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Social Proof: The Ultimate Tool to Increasing Conversion Rates

By Lydia Barley

It’s no secret that consumers trust the opinions of others more than they trust advertising campaigns. This can cause frustration amongst marketers whose efforts just can’t match those of a fellow consumers opinion. What if I told you there is a way to utilise consumer opinions in your marketing efforts that can build trust and in turn drive conversions on your website? Intrigued right? Well the key to do so is social proof.

Social proof is a highly influential selling tool that is increasing in importance for business owners who want to break down the consumer’s protective barrier and be trusted. While social proof can be applied in many different situations, this article will discuss the implementation of social proof on your website.

What is social proof?

So what exactly is social proofing? Well, here’s how Wikipedia defines social proof:

‘Social proof (also known as informational social influence) is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour in a given situation.’

So, in simpler terms social proof is the idea that consumers will adapt their behaviour according to what other people are doing. For example, if everyone immediately ran out of your building screaming and running, you’d scream and run too right?

In marketing, social proof builds trust, adds credibility and helps validate the buying decision.

Different forms of social proof

When you’re browsing a landing page and you see a testimonial, that’s social proof. When you’re debating whether to purchase a product or not and a pop up appears with positive reviews on the product, that’s social proof. When you land on a website and are told that 563 other people are looking at that website, that’s social proof. At some point in your life, you’ve come across social proof in one form or another.

Different forms of social proof achieve different results and therefore different forms of social proof should be used in different situations. Pick the form that you believe best suits your scenario and regularly test alternatives to ensure you are using the most effective form. Four popular forms of social proof are discussed below.

  1. Case studies

A case study is an in-depth analysis of the product or service that has been provided to a customer. Case studies typically address the entire customer experience; from the customers original problem, through to how the business provided a solution to that problem.

  1. Testimonials

A testimonial is a simple, short-form recommendation that is made by a happy customer. A testimonial does not usually discuss specific product or service features, instead they usually discuss the experience as a whole.

testimonials

  1. Reviews

A review is an evaluation of a product or service. Typically, they are more objective than testimonials and discuss specific product details rather than the overall purchase experience.

reviews

  1. Data

Data refers to the facts and statistics that are collected on a particular element, whether that be the business itself, a product or a service.

data-subscriber-number

Social Proofing Tips

  1. Share positive experiences only– This one may seem obvious, but make sure to use positive customer experiences on your website. After all you are trying to convert potential customers not put them off. Sharing negative customer experiences on your website will scare potential customers away!
  1. Place social proof near your CTA buttons– The strategic placement of your social proof, near your call to action buttons, can increase conversions. As mentioned previously, social proof can enhance the level of trust that the customer has in you. And, an increased sense of trust makes potential customers more likely to press your CTA buttons. Attached below is an example where software company Sisense have placed a testimonial next to their CTA button.

sisense-testimonial-near-cta

  1. Make it look real– Humanizing your marketing, makes it more trustworthy. Which makes sense. Which review would you trust more; one that came from ‘anonymous’ or one that came from ‘John Smith from ABC co. who has a profile picture of him and his cat’. People trust other people more than they trust brands so provide as much user detail as possible to your social proof. Even if your social proof is real, leaving each user anonymous can leave visitors to believe that it is fake. The more you can include about the customer the better, include; user photos, user name, company names or links to their social media pages.
  1. Combine different types of social proof– If it is relevant to do so and you have the data to do so, combine different types of social proof. Doing so can further enhance the effectiveness of your social proof. For example, combine data with testimonials, by doing so you say ‘not only have this number of people bought our product or service, but here’s how much they love it’.

Conclusion

Social proof is a highly influential selling tool that, if implemented successfully, can build trust, add credibility and help validate the buying decision for a consumer. If you are looking at increasing your conversion rates with social proof ensure you follow our tips and continuously test, changing the position and form of your social proof, to find a combination that works for you