Using Social Proof on Your Website

Going With the Flow

If you’ve ever wondered why phrases such as “jumping on the bandwagon”, “going viral”, and “trending” are so common when it comes to digital behaviour, the answer lies in social proof. Social proof marketing is based on the idea that people will be more likely to complete an action (such as buying a product or going to a destination) if they see others doing the same thing too.

Crowd Forming A Question Mark

So, What is Social Proof?

To break it down:

  • Social refers to the natural human tendency to stick together, form groups, and participate in a society in general
  • Proof references the weight of value that we place in other people’s opinions

If everyone else is doing it, it must be worth it, right?

While this may all sound a little manipulative and uneducated, (after all, we are aware that the court of public opinion doesn’t always get it right), social proof marketing is actually one of the most honest, authentic, and effective forms of marketing around. Adding social proof signals to your website is one of the best ways to build credibility as a business and is a great form of free website marketing – if other people have great things to say about you, even more people will want to see why.

Types of Social Proof

Now that we understand the psychology behind the idea, let’s take a look at some examples. Social proof marketing can typically be analyzed based on what people are saying, where they are platforming it, and who is doing the talking.

What People are Saying

1. Testimonials/Success Stories

Past clients of yours will often be willing to testify positively on behalf of your company, especially if your products or services have benefitted them in some way. Highlight these on your site! Your readers will love them.

2. Case Studies

Similarly, showcasing the work you have done for others will encourage potential clients to want you to do the same for them. If you don’t have a portfolio page on your website, now would be the time to create one!

Portfolio Page From Euro Arts Tile &Amp; Stone
Via: Euro Arts Tile & Stone

3. Product/Service Reviews

A whopping 93% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, with the likelihood of buying increasing depending on the number of reviews a product has and how highly it’s rated. Giving others the opportunity to rate your products will result in them selling more, as well as providing you with valuable feedback.

4. Company Reviews

Similarly to how customers can rate your products and services, your company itself can be reviewed by people such as your users and employees. If you are publicly rated as a company that treats its employees well and engages in good business practices, customers will be more confident in giving you their commerce.

5. Client/Partner Logos

Displaying the names and logos of other companies you are in business with encourages clients to trust you, as it is a big vote of confidence when other businesses are willing to advertise their relationship with you.

Partner Logos Shown On Aksa Group Home Page
Via: AKSA Group

6. Statistics

Numbers are undeniable proof that your business is worth taking interest in, so display them whenever possible! Statistics such as the number of countries you ship to, the number of projects you’ve completed, or the number of 5-star reviews you have all instill confidence in your past experience and ability to service your customers well.

Statistics Shown On Idea Marketing Website Home Page
Via: Idea Marketing

7. Milestones

Invite your audience to share your achievements with you! Milestones such as celebrating 10 years in business or hitting your 100,00th order placed show that you have already proven success in your field, and that you care enough about your customers to include them on your journey.

8. Awards/Trust Signals

Getting certified by authorities in your field about the quality of your products, services, or business practices is a big deal and shows customers that experts trust you, and in the case of most awards, that you have also beaten out your competition. Display these awards wherever you can – you’ve earned them!

Awards Shown On Idea Marketing Website Home Page
Via: Idea Marketing

9. Insights

Seeing how (or even that) others interact with your business can be enough to bring people on board. Showcase the number of likes, views, comments, and shares your content gets on social media – you will get more engagement if people see others engaging with you first.

Insights Shown From Sawa World’s Twitter Page
@SawaWorld on Twitter

10. FOMO Alerts

“Fear of Missing Out” pop-ups or alerts that let your customers know that other users are engaging with a product are a good way to drum up interest in it. For example, knowing that 8 other people have the same item a customer is looking at in their cart may prompt them to buy it in case it gets sold out.

11. User Generated Content

Customers who engage with your products can provide free promotional material by posting content that you can use without you having to do it yourself. Things like pictures in product reviews and tags on social media are examples of user generated content straight from the source, which you can utilize to establish credibility.

12. Acts of Goodwill

Customers are drawn to companies who give back. Let your user base know when you start fundraisers, donation match, or highlight marginalized members of your community, for example.

Impacts Page From Sawa World Showing Statistics On How Many People They Have Helped
Via: Sawa World

Where They are Platforming it

1. Your Website

Any social proof on your website is social proof that you can control. Make sure you are highlighting it wisely through a good organizational layout and making sure it is visible to the people who need to see it!

2. External Review Websites

Reviews and other social proof from websites which are not your own, such as Yelp, are just as (if not more) credible to users because they are not motivated to make you look good. Customers who come to these sites and find good reviews for your business are very likely to shop with you!

External Review Page From Yelp.ca For Euro Arts Tile &Amp; Stone
Via: Euro Arts Tile & Stone

3. Roundups

Being featured in roundups within your industry (for example, Top 10 lists) are an excellent way to get noticed. These add credibility because they are authored by “experts” and are likely shared beyond your regular reach.

List Of Roundups Idea Marketing Has Been Featured In
Via: Idea Marketing

4. Social Media

One of the most powerful marketing tools and run almost exclusively on social proof, social media can be a great way to increase your reach and your engagement. Social media users tend to be very honest with their opinions, as well as very highly influenced by the opinions of others – a recipe for success if utilized well!

Malai Canada’s Instagram Feed
Via: Malai Canada

5. Media Mentions

If your local news, for example, ever happens to do a story that features your business, or a publication does a highlight on your company, make a big deal out of it! Even simply showcasing that you were featured by a specific outlet can be all the social proof people need. Don’t ever be too shy to use what you get!

Who is Doing the Talking

1. Users

Some of the best social proof marketing comes from your actual clients and customers, both past and present. They have real life experience with what you have to offer, and are prepared to speak honestly about those experiences online.

2. Influencers/Celebrities

Influencers and celebrities rule the social media marketing space by endorsing the products they love (and are paid to love) to their swarms of loyal followers. The right influencer can be a powerful social proof tool, because their followers typically want to emulate them in some way – if your product or service gets on the right influencer’s page, you may just gain a valuable customer base through their following.

3. Experts

Experts have been used to inform public opinion for ages because their title instantly instills trust in their audience. We take the word of an expert more seriously because we acknowledge them to be more educated and truthful about the matter at hand.

4. Crowd

It is human instinct to follow the masses, and so something as simple as having a big following on social media, or a large number of physical stores, acts as instant social proof because others will feel comforted that you are already trusted by a large number of people.

5. Friends

While your friends may not always be the most qualified to speak on a certain product or service, they are the most likely to be who you trust to give their 100% honest opinions. You are more likely to interact with a business if you see people who you know personally interacting with them already.

6. Certifications

Becoming certified by a social ‘authority’ (such as getting the blue verification check mark on Twitter) can go a long way in immediately establishing your business’ credibility to anyone who comes across your platform

The Benefits of Social Proof Marketing

Businesses are typically split into two main categories:

  • B2B (Business to Business)
  • B2C (Business to Customer)

No matter which category a business falls under, however, their goals online are the same: to create conversions.

B2B Marketing

With B2B marketing, social proof is an essential form of marketing because potential clients tend to do much deeper research than the average B2C customer. They are typically going to spend more money and are acting on behalf of their business, which means choosing a supplier has higher stakes than an ordinary transaction. Client testimonials, partner logos, and roundup features will do wonders for establishing credibility and securing future business.

B2C Marketing

B2C marketing is what typically comes to mind when we think of social proof. The customer base is much wider and quicker to buy, but their opinions matter just as much, and they share much more openly. B2C social proof marketing relies much more heavily on the “crowd”, and so focusing on accumulating reviews, statistics, and insights will be a large encouragement to potential buyers.

A Group Of Friends On Their Phones With Digital Icons Above Them

How to Build Social Proof

Now that we’ve established the many forms of social proof marketing and their extensive benefits, let’s discuss how to add social proof to your website.

1. Provide Accessibility

Much of social proof happens organically with people willingly choosing to express their opinions, but you can increase the rate of this happening by focusing on accessibility. Create a dedicated space for customers to add reviews to your site while actively inviting them to do so, and clearly link your social media pages while encouraging people to follow you.

2. Ensure Visibility

Another major factor when it comes to building social proof into your website is visibility. Receiving positive testimonials, hitting impressive milestones, and receiving well-deserved awards are hardly worth anything to your business if visitors can’t see them. Your website is your opportunity to brag! Display your accolades with pride – you earned them.

3. Increase Engagement

The last big factor to consider when building social proof is engagement between your business and those who both contribute to and benefit from your social proof. Apply to competitions within your industry to gain awards, get involved within your community to spread goodwill and exposure, and interact with your social media following to build loyalty. The more social you are as a business, the more proof you will gain in return.

Cardboard Box Full Of Social Media Icons

Hopefully this guide has helped you to understand a little more about the importance of social proof marketing and given you some tips on how to maximize its benefits for your business. How has social proof benefitted you? Let us know!

 

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