Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to make buying decisions based on the opinions of other customers. This is something that should be included in your brand strategy, regardless of whether you’re a company or an individual. Social proof is a great way to increase trust, interest, and opportunities, and amplify those all-important conversions.
Simply put, social proof is the emotional preference for doing what other people are doing, because if other people are doing it, it proves that it must be worthwhile! #FOMO Brandable & Co. primarily focuses on individuals in the shape of personal, career and leadership brand strategy so rather than focus on traditional brands, here are three ways that you can apply social proof to your personal brand marketing strategy.
1. Testimonials, Reviews, Recommendations
These should come from a cross-section of people in your personal and professional life - clients, employers, colleagues, and friends. When you say that you are amazing, it can feel cringe-worthy, as well as leaving others feeling like you’re bragging! However, when you share what other people are saying about you, it can add to your credibility, build trust, and encourage others to engage with you. You can obtain these a number of different ways:
- Ask for these via the recommendation section on LinkedIn (see our 3-part Improve your LinkedIn Profile Guide for help with the how)
- Drop someone an email and ask if they can write you a testimonial that you can share on social media
- Send out a survey and ask people to anonymously answer a series of questions (see our free Ask the Others Guide which gives you examples and walks you through the process)
Why not turn these into social media posts and share them with your audience, and meet the potential opportunities that may be just around the corner?
2. Client, Employer or Media Brand logos
Companies, and individuals often display logos on their websites as social proof that trusted brands support them. You can do the same on your CV (or resume), LinkedIn profile, social media feeds, and blog or website (where applicable). Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:
- Social media: Where appropriate, you can always list the top one or two client names in your bio. Depending on the social platform, there are different ways you can showcase client logos which could include:
- Pinned tweets
- IG Story Highlights
- Header / Banner images
- LinkedIn Featured section
- Website: These can be showcased wherever they are best suited – on the home page, client page, about page, in the footer, or on the header. There’s no wrong or right but if they’re important enough to feature, make sure that any visitors to your site can easily spot them.
LinkedIn will probably already show these on your job listings (if the employer has a company LinkedIn page) but have you considered adding them to your CV alongside each job section? It might just be the thing that makes you stand out from the standard CV crowd.
PRESS & MEDIA LOGOS
If you have written posts for blogs, had your thought leadership pieces published or you've been featured in the press and media, these can be shared in the following ways:
- LinkedIn: Upload as a pdf or slide share in the Featured section of your profile, or in a job role (by choosing the upload media option). You can also get creative in Canva and make a ‘Featured In’ banner across an image that you can display as your profile header. (Tip: check how this appears on desktop and mobile as the change of screen size may crop your image)
- Twitter: As above, you can create a banner header that showcases the logos of media outlets you’ve been featured, quoted or appeared in. You can also put all the logos onto a 16:9 image (Canva is the easiest way to do this) and post it, then save it as a pinned tweet so that it’s always visible at the top of your feed
- IG: The easiest way to keep this together and succinct is to post to your Story and then add them to a highlight called Featured In / As Seen In
- Blogs and websites: These can be added to About sections, and if you have a lot of logos to share, create a media / press page when you can showcase them
3. Qualifications, Certifications & Awards
Credentials, industry certifications and awards can also be used as social proof. Are you displaying them for your audience to see?
- There is an Accomplishments section on your LinkedIn profile that give you the space to showcase these (again, see our 3-part LinkedIn guide for an overview and help with the how)
- List them on your website or blog if you have one
- Where appropriate, add them to your email signature
- Pop them on your social media channels, as per the logo section above
Hopefully that has got your brain fizzing, given you some easy to implement ways to jump into action and provided insight into how you can use social proof to strengthen your brand, improve your career, or grow your business.