You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

This Is How You Get New Customers to Trust You Right Away Learn how to use the five types of social proof marketing.

By Scott Oldford

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

ponsulak | Getty Images

I'm sorry to tell you this, but most people do not trust you.

It has nothing to do with you as a person, or your business, values or past. The fact is, we live in a world where we wake up every single day, bombarded with messages, ideas, "opportunities," and people trying to capture our attention.

Related: Online Reviews Are the New Social Proof

There's too much white noise, which makes your job as an entrepreneur harder than ever.

Because when you break business down into its simplest form, your job is to build enough trust with your audience so they feel comfortable buying from you. In the past, this was easy. All you had to do was appear on TV and they would trust you in an instant.

Today, it's much harder.

Which is why social proof marketing is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan. Because although people may not trust what you have to say about yourself, they do trust what other people have to say about you. According to Nielsen, 83 percent of respondents to its Global Trust in Advertising Report trust the recommendations of friends and family, while BrightLocal found 85 percent of respondents to its Local Consumer Review Survey trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Related: Why You Need Social Proof on Your Website

Social proof marketing provides you a platform to speak to people you do not know yet. From there, you can build their trust, but until you capture their attention you have nothing to work with.

So, how do you do this? It begins with these five types of social proof marketing you need to start using now.

1. Customer action proof

This sort of social proof marketing comes direct from your customers' mouth. It involves them saying:

  • "I bought this, it was great."
  • "I downloaded this guide."
  • "I watched this video."
  • "I attended this webinar and stayed until the end."

It isn't specific and doesn't offer any tangible results, but it does show your audience that other people have already taken action, and that the content you create is valuable.

When it comes to social proof marketing, this is the bare minimum. Without this, you cannot expect people who do not know you to trust you in any form.

Related: The Majority of Small-Business Owners Rely on Word-of-Mouth Referrals. Here Are 3 Ways to Get Them.

2. Testimonial proof

These are the generic testimonials you have no doubt seen on countless websites, book covers and product pages. It involves an industry influencer saying something like:

  • "When I need help with online marketing, I turn to Scott."
  • "Scott is the most engaging speaker I have ever seen."
  • "When Scott publishes a new video, I make sure I watch it."

Again, this form of social proof marketing isn't specific. It doesn't dive into any tangible result, but it can prove influential in your audience's decision-making. It reaffirms to them that you are someone to trust, and that what you create is worth their attention. You build authority through an association with someone else.

3. Authority proof

There are many ways to prove your authority, although much of it revolves around PR:

  • "Featured in Entrepreneur Magazine"
  • "Named Top 10 Marketer in Entrepreneur.com"
  • "New York Times Bestselling Author"

Social proof marketing like this helps you build an element of authority. Whether it focuses around a publication, TV show or "top 10" list, it shows your audience that you are someone worth listening to.

Although a few logos on your website won't help you build long-lasting trust, it does elevate you to a certain level with someone who has just met you.

Related: 5 Proven Ways to Get More Customer Reviews On Google and Facebook

4. Social media proof

This is where it gets interesting. In today's social media-centered world, this form of social proof marketing can prove very influential. It focuses on:

  • How many followers you have;
  • How many likes or comments a post gets;
  • Whether your profile is "verified."

This is a more powerful form of social proof marketing because it provides instant and tangible results.

It proves to others that hundreds of people have read your post and liked it. They can see how popular your community is, and the sort of impact you have on others. It's an organic form of social proof, because although you can manipulate the previous three approaches, it's harder to do so here.

Related: How Online Customer Reviews Help SEO and Drive Sales Growth

5. Case study proof

This is the most powerful form of social proof marketing, and it involves your actual customers providing in-depth video testimonials or case studies.

When it comes to building meaningful trust with your audience, a short, three-minute video goes a long way. It doesn't need high production value or a well-known authority figure. A "real" customer is enough, so long as she explains how you helped her, and the impact you've had on her business.

A case study video creates a journey, showing your audience where you customer used to be, the gap between the problem and solution, and the process you took to fix it.

Hands down, this is the best form of social proof marketing because it's the most specific. It won't help you capture someone's attention (that's what the other four types are for), but when it comes to building real trust and authority, this is what you need and this is how you get the sale.

So, whatever your aim for this year is, be sure to make social proof marketing a priority. It not only helps you build trust with your audience, but it simplifies their decision-making. Without this in your marketing plan, you will struggle to go from six to seven figures. Your job is to stand out from the white noise, and this is how you do it.

Scott Oldford

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Mentor, Advisor & Investor for Online Entrepreneurs

Scott Oldford has helped build and scale countless 6, 7 & 8-figure online businesses in the education, certification, coaching, consulting and courses niche.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Devices

Solo Traveling Entrepreneurs Will Love These Translation Earbuds — $90 Through April 21

The Mymanu CLIK S Translation earbuds have been featured at CES multiple times and won the Red Dot award.

Business News

Nike Responds to Criticism Over U.S. Women's Olympic Uniforms: 'Everything's Showing'

The company is the official outfitter for the U.S. Olympic track and field athletes.

Side Hustle

This Flexible Side Hustle Is Helping Millions Earn Extra Cash — and Might Be 'More Attractive' Than an Office Job

Side hustles remain popular for additional income — and have many questioning the 9-5 model altogether.

Business News

The 'Silver Tsunami' Meets 'Golden Handcuffs' as Past Low Mortgage Rates Lock in Homeowners — Whether They Like It or Not

The resulting lower supply of homes, and population growth outpacing construction, has led to a 7.2 million home shortage.

Starting a Business

The Most Successful Entrepreneurs Know How to Say 'No.' Here's the One Exercise You Need to Learn This Skill.

There's a robust correlation between success and having the ability to say "no" to opportunities that don't serve you. Here's how can learn how to master the art of saying "no," too.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.