One of the most important shifts in consumer history is a relatively recent one. We’re talking about the steady rise of online shopping.

On the surface, it may seem like online shopping removes the person-to-person connection that can influence consumer choices. This model of behavior, called social proof, may seem unattainable in digital spaces.

The truth is, however, that social proof is alive and well online. In fact, when harnessed the right way, the internet can influence consumer behavior like never before.

Don’t believe us? Read on for five examples of social proof that are happening online right now.

1. Customer Referrals and Reviews

The most obvious form of online social proof is the classic customer referral or review. Online reviews are a great substitute for the word-of-mouth spread of positive information about a brand or service. Seeing a positive review from a real person will almost always increase the trust a potential customer feels toward a business.

2. Social Media Sharing

Consumers are spending more time in their own personal digital space than ever before. Social media is a crucial part of anyone’s marketing plan and creating share-worthy content is a must. Take a look at these Instagram highlight ideas to spark your inspiration.

3. Celebrity Approval

Celebrity approval as an example of social proof isn’t new but it is more attainable online. If a celebrity comments on or endorses your product, it’s going to reach a wide audience. Furthermore, many people will feel compelled to purchase that product to feel closer to their favorite celebrity or to attain a more “luxurious” lifestyle.

4. Valid Credentials

Who would you rather get nutrition advice from, a home chef with no degree in nutrition or a certified nutritionist? People want to know that they’re taking advice or buying products from someone who knows what they’re doing. This is true for individual enterprises and businesses, so make sure that your credentials (from relevant degrees to certification and licensing) are loud and clear. 

5. Earned Media

Earned media refers to the appearance or mention of a business or product by a third party–like a celebrity, yes, but also the wider press. Backlinks in professional reviews and press releases can do wonders to build your brand awareness and increase consumer trust. When potential customers see that you’re getting attention from third parties, they’ll feel more compelled to find out for themselves what your business is all about.

Take These Examples of Social Proof to the Bank

Social proof is alive and well in the digital age and, in fact, there are more ways than ever before to influence consumer behavior. These examples of social proof are guaranteed to increase your brand awareness and sales, so don’t hesitate to give them a shot.

Looking for more ways that technology can enhance or improve your business endeavors? Don’t fight the digital age; learn to use it to your advantage. Take a look around as we talk about the many ways that you can incorporate technology into your business practices this year.