As a site with over a billion active users, Instagram is flooded with new information every second of its existence. As users continue to post, repost and generate conversations around fresh or existing content, you can find yourself surrounded by an overwhelming volley of data as you seek to find your foothold on the platform as a business brand and as a consumer alike.

Amid such a barrage of information, as a business, how do you convince other Instagrammers to follow you? How do you get your visitors and followers to get confident that your services are credible and authentic? How do you ensure that the greater number of your followers trust you as a brand and will be willing to purchase from you when hundreds of similar brands operate in the same social space selling similar services?

The key to all of this is to incorporate social proof into your Instagram marketing strategy successfully.

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is the idea that people tend to adapt and modify their behavior by watching others. This applies not just to the way we tend to dress or act but also to our consumer reaction. Because it is primarily determined by how we see others behave, social proof can be defined as the power of social and psychological influence on attitude in plain terms.

The human mind tends to follow the crowd and be convinced in trying out what the majority is inclined to try out. In other words, consumer behavior patterns are often dedicated to what they see others buy and use. For instance, if your account has a huge following, users who see it in IG feed are more likely to turn into your fans, confident that you truly deserve attention. The same thing happens with the desire to try out a product or service based on recommendations, rather than self-evaluation.

It is common to see parents send their children to the same co-curricular classes as their peers. It is also common for visitors at a new restaurant to try out what is marked as a “popular” item on their menu. All of these are results of our psychological acceptance of consumer trends. This is how social proof exists in favor of marketed products.

For marketing strategies to successfully work, you need to convince your viewers that your products are better than those of your competition. To use social proof to this end, you need to tell your potential client that you are worth their investment because everyone else has invested in you with consumer satisfaction.

Therefore, you are offering the best product out there. When it comes to social sites like Instagram, one must understand that the entire concept of building credibility and authenticity for one’s brand depends heavily on how other users of the social site perceive the brand. How you leverage this phenomenon of social proof on consumer’s purchasing powers into your marketing strategy will determine the success of your marketing campaigns on a site like Instagram to a large extent.

Six major sources provide social proof

  1. Experts in the domain – This entails having your brand acknowledged by a professional in your niche. You are likely to be looked upon as a brand of repute and quality if someone from your industry showcases your goods or speaks highly of your products or business ethics.
  2. Real-time Clients – It’s a universally acknowledged fact that word-of-mouth endorsement and praise by existing customers and clients go a long way to establish a brand’s credibility.
  3. Certifications – When your business gets certified by known institutions, it automatically gains trust in the eyes of the public.
  4. Crowd validation – Often, the majority’s purchase or consumption is taken to be a credible and authentic product.
  5. Celebrity connections – Sometimes, a brand gains popularity among potential and existing clients not so much for what they sell but for who buys their products.
  6. Familiar recommendations – This type of validation comes from those who are acquainted with your business site and services.

How can you use Social Proof to leverage your Instagram Marketing Campaign?

Instagram has immense potential for creating direct sales for businesses. The site is continually updating itself to make it more business-friendly. Now, with the addition of features like call-to-action buttons that allow sellers to make direct sales through partnered sites from their profile, and shoppable posts that allow viewers to view product tags and purchase merchandise and services without leaving Instagram at all, – the potential of the site has grown much bigger than ever.

To harness this potential in the optimal sense, it is prudent on your part to consider using the phenomenon of social proof to your advantage.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When you create your marketing campaign for the platform, determine your target audience, budget constraints, and brand potential. This will help you further determine how best to employ social proof in your campaign strategy. There are several ways of using social proof successfully in your Instagram marketing campaign. All of the above types of social proof can be incorporated into your Instagram presence to build up your business successfully. Here is a list of some avenues:

1. Influencer Marketing

This is the most apparent form of successfully employing social proof to the advantage of your business. Influencers have huge follower counts because of their ability to shape public opinion over a product or an idea. Influencers are a classic example of how the human mind tends to follow the crowd. As such, collaborating with influencers to sell your products and services is an innovative digital marketing move in today’s times. Influencers function with the same degree of influence as celebrity endorsements and industry experts. They combine qualities of both. In addition, their constant Instagram activity makes them a trusted familiar face.

Your potential customers are far more likely to try your product out if it is favorably endorsed by someone whose opinions they trust are credible and genuine.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Consider collaborating with affiliate marketers who are willing to promote your products in a favorable light. Like Influencers, affiliate marketers bank on their persuasion skills to earn their commissions. They are sure to showcase your business in a manner that is advantageous to both you and them. Affiliate marketing for your business works best when you choose to sign up someone with excellent people skills. Observe potential affiliate marketing candidates regarding how they interact and respond with their followers and viewers to ensure you are, making the best investments.

3. Testimonials

Another powerful influencing tool is testimonials from customers and clients. Showcase great feedback to attract potential customers and land a new audience outreach for your Instagram account. You can leverage the power of social proof here further by authenticating the source by tagging the users who have issued the said testimonials for your products and services.

In addition to a testimonial from customers, you can display endorsements by peers, fellow members of your niche community, infographics highlighting your position and authority in your industry, and so on.

4. Powerful connections

Have you worked with leading names and brands in the past? Has a known celebrity used your product or services? Perhaps the children of a famous person attend the courses you offer. You can advertise yourself on Instagram using these as your credibility endorsements (with the prior permission of the people or organizations) and direct public opinion in your favor. Having your brand connected to a star or an icon can bring you colossal engagement traffic and new audiences. In addition, you can double the conversion rate of such endorsements by creating shoppable posts featuring the said personalities or organizations.

5. Bring in the experts

Consider creating live sessions and recorded webinars with industry experts to add authenticity and value to your brand. You are most likely to gain customers for your services when your viewers see you in action as a respected member in your niche. You can further convert your sessions into IGTV videos with relevant keyword and hashtag-enriched descriptors to attract maximum traffic to the content, ideally towards sales conversions.

6. Advertise milestones

Consider putting up a public post of acknowledgment and celebrations every time you hit a milestone on Instagram. Keep in mind that all of your statistical metrics, including likes, views saves, shares, and even comments, affect how other platform users perceive your account. For example, you could celebrate your 100th post or your 5000th follower. Draw attention to how many users on Instagram follow and interact with you, what you offer as your services, and how it has been received in your Instagram journey.

Another efficient way of bringing milestones into public notice is by putting them in your profile information. For example, consider putting details like customer base strength and outreach in your bio and adding a URL that leads to a landing page containing testimonials and endorsements for your business to build your brand consciousness.

7. Interact with your audience

The most significant social proof you can create is by being available to your target audience. There are several ways to do this:

a) Be prompt in your responses and approachable in your communications.

b) Make yourself accessible as a humanized brand by engaging in conversations, following, and interacting with other accounts among others.

c) At the same time, offer all customer support benefits to your visitors and existing followers.

d) Shout out to your followers and organize constants and giveaways.

e) Use your hashtags to make mentions and acknowledge your clients, collaborators, and brand ambassadors.

8. Create savable content

Posts that can be curated and reused repeatedly to keep your credibility in public memory can function to your business’s advantage on any social networking site. Consider creating content with this future purpose in mind.

9. Add badges to your content

Badges and trust seals work as certification on the social media platform. If you are endorsed by media brands or your business has the stamp of approval from prominent organizations, flaunt it by highlighting your badge of support on-site. Mention your accreditations in your content or bio-soft sell yourself. You are more likely to draw potential customers to your business when you make these certifications public knowledge.

10. Go live and create stories frequently

Audiences tend to favor real-time social status as a marker of your popularity, credibility, and outreach. Both Stories and Live feature allows you to record your engagement metrics publicly. This, in addition to the fact that live videos are real-time recordings, makes Instagram traffic favor live sessions over pre-recorded videos.

11. Collaborate and engage

Apart from affiliate marketers and influencers, collaborate with other members of your community both online and offline to create events, discussion sessions, videos, and different types of content. If you are selling services in collaboration with third parties, be sure to link them into your posts to make most of their audience reach and get impressions. By joining hands with fellow sellers and content creators, you are sending out the signal that you are a believer in healthy competition and work as a team member when needed. Customers like to build consumer relationships with brands that other brands trust.

12. Display reviews and ratings prominently

You could post infographic charts, snapshots of reviews, or run stories highlighting your real-time ratings and reviews. Let your potential clients see and hear what other clients have to say about you. Increase conversions by letting your audience know the source site of the reviews and ratings received.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

13. Write the right captions

You probably already know that you must map your captions SEO-friendly and hashtag-rich to make your content discoverable and highly visible. Also, consider creating descriptions that highlight consumer trends around the subject matter of your content. For instance, if your post highlights your company’s product, then consider adding details like “rated x number of stars by y number of customers” or “customers also like ABC product”. You could also mention if the product is an award winner, a bestseller, or trending in fashion.

14. Incorporate consumer stories into your content creation

Instagram business marketing is all about reaching the right audience at the right time with the right content. Consider incorporating consumer stories and positive interactions into your created content to stretch your social proof.

To sum up

As you can see, there are countless ways of boosting your social proof to improve your Instagram marketing strategy. Leverage the right content with the right type of social proofing to ensure you are bringing yourself optimal conversion rates. With the right plan in place, you will soon see your follower count and engagement rate grow manifold as more traffic gets traction from your content.

A brand with strong social proof is likely to make direct sales on Instagram and gain real-time consumers who are not just active followers. Aim to achieve this as you set micro goals and plan your posts ahead of time. The effects of social influence are undeniable on social networking platforms. Instagram is no different. Tap into the immense positive potential of digital marketing using it as an advantage. This is the best way to make yourself stand out above your competitors and convince your target audience why they should invest in your products and services over those of others in your niche.

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