter.
It allows you to host giveaways across all major social networks, design beautiful entry forms, and instantly pick winners. You can also funnel the contacts you obtain through Rafflecopter into various email platforms, including Mailchimp, AWeber, and GetResponse.
9. Do reverse guest posting
A lot of bloggers forget that guest posting can be done both ways.
You can submit guest posts to other websites to gain backlinks, some traffic, and exposure. If your blog is authoritative itself, you’ll start getting emails from other people who want to do the same.
Of course, you can also invite other bloggers to write guest posts for your blog.
In the SEO world, this is called “reverse guest posting,” which sounds pretty cool if you ask me.
There are a few benefits of reverse guest posting you should know about:
- Get quality content – First of all, reverse guest posting is a good way to obtain high-quality content for your blog. In some cases, you could even get the content for free.
- Generate social media shares – After submitting a guest post to your blog, chances are the contributor will share the live post with their audience. This should bring lots of attention to your blog, especially if the contributor is already popular.
- Build your brand image – Accepting guest posts from influencers is a solid way to showcase your association with them. As a result, their fans and your visitors should see your brand in a positive light.
Just be sure to pick your guest post contributors carefully.
You can refer to my blogger outreach guide for the tools and strategies for finding influencers in your niche.
Once you’ve found them, you need to craft a pitch that will knock their socks off.
The key is to make them realize the benefits of writing for your blog. By benefits, I mean the type of audience their content will be exposed to.
Take a look at the template below to get some ideas:
See what happened there?
The first half of the email is all about building a connection with your prospect. However, you shouldn’t take too long to talk about the purpose of the email.
Most importantly, you need to talk about the size of your audience.
That’s what most potential guest bloggers really care about. And that’s exactly what you should tell them in your email.
Social proof is a budding blogger’s weapon in a hyper-connected world.
It can help propel your blog’s popularity and credibility to the top. But before you get it, you need to earn it.
Hopefully, the strategies above will help you get some real results soon. In the meantime, you can leave a comment below if you have questions, suggestions, or general feedback.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
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