8 Effective Ways to Use Social Proof to Level Up Your Marketing
We, humans, are pack animals and have an innate drive to fit in a group.
Let’s say you want to buy new shoes, or choose a holiday destination, or even a Netflix show, how do you decide between a gazillion options that are supposedly “the best”?
Checking previous user reviews, ratings, or asking friends, right? Well, that’s social proof in action.
And in this article, let’s understand all about social proof and how to incorporate this psychological principle into your marketing strategy.
What is Social Proof?
Prominent psychologist Robert Cialdini was the one who coined the term social proof. He described it as a psychological and social phenomenon that leads people to mimic the actions of others in a given situation because of our inherent need to conform.
Why is Social Proof Important?
Relying on social proof is a universal behavior because we form opinions about something based on the actions of other people. Social proof is a fundamental part of B2B marketing and a powerful addition to your marketing toolkit. It can help:
- Boost the credibility of the company
- Build trust and confidence among customers
- Prospects make a decision
- Improve website traffic
- Build better relationship with customers
- Improve conversions
It can be used in every part of your sales funnel:
- Top of the funnel: It can help show customers the need for your product or service. (Social proof in the form of user reviews or ratings).
- Middle of the funnel: It can help your company stand out from the competition. (Social proof in the form of the number of clients served or big brands you’ve served).
- Bottom of the funnel: It can help resolve any barriers that can keep customers from making a purchase. (Social proof in the form of a customer case study or expert testimonials).
5 Types of Social Proof
In a world full of competing choices, your customers take mental shortcuts in their decision-making process. Let’s look at the main types of social proof and how you can use them to bolster your marketing.
There are 5 main types of social proof:
1. Customer – When the social proof is generated from existing customers, like user reviews or testimonials.
2. Experts – When the social proof is generated from credible experts in your industry.
3. Certifications – When the social proof is established with evidence that a third-party entity can certify that your company is a reliable source, like being FDA approved.
4. Power of crowd – When a large group of people exhibit social proof for your product or service.
5. Celebrity – When the social proof is highlighted by influencers or celebrities.
Let’s explore how you can use these types in your marketing strategy.
1. Use Testimonials, Customer Reviews, or Ratings
According to a study, 90% of users who read online testimonials state that positive reviews influence their buying decisions and 63% of consumers agree that if a website has product ratings and reviews they are more likely to purchase from it.
Here’s an example from BuzzSumo’s website that features customer testimonials.
You can add user testimonials on your homepage and they work even better if you can add a customer’s photo and logo alongside their testimonial. You can also incorporate video testimonials, like Slack did for video-hooked customers as it works even better when it comes to creating credibility.
Customer reviews or star ratings alongside your products can solidify your visitor’s trust in your product. You can place reviews and ratings next to your products on the pricing page or even reshare them on your social media accounts.
2. Use Case Studies
In the B2B world, case studies are a solid piece of social proof that build confidence and trust among customers. Here’s an example of Shopify, an eCommerce software, that highlights their customer success stories as case studies.
When writing case studies, be sure to:
- Identify the client’s problem
- Explain your solution
- Showcase the results
Apart from a separate page for case studies, you can also include case studies in text or video formats on your sales pages or use them as a response to questions on your FAQ page.
3. Bring the Expert Guns
Customer opinions are valid but an expert opinion creates much higher credibility. If your prospects see that someone with experience or authority has recommended you, that perceived trust is passed on to your product or service.
Here’s an example of WordPress, where they use industry experts who recommend WPBeginner training videos.
4. Showcase Awards and Mentions
Highlighting your recognitions, awards, and mentions on your webpage or social channels is a great way to build trust via social proof. Here’s an example of SearchUnify, check out how they have a ‘Recognition Page’ that highlights all their notable awards and recognitions.
If your product or brand has ever been mentioned in the media, reviews, or podcast interviews, you can take excerpts from these mentions and paste them on your website or even social channels to establish authority and build trust. Here’s an example of what FreshBooks, an accounting software company, does on their homepage.
5. Display Note-Worthy Trust Badges and Certifications
Trust badges and certificates on your website ensure your visitors that the page is authentic. They add confidence in your brand and can dramatically increase your conversion rate. According to a study, showing certification and badges can increase your conversion rate to as much as 30%.
Trust badges can include:
- Secure payment badges
- Third-party endorsements
- Certifications such as GDPR and CCPA compliance
6. Get Your ‘Number’ Game On
Let your numbers do the talking for you, it can be the number of your customers or subscribers, your social share followers, number of years you’ve been in business, or the number of experts in your team, etc. Post this information on your website.
Here’s an example from WordPress. On their pricing page, they highlight that WordPress powers 33% of the internet, a pretty solid way to build trust, right?
Basecamp does a great job of this by showing the number of companies that signed up last week along with a timeline of their growth.
You can also include a section with the logos of big brands you may have served. This helps in boosting credibility. Something like this:
7. Drive Interest With Best Sellers and Recommendations
Let’s say you want to read a book, you’ll probably consider the one deemed as a best seller. We use the logic that if lots of people like it, it must be good. This is what you can do with your products or services as well, presenting items as ‘best sellers’ or ‘top recommendations’. Here’s how it helps:
- When customers select an item, they’ll feel they’re more likely to enjoy it since other people did.
- When users know the best articles, they can easily navigate through your website.
- With recommendations, the user experience is improved.
You can do this with your content as well, highlight your popular posts in a prominent place on your website. At Grazitti, we place our popular posts in the sidebar.
8. Get Influencers or Celebrities as Social Proof
If you are small, maybe use micro-influencers to get your campaign rolling but make sure that your influencer aligns with your target audience so that your audience can trust and relate to their opinion.
You can run campaigns within your community with influencers, like Pardot run a series called #TrailblazerTipTuesday on Twitter, where expert influencers share a tip for the industry which is retweeted and shared by Pardot. This is a good way of engaging with influencers and educating your target audience.
Social proof is not a one-size-fits-all approach, so use the type that plays with your strengths so that you can promote your brand and boost your authenticity.
If you are looking for ways to boost your credibility and capitalize on social proof, feel free to drop us a line at [email protected], and we’ll take it from there!