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What is Social Proof - and How Can It Help You Market Your Nurse-Owned Business?

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Elizabeth Hanes Elizabeth Hanes, BSN, RN (Trusted Brand)

Specializes in Freelance Writer, 'the nurse who knows content'. Has 13 years experience.

What Is Social Proof?

Using testimonials, reviews and other social proof can influence customers to buy your product or service

What is Social Proof - and How Can It Help You Market Your Nurse-Owned Business?

Marketing your nurse-owned business can feel challenging even in the best of times. And this pandemic certainly isn’t helping the situation. Depending on the type of product or service you offer, getting customers to buy right now can feel downright impossible.

However, there’s one technique that always should be part of your strategy – and it may help you now, more than ever. It’s called “social proof,” and you can implement it without spending a dime.

What is Social Proof?

"Social proof" is actually a psychological concept that refers to people’s desire to “follow the crowd” when it comes to making decisions. Many people believe the crowd’s actions are more informed or correct than their own. This belief is particularly strong when it comes to the influence of family and friends.

Think about it: If a friend enthusiastically expresses praise for a local espresso shop, aren’t you more likely to try it? That’s because your friend’s endorsement holds great sway in your decision-making process.

That’s how social proof works, in a nutshell, except it doesn’t involve only your closest acquaintances. Oh, no. Many studies have shown how much people like to conform with the crowd when it comes to decision-making. Using social proof techniques can influence your target market to “follow the crowd” that purchases your own products and services.

Social proof can take many forms, including:

  • Testimonials
  • Reviews
  • Celebrity or influencer endorsements
  • Earned media coverage
  • Social media sharing
  • High-profile clientele
  •  Professional certifications

Examples of Social Proof in Action

On my website, I run a “logo parade” near the top that displays the logos of prominent companies I’ve worked with. This is a very common example of social proof. It works like this: When prospective clients visit my site and see those major brand names like WebMD and Anthem, the prospect basically “takes their word for it” that my services must be trustworthy and valuable.

Another example: Have you ever visited a web page selling a specific product, and a popup box floats up that says something like, “Elaine in Orchard Park just purchased one!”? That’s a more intrusive form of social proof – and it’s highly effective. Some vendors of social proof popups claim they increase sales as much as 15%. These popups work by capitalizing on the concept of “FOMO” – fear of missing out. As the prospective customer sees popup after popup saying someone else bought the product, they feel more compelled to buy it themselves so they’re not left out.

A non-digital example of social proof is the restaurant that downsizes its lobby so that most customers waiting for a table must queue up outside. As passersby see others lining up to dine, they think this must be a great restaurant. And they also want to literally become part of the crowd by lining up for a table, themselves.

How to Use Social Proof to Market Your Nurse-Owned Business

To make the most effective use of social proof in your nurse-owned business, choose techniques that align best with your business model and overall marketing plan. For instance, if you don’t sell a tangible product online, then it won’t make sense for you to use social proof popups.

A few excellent social proof techniques any nurse can use effectively include:

  • Education/licensing/certifications – Be sure to tout your credentials, because it reinforces your target audience’s already favorable opinion of nurses as the most trusted profession
  • Client testimonials – Whenever a customer says something positive about your product or service, ask if you can use their words as a testimonial on your website or other marketing materials
  • Reviews – Ask select clients to review your product or services on their own well-trafficked blog or on public review sites
  • Social media sharing – Ask your customers to share your social media posts, along with their own positive commentary
  • Logo parades – Fly the logos of your most prominent clients (with permission) on your website and in other marketing materials

Social proof is a very potent marketing concept that can increase your customer base and drive sales. Don’t overlook it as an important component of your overall marketing plan.

I'm an RN but make my living as a freelance writer. I produce health articles, patient information, web pages, blog posts, video scripts - and so much more - on behalf of clients like hospitals, health systems, insurers and digital magazines. I work from home, set my own hours and find plenty of time to care for my elderly mother, go to the gym, take vacation, fill my house with antiques....

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2 Comment(s)

Joe V

Specializes in Programming / Strategist / Web Development. Has 25 years experience.

In the SEO (tech) world, we use the acronym E-A-T, short for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, which Google uses to rank page quality. What you just outlined for "social proof" is exactly the things that Google (AI) looks for when ranking a page. E-A-T is not directly a ranking factor but it helps build credibility and trust in the page (and owner).

Every person with a website should pay close attention. Using social proof techniques is not just a great marketing concept it is a recommended technique to increase organic traffic.

Elizabeth Hanes, BSN, RN

Specializes in Freelance Writer, 'the nurse who knows content'. Has 13 years experience.

On 9/24/2020 at 3:31 PM, Joe V said:

In the SEO (tech) world, we use the acronym E-A-T, short for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, which Google uses to rank page quality. What you just outlined for "social proof" is exactly the things that Google (AI) looks for when ranking a page. E-A-T is not directly a ranking factor but it helps build credibility and trust in the page (and owner).

Every person with a website should pay close attention. Using social proof techniques is not just a great marketing concept it is a recommended technique to increase organic traffic.

This is an absolutely excellent point! Thank you for this, Joe.

The E-A-T is also why I keep telling nurses now is the best time there's ever been to become a freelance content writer. Bylined content with an RN credential holds great sway with the Googlebot right now!

Thanks for weighing in.

Beth