Whether a mattress, solar panels, floors, windows, mortgages or, yes, even furniture, people often lack the knowledge to make informed purchasing decisions — largely because they buy these products so infrequently. This creates a unique challenge for companies selling these products: How do you drive more consumers into the sales funnel and convince them to buy from you? Your creative makes or breaks your advertising campaign, and a huge part of it comes down to credibility.

In order to successfully market considered purchases for the home on the radio, your creative needs to educate consumers, differentiate your company, and prompt a specific action, but none of that will ever happen if you don’t establish credibility. And in this era of peer influence, there’s no better way to go about doing it than with social proof. Wondering where to begin? Check out Wingman’s signature social proof strategy

The 411 on Social Proof

So what is social proof, anyway? Dr. Robert Cialdini, a marketing expert in the field of marketing persuasion, defines social proof as a “psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”

When everyone looks at the sky, do you look up, too? Probably. And if everyone in the room rises to give a standing ovation, do you also leap to your feet? Almost certainly. So it follows that if everyone is buying a certain brand of soda, you’ll probably be more than willing to fork over some cash for a sip, too. These are all everyday examples of subconscious motivations which spur certain behaviors.

This same concept can be applied to advertising campaigns as a means of establishing credibility with consumers. But it doesn’t happen spontaneously. We give social proof a nudge in the right direction by following these three simple steps.

1. Make It Personal
Would you rather make a purchase from a stranger or someone you know? While company owners and CEOs aren’t always the best at reading radio spots or standing in front of cameras, they’re likely to be most passionate about their products and services. This makes them, more often than not, their company’s best salesperson. After all, they’ve built entire businesses around a core belief in the value of their wares.

Enlisting CEO spokespeople as part of your social proof strategies also adds authenticity while fostering an emotional connection with consumers by showing them the real people behind the company. Consumers are much more likely to believe an owner or CEO over a paid announcer.

2. Third Party Referrals
Why do all the work on your own when you can piggyback off of the efforts of others? Our second go-to Wingman social proof tactic involves leveraging the credibility of others in order to improve your own.

Take industry professionals, for example. Not only do they know the ins and outs of the market, but they are also inherently trusted as unbiased sources. Also falling into this category are third party ratings, reviews, product design awards, patents, and certificates, from places like J.D. Power, BBB, YELP, ENERGY STAR, Consumer Affairs, and Consumer Reports, as well as credible publications and news outlets like Furniture Today.

Listeners also respond favorably to celebrity endorsements. Why? Because while consumers may not know them, they feel like they do.

3. Testimonials
Testimonials are the third and final component in our social proof formula. According to data from Digital Intelligence Today, word-of-mouth is the must trusted resource for contemporary consumers: a full 92 percent of people value peer recommendations above all else. We repeat: 92 percent. So if you’re not using them, you’re falling way short of your potential.

One testimonial-related caveat? Use real people, not actors. The latter may be good at reading lines, but they authenticity of your ads will take a hit. On the same note, avoid overproducing your spots to help them feel genuine while maximizing social proof.

At the end of the day, there’s no better way to establish credibility in radio spots than with the right social proof. We can help you choose wisely.

One last thing to keep in mind? Social proof is nothing new — the auto industry, for example, has been successfully incorporating testimonials, third party endorsements and celebrity voiceovers into their spots for years. (Check out a few examples here and here. Now don’t you want to just go out and buy a Chevy?)

In closing, we’ll go ahead and break down our social proof formula for you one more time: Engage listeners with the CEO, follow up with third party referrals and seal the deal with customer testimonials. Then kick back and watch your credibility — and conversions — grow.