What is social proof?
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when an individual finds himself in a state of uncertainty and tends to seek comfort in the other’s actions. Even if the other’s actions can be questioned, if there is a majority doing something, it is easy for an individual to follow those actions and believe its the correct behaviour. Therefore, the greater the amount of people acting in a certain way, the easier will be for an individual to follow that same path.
The social proof psychology has been used in marketing before we even started using the concept of social proof. For example, have you ever wonder how the shopping cart was introduced? Well, I guess you have never thought about it since it is something very natural for you but when the concept of supermarkets was created, people started shopping in paper bags, then they moved to the baskets and then the shopping cart.
The shopping cart was developed in the late 30s by Sylvan Goldman. Although, the prototype failed miserably and It was not until the 50s-60s that people started using them. Men thought it looked effeminate and women did not like it since it looked like a baby carriage. Nobody was using them although the product had an optimal design. Finally, it was not until Goldman hired some models to push this new invention around his stores so customers could see their functionality, that shopping carts started becoming popular.
Why do I need social proof in my online business?
As it happens in the real world, there is also social proof on the internet. We humans, tend to avoid unknown situations and therefore, we tend to look for that source of information that will help us feel comfortable with our decision.
In the online marketing, there are plenty of strategies to use in order to gain social proof on our websites and social media pages. As well, those same strategies can be use and adapt for PPC campaigns and landing pages.
Social Proof strategies
- Testimonials. Those are statements by someone outside the company that have tried to product or service and is explaining his experience with it. Testimonials have to be real and most of the times are used to highlight the benefits of the particular product or service. Within this kind of strategy there is the influencer testimonial, which is a testimonial coming from someone with enough influence as for changing somebody’s mind. Most of the cases marketers use a celebrity or an expert figure.
- Reviews and Ratings: Similar to the testimonials, reviews are made by the customers and are used to explain their whole buying experience. From the moment they start their purchasing process till the product gets home and they can test it. As you know, this is a very powerful weapon. Or haven’t you order or amazon based on the amount of ratings and positive reviews? The same happens when you want to choose a restaurant or you want to hire a new online service.
- Badges and certifications: Don’t you feel safer when you see that the online shop you are about to give your credit card information, has plenty of badges about security payment? Badges and certifications are very important if you want to convey trust.
- Users and subscribers counts: As we have explain right at the beginning, we tend to do what the rest of the people does. So, if we are about to hire a service and we have to choose between 2 companies… Company A has a banner telling us to join the 200.000+ clients that are already satisfy with their services and company B has the same banner but with 50.000+ , it is pretty easy for us to tell which one at first glance will be the most likely we are going to hire. This is a very powerful call to action and is linked with the following strategy.
- Social connections: We users are always judging. To get convinced we need to have several reasons for it. Sometimes with social testimonials is not enough, the more we have the more we will convince. Social connections is a great way to increase our social proof. If we have social media pages with a considerable amount of fans and connections, it is highly advisable to link this to our webpage and landing page.
Examples of social proof in landing pages
As we have learned, social proof can make us gain trust among other potential buyers. Once we achieve that, our potential buyers will be more likely to purchase from us rather than keep looking for another source. Following, you can see some examples of landing pages and how they have used social proof to connect with their potential customers.
Semrush has used the users count to show their potential customers that many people from the same industry are working with their tool. So why shouldn’t you trust them?
In this website we can see many of the social proof strategies we have been talking before. 1- Customer count 2- Clients’ logo 3- Users reviews 4- Social connections
As we can see in this website we also have customers reviews (to extra show us that this is real they give us their twitter user). Moreover, they have their customers logos and even a counter.
How to build social proof
So as you have being seeing. Social proof is crucial for gaining trust and If you apply the suggested strategies, you can easily increase your conversion rate 🙂 . But, how do we manage to get customers reviews or testimonials? Well, it all depends on the kind of business you have and the kind of product or service you are offering but we can give you some ideas.
- Make it easy
If you would like to receive reviews and testimonials from your customers, then, make it easy! Try to be active in social media platforms and consider building profiles in review pages such as tripadvisor, yelp or others.
- Ask your customers
This is the easiest and more effective way get a fast answer from your customer. Just ask, if they are happy with your services, they will not have any problem on helping you out with a review. Moreover, if they compliment you via email, phone or person, just mention them you would appreciate it they could leave the same comment on an online review site or on twitter, facebook or any other social media platform.
In the case, they would not like to participate, give an incentive. Encourage them to give you a review by giving them something in return, a well performed reciprocity strategy always works!
- Positive reviews (not too cheese)
Be real. People tend to manipulate their customers review to make it look like everything is perfect. If you do that you are going to sound too fake to be credible. Use real reviews and do not try to sell your product.