What is Social Proof?
Social proof is “a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.” It’s a powerful way to get people to take action with your business. It’s one of the most potent conversion rate optimization techniques since it eases the minds of nervous customers.
Here are the essential kinds of Social Proof to incorporate on your website:
- User Reviews
- User Testimonials
- User-Generated Content
- Case Studies
- Email Subscriber Count
- Social Media Share Counts
- Expert Endorsements
- Celebrity Endorsements
Considering close to 70% of online customers look at product reviews before they make a purchase, and those reviews are 12x more trusted than product descriptions and sales copy from manufacturers, social proof is necessary if you want to sell. The fact that people believe reviews from their peers more than they do materials from the manufacturer shows they don’t care what the manufacturer has to say – they want to know more about experiences real people have had.
There are multiple types of social proof you can use to sway your customers in the right direction. Today, we’re looking at 11 categories you can use on your website.
There’s a reason Amazon has reviews for every product they sell – and why you see them on practically every other e-commerce website out there. They work to help you convince whether or not to buy a product. And of course, that’s the same reason why brands are out there trying their best to combat bad reviews.
User testimonials are among one of the most commonly used forms of social proof. Research from Nielsen says 92% of people will trust peer recommendations, while 70% trust recommendations from people they don’t even know. These are similar to reviews but more often used with services, rather than products. Testimonials have been shown to increase conversions by as much as 34%.
User Generated Content (UGC)
UGC is just what it sounds like – content your audience creates themselves, that can help you promote your business. One of the best examples of this is Jamberry – the direct sales business that sells nail polish and wraps. Each of their designs features a hashtag which wearers are encouraged to include in their photos on social media. Jamberry then uses a service to pull those together, to show potential customers what others look like wearing the design.
You’re already familiar with rating systems on various e-commerce sites because platforms like Amazon include them as part of the review process. Whether you choose to leave a review that explains your reasoning for the rating or not is up to you, but at a basic level, it helps people decide if a product or service is worth investing.
Much like the user review or testimonial, the case study exists to show exactly how your products or services have helped your customers. Customers want to know that what you have to offer has helped others in their situation – and if you can show them it has, they are much more likely to spend their money with you. If you want to create killer case studies, reach out to your best customers and ask if you can use their experience. You’ll want an assortment of case studies, all written with your ideal customer in mind, to get the most impact.
Email Subscriber Count
If you have a large number of subscribers on your email list, use that to encourage others to join. “Join 5,000 other happy subscribers when you sign up today!” Save this for when your numbers become large – or the concept may backfire. People want to be part of a crowd, and if the numbers are large enough, they may avoid signing up.
Social Media Share Counts
We all want our content to go viral, and we know that once it gets big enough, a snowball effect is sure to follow. Though it can be hard to get that first share on your post, more will come quickly after you hit say 10,000. Just like with the email subscribers, people are more likely to share things others have already shared. Increase the chances people will share your content by adding social media share buttons to your site. Many buttons also come with the option to show share counts.
Here at SEO Inc., we use social proof to show you how amazing our services are. If major brands such as SC Johnson and Sandals have worked with us – and we are a BBB accredited business, a Google partner, and one of the INC 5,000, in addition to our numerous awards from highly respected review companies, then you know that, based on these credentials, we’re serious about what we do, and we do it well. Yes, we may be bragging a bit, but when you have such accomplishments, why not share them with the world?
Nature Made, a brand of vitamins and health supplements uses U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) endorsement to speak to the quality of their products instead of trying to convince you of the condition themselves. By showing you an independent party supports their quality, they are hoping their customers will trust them compared to the competition.
Anyone who’s ever watched TV or seen an advertisement is no stranger to celebrity endorsements. Most small businesses can’t afford to work with big-name celebrities, but that’s where influencer endorsements come in – which I’ll get to in a moment. Weight Watchers is a brand well-known for their celebrity endorsements, which change from time to time. In the past, the company has used people like Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Simpson, Oprah Winfrey (who also invested in the company), and now DJ Khaled.