Social proof, which is also commonly referred to as informational social influence, is a social and psychological phenomenon that refers to our reliance on the feedback and the actions of other people to decipher what is right or wrong in a given situation. Therefore, this could mean that when we are looking for a specific business, for example, a local plumber, we rely on comments that have been left by other people online. In this guide, we will reveal more about social proof and how it can be used to increase conversions.
What is social proof?
Although online marketing is developing at a rapid pace, social proof is a concept that is as old as marketing itself. If you take a look online, you will see a lot of social proof examples from decades and decades ago – just think about testimonials on old adverts for a common example.
Nevertheless, the effectiveness, importance, and accessibility of social proof has been enhanced due to the rise of social media. This is why it plays an incredibly pivotal role for companies today.
If you’re wondering how social proof impacts your business, then think about any positive comments about your product, your business, or even you, which are left online. These comments are considered social proof, acting as an endorsement of your company. The presence of this social proof will make your company come across as a more trustworthy one. This is because social proof does not come directly from you (or the business in question) but it comes from the customer instead.
What are the different types of social proof?
There are a number of different forms of social proof. Of course, the most obvious, and arguably most important, is the social proof from your existing customers, for example, case studies and testimonials. However, there are other forms of social proof too, including the social proof from esteemed and credible experts in your industry. Other examples include social proof from influencers, like celebrities, certifications, friends of your website, and crowds, for example, “300,000 people use platform ‘X’”.
How you can use social proof to increase conversions
Now that you have a better understanding of what social proof is, it is important to look at how you can use social proof marketing to enhance your conversions. Here are some of the different strategies and approaches that can be used…
Social Media Proof
There is only one place to begin, and this is with social media proof. Social media is becoming more and more mainstream today, and savvy brands are recognizing this as an opportunity to leverage social proof by highlighting what customers are saying about them. You can even use testimonials from Twitter or any other social media platform on your website. There are lots of great social media management tools out there today that help you to keep track of all of the mentions of your brand across social media so that you can manage this easily and effectively.
While case studies may be a bit more formal in their nature, they can often be utilized to provide high authority social proof. Also referred to as long-form social proof, a case study leverages the idea that consumers view in-depth and long reviews as being more credible than brief excerpts. There are a lot of businesses that are doing case studies right but there are also many that are doing them wrong.
A case study should explain the customer’s story; the problem they experienced and the steps you put in place to rectify it. The case study should also include comments from the consumer in order to validate what you are saying.
One of the most obvious yet effective methods of social proof marketing is using customer testimonials. You only need to look at Amazon to see how effective this is. All of the products sold on Amazon have a comprehensive review section whereby people can read comments, as well as reading questions that have been answered about the product in question.
Reviews cannot only be about your products but external reviews about your business as a whole. It is really important to ensure that you use an independent review platform for these reviews. A lot of companies today have been caught out purchasing fake reviews or simply making up their own feedback.
As well as customer testimonials, customer showcases can work well too. This works especially well for clothing firms. You should encourage people to send in snaps of them wearing your garments so that they can be featured on your website. It will certainly help for customers to see your clothing on people that have purchased items, rather than on models. Plus, it is another nod towards the trustworthiness of your business.
Another option that is available to you is that of test scores. Test scores that have come from a third-party, independent source, can be extremely useful in terms of putting your consumers’ minds at ease. For example, there is the Trusted Store card that Google provides. This is a card that scores an e-store on criteria that is very important to shoppers in advance of a purchase being made. This criterion includes returns, shipping, and customer service. Ranking highly on a scorecard like this can certainly boost your business online.
Last but not least, another way that you can use social proof to increase your conversions is by showing real-time stats on your website. This includes tools that enable you to show your customers how many people are currently purchasing or viewing a certain page. A good example of a website that does this is Hotels.com – they show when each of their properties was last booked in real time, for example, “booked one hour ago” or “booked one day ago.”
So there you have it: the complete guide on how to use social proof to increase your conversions. We hope you have found these suggestions helpful.