Social proof is one of the most powerful psychological triggers influencing your prospects to take action. When people see that others like them enjoy your product or service, they are more likely to trust you.
This tendency to follow and copy the behavior of others is particularly strong in new and unfamiliar situations — just like when we want to purchase from an online store for the first time.
Given that an average person reads ten online reviews before they make a purchasing decision, you can use social proof to your advantage. By leveraging customer testimonials, reviews, case studies, and other types of social proof, you can strengthen your online presence, build trust with your target audience, generate new leads, and nurture them into becoming paying customers.
In this article, we’ll discuss six effective ways to implement social proof in your marketing strategy and discuss some successful examples that can serve as inspiration for your future efforts.
1. Tap into the Wisdom of Crowds
This type of social proof revolves around numbers.
The wisdom of crowds is when a certain product or service is in great demand or when a large group of people is seen to be endorsing it. For example, if millions of people follow a brand on social media, it’s safe to assume it’s popular and trustworthy, even if you’ve never heard of it. And just like that, you’ll trigger the bandwagon effect.
Showcasing the number of social media followers, five-star reviews, newsletter subscribers, or happy customers will make your prospects more confident about doing business with you.
GILI promotes its 3,000+ five-star reviews as a trust signal. By placing this section above the fold, the brand ensures potential customers notice their impressive track record before browsing products. It’s worth mentioning that the wisdom of crowds works best if you have hundreds or thousands of reviews to display.
Similarly, Startup Resources invites website visitors to join other 2,000 entrepreneurs and subscribe to their newsletter. This tactic is more effective than simply saying, “Get a weekly curated email of startup tools and articles,” since it implies that thousands of others find this resource valuable.
Source: Startup Resources
2. Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)
High-quality, valuable content is a must if you want to attract new business opportunities, but relying on your own branded resources won’t cut it.
UGC adds authenticity to your marketing efforts.
Instead of patting yourself on the back and praising your products, give your happy customers the floor and let them do the talking.
Besides helping you drive tons of organic traffic to your social media and website, UGC also allows you to build loyalty with your existing customers. Sharing their images, videos, and personal stories that include your products makes them feel valued. As a bonus, this type of social proof will work wonders for community building.
Cluse does a great job of including UGC in their lead generation strategy with the Shop the Look section on its landing page. It displays customers’ Instagram pictures in which they’re seen wearing the brand’s watches and other products. This content serves as a trust signal, convincing first-time buyers that the company is legit.
3. Earn and Display Media Mentions
Earned media mentions are a great way to catch your visitors’ eye right off the bat and boost your credibility. When your brand or products are featured in blog posts, TV segments, and news or get any kind of unpaid positive media coverage, potential customers don’t have to worry about how safe it is to trust you with their personal information or purchase from you.
Through this promotion, respectable third parties, in a way, vouch for you and increase your brand’s authority.
Displaying logos of these renowned media outlets on your website allows you to piggyback on their reputation.
That’s exactly what MarketBeat does on their homepage. The company offers stock market news and research tools, meaning that investors are their target audience, which is why building trust is the brand’s imperative. And all the big names in the As Featured By section eliminate any suspicion website visitors might have.
However, keeping an eye on all the mentions across the internet is a lot of work. Sometimes, failing to notice a negative online discourse makes all the difference between preventing a crisis and hurting your reputation, so if you want to stay in the loop, it’s best to implement Determ and automate this process.
4. Encourage Customers to Write Reviews
Online reviews and customer testimonials are among the most popular and effective types of social proof, and with good reason. They show your prospects that you are trustworthy, reliable, and capable of delivering on your promises, as well as helping you stand out from your competitors and attract more leads.
It’s only logical that people looking for information about a product or service will be more inclined to trust the opinions of other customers than what the brand claims. A survey has found that almost 50% of consumers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their friends and family.
Here are some tips for obtaining and making the most of customer reviews and testimonials:
- Ask your customers to share reviews and testimonials after they purchase or use your product or service. Make it easy for them to leave a review by providing a link, a form, or a platform. Personalizing the ask can go a long way toward securing your customers’ feedback. It’s also a good idea to offer incentives to motivate people to share their experiences with your brand.
- Display your reviews and testimonials prominently on your website, landing pages, social media, and email marketing campaigns. Use images, videos, or audio to make them more engaging and authentic.
- Respond to your reviews and testimonials, whether they are positive or negative. Thank them for their feedback, address their concerns, and show that you care about their satisfaction.
- Use your reviews and testimonials to accentuate the benefits and features of your product or service, as well as the problems you solve and the results you deliver.
Frank Body makes a strong case for the quality of their products by displaying happy customers’ reviews across their homepage. The brand includes short quotes right below the hero image above the fold, a scrolling carousel with reviews, and a link to the dedicated review page. This way, prospects are shown social proof and reminded how awesome the brand’s skincare products are several times as they scroll down.
Source: Frank Body
5. Create Case Studies
When it comes to B2B, case studies are among the most powerful lead generation tools.
They’re not just testimonials or success stories — although they usually contain both of these formats. A case study is an in-depth analysis that details how your product or service solved a problem for a real customer. It contains a customer background, challenges, and quantifiable data demonstrating the outcomes.
This way, new leads can see specific, first-hand accounts of how a company similar to theirs managed to overcome pain points with the help of your solution. It’s this relatability and the wealth of information that allows you to attract the most qualified leads and help them understand how exactly you can eliminate the obstacles they struggle with and improve their lives.
Tips for making the most of case studies and boosting your lead generation efforts
- Use them as lead magnets on your website, landing pages, or email campaigns. You can offer a free case study download in exchange for the prospect’s contact information or use a gated content strategy to reveal the entire case study after the prospect fills out a form.
- Share snippets, quotes, or statistics from your case studies on social media and link back to the whole document on your website.
- Nurture your leads and move them along the sales funnel by sending personalized emails to your leads with relevant case studies that match their industry, pain points, or goals, and show them how your product or service can help them achieve similar results.
- Case studies are excellent as sales collateral to help your reps close more deals. Use case studies as evidence of your value proposition, differentiation, and ROI during sales presentations, proposals, or negotiations. You can also leverage case studies to overcome objections, address concerns, or answer questions from your prospects.
HubSpot has an entire web page dedicated to case studies organized based on different industries so that potential customers can easily find the one they’re interested in. Each case study highlights the most critical stats together with the timeframe within which the results were achieved. Customers also share their journeys from before to post-adoption, thus providing a before-and-after perspective.
6. Obtain Certification and Badges
Certifications and badges are social proof showing that your company or product has received approval or recommendation from an authoritative figure, such as an industry expert, a reputable organization, a media outlet, or a certification body.
Some examples of certifications and badges are:
- Organic, vegan, animal cruelty-free labels for food and cosmetics products
- ISO, CE, and UL standards for quality, safety, and performance
- BBB, Capterra, Trustpilot, G2, and Google reviews for customer satisfaction
- Microsoft Learn, Google Ads, and HubSpot Academy for skills and competencies
- Safe checkout, free returns, free shipping, accepted payments, or a money-back guarantee for secure payments and ecommerce.
If we bear in mind that a lack of trust is one of the top four reasons why customers never make it to the checkout stage, it’s clear you should go the extra mile to convince prospects they have nothing to worry about. These certifications and badges are highly-valued trust signals that can minimize your shopping cart abandonment rate, as well as persuade visitors it’s OK to explore your site further and provide personal information.
Patagonia is well-known for their sustainable and environmentally-friendly products. Although an already established brand, they still display different trust badges and certifications on product pages. Patagonia snacks are made from ethically sourced, organic, Kosher, GMO-free ingredients, all of which the badges and certifications corroborate.
Whether you use testimonials, reviews, ratings, case studies, influencer endorsements, social media mentions, or any other social proof, you can boost your conversion rates and attract more customers. Ensure you follow the best practices discussed in this article and use relevant, authentic, and specific examples of social proof matching your audience and goals. By doing so, you’ll be able to leverage the power of social proof and transform your website and other channels into a well-oiled lead-generation machine.