Imagine the following scenario: You are shopping for a new standing desk online. You have found three you like based on pictures and features alone.
The first model has over 200 reviews and a 4.7-star rating. The second has 150 reviews with an average rating of 3 stars. The third has no reviews at all. Which model would you buy?
Most likely, you would choose the standing desk with over 200 reviews. Why? Because of a psychological phenomenon is known as social proof.
This article will define social proof and how to leverage it to improve your business and appeal to more potential customers.
According to psychologist and author Robert Cialdini, social proof is a primary factor influencing people’s behavior.
Recall the last time you wanted to purchase something and went online to read reviews.
Did you stumble upon positive or negative reviews? If you did, how did they affect your decision?
This is how social proof works in practice – it has the power to persuade or discourage others from taking action.
The idea behind social proof is simple: whenever we are unsure about something, we look to others to help us decide how to act.
It is common to assume that the people around us know more than we do. That’s why we often take the advice of our family and friends when making decisions.
When your potential customers are unsure whether or not to buy from you, they will seek advice or “social proof” from others.
This social proof takes the form of reviews and recommendations from others who have had prior experience with your brand.
Because of this phenomenon, social proof can be a very powerful tool in your digital marketing arsenal. Let’s look at the six most popular social proof types for eCommerce.
1. Display customer reviews on your website
Customer product reviews are one of the most trusted forms of social proof. Around 89% of consumers worldwide read online reviews before making a purchase.
Nearly half of consumers worldwide consider positive reviews one of the top 3 deciding factors when researching products.
Reviews help customers feel more comfortable with the website they are visiting and give them an idea of their experience. Therefore, product pages with customer reviews have a higher conversion rate than pages without them.
This fact underscores the importance of collecting reviews from your customers. You can streamline this process by setting up automated emails to your customers asking them to review a product once it has been delivered. This way, you can also gain limited control of your online reputation.
Pro tip: make sure not to show all reviews together. Instead, show product-specific reviews, as this will improve the customer experience.
2. Show real-time activity from other customers
Displaying real-time statistics, such as the number of people who have purchased the product or the number of people currently viewing the product page, is an effective form of social proof that helps establish credibility in the eyes of uncertain customers.
People tend to trust those who are similar to them. To use this to your advantage, show visitors that people just like them have already bought from you before.
You can use the user’s geolocation to do this. For example, add a “recently purchased” notification that says, “Customer XYZ in New York bought this item 12 hours ago.”
3. Highlight your best-selling products
Online shoppers are exposed to a wide range of products to choose from, which can make a buying decision overwhelming. This can discourage your potential customers from making a purchase altogether.
Showcasing your best-selling products highlights what other consumers are interested in, which makes it easier for online shoppers to make a decision.
To achieve this, set up a “Best-Sellers” section on your homepage or create a separate category. You can also mark your best-selling and trending products.
4. Display logos of your customers and partners
Another simple and effective social proof strategy is to display logos of well-known and reputable clients or partners you work with.
Using this strategy showcases reputable companies that consider your products or services valuable, giving your visitors confidence in your brand’s authority.
5. Showcase industry awards and badges
If your company has won industry awards or has been mentioned in the media, take advantage of these accolades by showcasing them on your website. This way, your visitors know that industry experts recognize your business.
Harnessing social proof in this way is especially powerful because it originates from outside your company. In addition, third-party sources lend your company extra credibility and trustworthiness.
6. Collaborate with influencers
Influencers carry a lot of weight in every industry these days. Partnering with them is a great way to expose your brand to a broader audience and establish social proof of prominence.
The most efficient way to take advantage of this strategy is to work with micro-influencers. These individuals have a strong social media presence in their specific niche but aren’t celebrities.
Typically, micro-influencers have a highly engaged audience in their niche and receive higher engagement rates than traditional celebrities and macro-influencers.
When their followers see them endorsing your product, they automatically transfer their positive attitude towards these influencers to your product.
Another great advantage of working with micro-influencers is that they are more likely to collaborate with you on smaller budgets than macro-influencers.
The power of social proof is undeniable. It can increase your conversion rate, cultivate trust in your brand, and boost sales.
Without social proof, even the highest quality products prove challenging to sell.
Please start with the positive reviews your products have received and use the above tactics to leverage them to boost your marketing efforts moving forward. A smart company strategically wields the feedback of satisfied customers to build trust in the brand.
What’s your go-to social proof tactic for your business? Please share it with us in the comments section below.