You see a delicious dish making its way to another customer right as you’re about to order. With no other idea about what's good at the restaurant, you might say:
“I’ll have that what they’re having.”
This is an example of social proof at work. Social proof is the phenomenon of doing something to fit in with the masses. People will often look to their surroundings to inform their own behavior.
That’s why social proofing is a great way to convince others to take action: buy your product, schedule a demo, learn more. Show your leads that other people are doing these things and enjoying your service.
You have a world of competition online, even in niche verticals. Because of this, if you’re new to building your online presence, it’s hard to convince customers that you’re the business they should choose. That’s why you should leverage social proof whenever you can.
These signals of trust may even keep your users on a page at crucial stages of conversion, rather than bouncing or moving on.
One of the most obvious examples of social proof comes in the form of customer reviews. If people see that reviewers like your products, it stands to reason they also will.
For example, you can include widgets of your positive reviews or include star ratings next to a product description.
Read also: 8 Tips to Nurture Positive Online Reviews
Imagine you’re shopping for a new sleeping bag on a camping gear website, and you see a pop-up on the bottom of your screen:
“Shelley P. from Denver, Colorado purchased this Cool Weather Sleeping Bag 30 minutes ago.”
Other customers are buying this brand’s products. And it seems like they’re selling like hotcakes!
Many eCommerce platforms have widgets that enable this feature. Curious customers can see your other sales, reassuring them that your company is not a scam and makes regular sales.
With Best Company, we offer widgets that show your latest 5-star reviews to customers. Not only does it show your products are going fast, but it lets customers know how they feel about your brand:
More in depth than a review, a customer testimonial tells the story of a buyer, highlighting what problems your product solves. These stories are marketing goldmines, with shareable quotes and tangible evidence that your service works.
Take this example from email marketing platform Rejoiner, which includes a page filled with case studies to pull examples of tangible success:
Encourage your customers to spread the word with referral incentives. If someone hears that their friend subscribes to your service, they’re more likely to convert, particularly if their friend gets a bonus for the referral.
Subscription boxes are one industry that leverage referral programs aggressively. From meal subscription boxes to makeup bags, most subscription services have a referral incentive.
The makeup subscription Ipsy offers customers incentives like bonus items for referring friends:
But referral programs aren’t just social proof for subscription services. Any industry can use a referral service. For example, Vivint Solar gives its customers a $500 reward for referring friends:
A common technique on social media platforms like Instagram, influencer partnerships allow you to find someone with a following to promote your product, reshare your posts, or be featured on your social media. Sometimes money is involved in this agreement, other times publicity is the only payment. You could target influencers with over a million followers, or start smaller with influencers who have hundreds or thousands of followers.
If you feature someone your audience already knows and likes, they’ll take notice.
Audio preset seller Unison Audio featured an artist in one of their posts to sell his sample packs:
If influencers aren’t in your budget or on your radar, you can share your product through the everyman. Retweet and reshare positive mentions about your brand or pictures of customers using your product. This content reinforces that people are loving your work! Make this routine, so it’s clear to buyers that if they share their experiences, they might get a RT.
Hair dye company Arctic Fox reshares pictures from happy customers who used their products:
And influencer clothing seller Like to Know It features posts from the influencers who use their product:
Getting endorsed by experts in your field can convince customers of your own expertise. Sites that review your niche and provide category awards may give you a badge to put on your domain. Or, you might show your certifications to let buyers know you’re qualified.
Tax relief company Innovative Tax Relief features its IRS Enrolled Agent qualification alongside awards for various review companies:
If you’re in the B2B space, show other companies you’ve worked with. Your customers might recognize some brands they admire, encouraging them to also work with you.
SEO resource Ahrefs features some of their clients under a call to action:
What’s more, the company adds the number of news members to back up their social proof. See below for more ideas.
Your numbers can speak for themselves. If visitors see that 80,000 other people have already bought your product, this affirms their idea that your company might be a popular choice. And as the concept of social proof affirms, a popular choice is likely to be a good one. Reference numbers like your satisfaction ratings, sales, downloads, or social shares.
With metrics being the nature of their business, SEO companies are particularly good at this form of social proof. SEO service SEMrush includes some tantalizing numbers about its features while also letting you know 6 million other people use the company:
You can include your data on other pages beside your lander, too. City National Bank includes its number of social shares on a blog. With 262 shares, users will be more likely to share as well:
Highlight your credibility by noting where you’ve been featured. Have prominent journalists and news sources written about your company? Customers will like to see other brands they trust, so showing this on your website can increase credibility.
Luggage company Monos notes press features and includes a few of their quotes on its landing page:
Remember how we suggested using your numbers to draw customers in? You can also use your numbers to warn of product scarcity, which will make customers think the item is popular.
Another way to use your data is to set timers that warn customers that your exclusive deal will end soon, or that they only have 24 hours to purchase what’s in their cart. These make it seem like you move inventory fast.
Clothing company ModCloth warns you when an item is selling out so you can snag it fast:
If social media authorities think you’re legit, users are more likely to think so, too. Becoming Twitter verified marks you with authority on its platform. Facebook has a similar verified check. Other sites, like Yelp, have verified license badges to showcase your trade licenses. These make you appear more professional and let customers know that other businesses trust you.
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