How To Implement Social Proof Onto Instagram
How do you boost your brand credibility on a fast-paced social media platform such as Instagram? It’s actually not that hard – and it’s very similar to how you’d promote an ecommerce website. You just need social proof. In this post, we’ll do a quick overview of what social proof is, why it’s important, and how you can integrate types of social proof into your Instagram account to boost follower count, engagement, and consumer trust.
What is social proof?
Social proof, also known as “informational social influence,” is a term coined by psychology and marketing professor Robert Cialdini to refer to the human behavior of following and looking to others in decision-making to see and model what is “correct behavior.”
Why is social proof important
The idea of social proof plays greatly into marketing, especially on a very jam-packed platform such as Instagram. With 25 million business accounts reported in 2017 and a projected 75.3% of U.S. businesses using Instagram in 2020, it’s clear Instagram is the place to be for marketing and branding.
Like with online shopping, people look for similar signs of trust when browsing Instagram (especially if it’s to discover new brands and products). What do other shoppers like – are there suggestions, reviews, or testimonials? Does this brand have a following? Do other brands or notable publications recommend this company? Has the company won any awards? As a business, it’s crucial to not just get your branding and product/service out there, but to also make page visitors obligated to buy from you.
Examples of social proof
There are many ways to show verification, popularity, and trust for your business. Here are some popular methods:
Wisdom of the Crowds
Majority rules, right? Wisdom of the Crowds is the principle of numbers. The more people that favor or like or recommend (or review) something, the more appealing it is.
Users & Customers
One of the biggest influencers in consumerism, the word of an existing user or customer is vital to encouraging a total stranger to pay your business a visit (and possibly make a purchase).
They’re often sought after for endorsements for a reason. The stamp of approval or recommendation of a product from a celebrity can greatly boost your brand visibility. The trick? Products or services endorsed by a celebrity tend to absorb that celebrity’s “wow” factor.
And of course, sometimes, you just gotta leave things to the experts. Selling a face serum? Get a dermatologist or esthetician to speak about your product. Pushing a tool kit for cars? Try getting a car mechanic to recommend your item. The idea here is figures of authority can hold power and emit a “wow” factor of their own if they recommend or speak about something.
People Similar to You
Like with Users & Customers, hearing a recommendation from people like you helps boost your likeliness of trying or buying something. Because the chances are, if someone with similar tastes and needs as you liked something, you will too.
Circle of Friends
Trusting your friends is always a good thing. If you see one of them using some service or a recently purchased product, you’ll likely give it a try since the suggestion is coming from someone you trust and are close to. This aspect of social proof can also apply to your family.
How to integrate social proof onto Instagram
Let visitors know it’s the real you. Go into your Instagram profile settings to request a verification badge. By gaining that blue check next to your profile name, visitors will be assured they are visiting and interacting with the real profile of a brand (and not a knock-off).
Following the Wisdom of the Crowds, your follower count lets profile visitors know that hey, you’re actually quite popular and probably worth following. Want to learn how to attract today’s young Instagram audience? Consider some tips.
When it’s time to up the ante, reaching out to influencers is a solid method for building social proof for Instagram. Whether industry experts or some real big-name celebrities, you can utilize the Expert and Celebrity methods of social proof to add credibility and endorsement to your page.
Whether through page takeovers or sponsored posts, featuring an authoritative figure or industry insider can boost views and engagement (and of course, brand trust) for you.
Repost Mentions & Give Shout-Outs
Has another brand mentioned you in a post? Has a customer posted about your product in an Instagram Story? Utilize this user-generated content by reposting (hey, it’s free pre-made content). Learn how to repost with some easy (and free) apps. To give a shout-out, simply tag a person’s Instagram handle to give them a mention in your post.
Your Brand Bio
A place to tell visitors a bit about yourself, the brand bio of an Instagram profile is valuable real estate. Whether you have a brand slogan or short statement about your brand, this is the place to describe yourself. You also want to ensure that you put your website URL here for visitors to visit. Or, you can utilize a link service that will allow you to create multiple CTAs for all your posts – some popular services include Linkin.bio, Shorby, and Linktree.
You’ve probably realized that you’ve already done a lot of these social proof tactics as you set up and opened your social media accounts. And that’s good. It’s also likely that some of these suggestions, such as partnerships with experts and influencers, are already part of your social media strategy. It’s just about the continuous implementation of various tactics (ex. Brand mentions, awards, shout-outs, reposts) as part of your strategy. Once you have many of these in full gear, your Instagram account will be booming.
SUMMARY: Social proof is vital to digital success, as it helps customers decide what to believe, follow, and eventually purchase. Thankfully, there are easy ways to add social proof to your Instagram account (and you’re probably doing a lot of this or working towards it already).