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Social Proof: Free Tips for Social Proof Marketing Inside

You must have heard about social proof and how eCommerce business owners use it to their advantage.

But you ask yourself, what is social proof? Why is social proofing your website so important? And above all, how to use social proof in your marketing?

Social proof is a powerful marketing and sales tool that can drastically boost profits. And yet, many online merchants aren’t using social proof to its full potential.

Or worse, they aren’t using it at all.

That’s why we’ll teach you all about social proof and social proof marketing.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Social Proof?

Social proof is a technique that suggests consumers are more likely to take a positive action toward your business when they see that other consumers have already done the same.

Social Proof Definition

DynamicYield defines social proof as a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. In essence, it’s the notion that, since others are doing it, I should be doing it, too.”

When consumers are on the fence about making a decision, they tend to look around for direction. It’s the whole “wisdom of the crowd” mentality. We’re even more inclined to do the same if we see large groups of people taking action.

In other words, using social proof effectively gets you better leads and more profits.

Social proof psychology is effective because it taps into basic human emotions. Humans trust other humans and will rely on the opinions of others when making a variety of decisions. That includes where to spend their money and what to spend it on.

Now that we have discussed the meaning of social proof, let’s talk about why social proof is important.

Why Is Social Proof Important?

Though we’ve already written a comprehensive guide on social proof statistics, here’s a glance at some of the most shocking findings:

Every statistic leads to one conclusion: if you’re not leveraging this scientifically-proven social proof marketing technique somehow, you’re leaving lots of money on the table.

And one of the most exciting aspects of social proof for consumers is that it works like a fly-wheel: it takes a lot of effort to get started, but the more proof you have, the easier it is to get even more.

Many people in marketing refer to this as “creating a buzz” around a product or idea. As people start talking about it, more people feel the need to join the conversation.

Fortunately for you, there are many different forms of social proof you can start using today.

Let’s focus on how you can use social proof marketing to boost your conversions.

How To Use Social Proof in Marketing?

These are eight types of social proof marketing solutions:

Let’s look at each one a little more closely with some social proof examples for better understanding.

1. Testimonials

Testimonials top our list for social proof marketing. A testimonial is a quote from past or current customers that put your brand in a positive light. In other words, this is when someone vouches for your company.

Even though most of your site’s visitors won’t know the person giving the testimonial, it doesn’t matter. 91% of millennials trust reviews as much as recommendations from their friends and family.

However, to boost conversions, you should add a small photo of the person giving the testimonial. This makes their recommendation feel more personal and lends it more credibility.

Here is an excellent example of a perfectly crafted testimonial for SEMrush:

semrush social proof example

There is a photo of the speaker, a glowing testimonial, and the added benefit of a company name that many of SEMrush’s target audience would recognize.

Want to add some testimonials to your site? Check out this resource on ten customer testimonial examples you can use.

2. Ratings and Reviews

Reviews are important for all businesses, but particularly for restaurants, brick-and-mortar shops, businesses selling through 3rd party sites like Amazon, and eCommerce sites. Regarding reviews, two types can work in your favor: influencer reviews and customer reviews.

Celebrity social proof and influencer marketing reviews are incredibly powerful. If you get a popular review from someone with a large audience, you likely want to turn that into a testimonial or perhaps even a case study (which we’ll discuss later).

Customer reviews can be just as powerful, but you need more to be effective. The average consumer reads up to ten reviews before purchasing a product.

Reviews typically have two parts: a 5-start rating system followed by some text describing the product or service. Here’s an example of a review from OptinMonster’s homepage:

Rating and Reviews: OptinMonster

5-star scales give readers a glance at the overall review, but written content provides more detail about what made the product or service good or bad. When you have both the quick-glance rating and detailed information, you have a killer review on your hands.

And chances are, people will read it.

Research shows 83% of people prefer reviews over advertising, which makes sense. You can speak highly about your product until you’re blue in the face, but people take your words with a grain of salt, considering your connection to the business.

Seeing a client take the time to write either a positive or negative review about your company inspires other consumers to take either a positive or negative action. Again, social proof is still powerful, even if the reviews are from total strangers.

3. Social Media Signals

When it comes to using social media to boost your social proof, there are three factors to take into consideration:

The number of followers: The more followers you have, the more likely you are to gain more:

High-number-of-followers

The number of likes: Social media posts with more likes are typically shared more and help to boost engagement further:

ag-instagram-multiple-image-post-food-network

Overall interaction: If you’ve struck up a conversation or post online and many people are taking the time to reply, that can encourage more people to throw in their 2 cents on the subject:

social proof social media comments

Out of those three, which one is the most important?

None, because they should all work together.

Marketers are increasingly realizing that the number of followers isn’t more powerful than the overall interaction taking place. An Instagram influencer, for example, may have four million followers, but if none are engaged with the brand or replying to comments, the brand’s social proof is still pretty weak.

If you want to use social media, you should increase followers, likes, and interactions instead of focusing on only one metric.

All of these social media metrics are a great demonstration of social proof.

It’s one of the main reasons why you might also want to consider adding social media share buttons across your site. This will help your site’s traffic share your social media posts which will build even more social proof on that platform.

4. Displays of Current Customers

Our next social proof marketing example is to list any high-profile clients you’re currently working with (or have worked with in the past).

Showing that well-known brands or influential people have worked with you in the past isn’t bragging. It’s simply leveraging the power of social proof in your favor. By displaying established and trusted brands that have worked with you, your brand can borrow some of their credibility.

Here’s an example from AHREFS’ homepage showing the companies that use their software:

Displays of Current Customers: AHREFS

If you’ve ever worked with recognizable companies, don’t be shy! Display them proudly on your website.

5. Active-Participant Counters

common eCommerce marketing strategy for building urgency is a countdown timer letting customers know when a promotion will finish. But if you want to use social proof, you need the exact opposite: a counter that goes up rather than down.

You need an active participant counter to show how many people have used or are using your site.

Kickstarter is an excellent example of a company that relies on this form of social proof to encourage donations: 

Kickstarter-Counter

The higher that counter becomes, the more effective it is. People who see that others have donated to a project are much more likely to contribute.

Here’s another excellent example from Awesome Motive:

Active-Participant Counters: Awesome Motive

Showing people in real-time how many customers are using your brand is a very powerful social proof strategy. It’s a perfect use of the FOMO tactic we talked about earlier. If people see so many others are using your products or services, they won’t want to miss out on the action. This will inspire them to buy from you.

6. Case Studies

We have already looked at how reviews and testimonials can help boost conversions, but case studies are another great social proof tool. They’re like a long-form testimonial that details someone’s success with your product.

Case studies usually take the form of a blog post, newsletter, or video, but you can make and distribute them however you see fit. The point is to dive deeply into a customer’s experience with your product and allow them to share it with others through storytelling.

When creating a case study, the key is to be as thorough and detailed as possible.

A few questions your case study should answer are:

  • What limitations did your client face?
  • How did they overcome it?
  • Why did they choose you over the competition?
  • How much success did they have?
  • Can they show concrete data to support it?

By answering questions like these, you’ll build a case study that other consumers can read to sway them into purchasing with your brand.

7. Word-of-Mouth

They say that your best marketers are your happy customers.

And they’re right.

The power of word-of-mouth shouldn’t be underestimated. Plenty of companies have used word-of-mouth marketing to build their clientele. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, Transferwise, and many more offer incentives for signing up new customers:

Word-Of-Mouth-TransferWise

When you share a company with a friend to get the reward, you’re also vouching for the company with your reputation, and that’s social proof marketing in action.

Since you’re likely only reaching out to friends and family with those deals, you’re acting as social proof on behalf of the company you’re suggesting.

You can do the same thing with your brand. Offer your potential customers an incentive to refer people in their social network, and you’ll build your brand’s social proof in no time!

Word-of-mouth is an excellent form of marketing, but when it comes to eCommerce social proof, it’s something you’ll need to focus on.

8. Positive Action Notifications

One of the best ways to provide your visitors with social proof is by displaying real-time action notifications as a popup. You’ve likely seen these before:

Social-Proof-Popup-by-TrustPuls

While your visitors are checking out your site, they’ll be notified whenever someone makes a positive action, like making a purchase, viewing a product page, or signing up for your newsletter, to name a few.

This little dose of social proof affects purchase rates in a big way. It can boost conversions by up to 15% and is becoming a more popular social proof marketing strategy every day.

But what if you’re new to the world of eCommerce, and you still need to get social proof? Don’t worry. There’s a lot you can do to quickly gather reviews, testimonials, and social media followers in no time.

How to Build Social Proof

If you’re starting out, here are five ways you can quickly build social proof:

  • Host an online contest that gives a prize to the most creative review for your product (we highly recommend using an online giveaway tool like RafflePress for this)
  • Put a customer review or testimonial form on your website and link it to your email campaigns.
  • Reach out to your favorite or most loyal clients for a testimonial
  • Ask your social media followers what they love about your product and get them interacting with your brand online.
  • Use honest and genuine software specializing in positive action notification popups to display when you get new subscribers, or your visitors make a purchase.

You’ll notice a common theme among these strategies: engaging with your audience.

That’s why it’s so important to avoid fake social proof. You may purchase a large following, but it’s easy for your real audience to notice that no one is interacting with your brand.

A smaller, highly engaged audience is far better than a large, silent audience.

Pro tip: The most important tip isn’t something you should do. Instead, it’s something you should never do: rely on fake social proof.

Some companies try to kickstart their credibility by creating or buying fake testimonials or reviews. Or they buy followers to boost their metrics on social media.

Other businesses even rely on social proof plugins that allow you to display positive action notification popups that aren’t real. They would show that a person “bought” their product even if the purchase never happened.

There are so many reasons to avoid using fake social proof, but here’s the main one:

It’s easy to build social proof authentically; there’s no excuse not to.

Besides, adding fake social proof will only damage your business’s authenticity and credibility.

Start Social Proofing Your Website

Social proof should now be an important part of your digital marketing strategy. The best way to showcase eCommerce social proof (or social proof for any site) is by using TrustPulse.

trustpulse home page

TrustPulse is the best social proof software on the market. With TrustPulse, you can quickly and easily display social proof notifications across your site. That includes notifications like when visitors:

  • Sign up for your newsletters
  • Register for a webinar
  • Leave your company a review on 3rd-party sites like Google My Business or Yelp
  • Purchase a product from your online store
  • Click through to landing pages or product pages

And more

In other words, you’ll be showing the positive actions of others to motivate your site’s traffic into action. Plus, it doesn’t require any coding skills to get started.

You can also add a link to the notifications so that each message acts as a call to action (CTA) button.

Plus, you can use the Zapier integration to create notifications for 3rd-party review sites. This will show whenever someone leaves you a 5-star review on sites like Yelp, G2, Capterra, and more.

As a result, you can expect to build more trust with your site’s visitors and, ultimately, make more sales.

And the best part is that you can use TrustPulse for a fraction of the cost compared to the closest competitors. Whereas other social proof software can cost up to $20-$30/month, TrustPulse’s paid plans begin at $5/month.

This makes it the perfect tool for businesses of all sizes: from 8-figure companies to solo bloggers looking for more readers.

For more information on how TrustPulse stacks up to the competition regarding pricing and features, check out this helpful post: FOMO vs. UseProof vs. TrustPulse: Which Is Best for Social Proof?

Ready to get started building credibility with your audience and instantly boosting sales?

Sign up for your risk-free TrustPulse account today!

Author Photo
Published by Farjad Taheer
Farjad Taheer never misses a Liverpool FC game; he's a foodie and a professional content marketer. When off-screen, you will likely find Farjad working out, spending time with family, or hanging out with his friends.

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