Social ProofStreet cred—also known in the digital age as social proof—is an increasingly vital component of online business.

In a Nielsen study, 92 percent of customers said they trust recommendations from friends and family over all types of advertising, while 70 percent claim that online consumer reviews are their second-most trusted source.

Karen Leland, president of the Sterling Marketing Group and a contributor to Entrepreneur, offers five ways “to strengthen your competitive advantage by building your social proof.”

Creat Social Proof by Connecting With Experts

Who is a trusted authority in your industry?

As Leland notes:

Being associated with that person can help transfer credibility to your brand.

Look into opportunities to write a guest blog on an expert’s website or invite them to contribute a guest blog on your company site. Another option: Interview the expert via webcast or podcast, and share that with your audience.

Solicit Endorsements from Customers

Satisfied customers willing to provide endorsements and even serve as case studies will make potential clients feel more secure about working with you.

Post video and written customer testimonials on your site and “encourage customers to post reviews of your brand on sites like Yelp, Google Local, or Amazon.”

Use Statistics to Make Your Case

Does your product generate impressive and quantifiable results?

You can boost customer trust “by featuring those figures on the home page of your website or your social media platforms.”

Thank Others for Online Mentions

You need to be aware of favorable mentions or reviews when they get posted online.

Thanking others for their retweets, repins and reposts of your blogs increases your visibility and expands your social proof to audiences beyond your own.

See Where You Stand on Klout

According to Wikipedia, Klout is a website and mobile app “that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the ‘Klout Score.’”

To determine the user score, Klout “measures the size of a user’s social media network and correlates the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.”

As Leland notes, “the average Klout score is 40, and users with a score of 63 or above are in the top five percent.” A high Klout score “will provide a comfort to your clients that you know enough to be an influencer.”

Adopting a multifaceted strategy to build your online social proof “means more potential customers are just an online search away from being sold on your business.”

How are you building your online social proof?