We tend to follow the crowd in our everyday routine, fashion, fooding and all. We become impressed by the popular celebrities and start behaving like them. We believe more on what other customers are saying rather than a brand ad.
All these psychological behaviours are summed up to a single term- Social Proof. Social proof is being hugely manipulated by modern age marketers. Though it roots back to many years past!
For the first time, social proof was implemented by RCA Victor, a music record company. At that time, it has released a new music album featuring Elvis. To gain more sales, the company gave an effective social proof on the cover ppage-“50 millions Elvis fans can never go wrong!” So, a rich number of new leads brought the album, because 50 million people already listened to Elvis. So, there was less risk in purchasing the album.
In the same way, social proof is being used in e-commerce sites. It is impressively generating brand credibility.
A reputed marketing expert, Aileen Lee classifies social proof into 5 major categories. Let us know briefly about them-
- Expert social proof
Every niche has some experts at the topmost tier. They can be skilled professionals, popular bloggers or renowned businessman. People trust their advice deeply as they are experts in their fields. So, if a niche expert recommends your brand to the audience, your sales are going to double up.
- Celebrity social proof-
People idolise celebrities after watching their handsome face, perfect life on television. We feel like they can nothing do wrong. The products used by them are of high quality and will highly benefit us.
With such feelings, most visitors are converted through celebrity social proofs.
- Crowd Wisdom-
Here we analyse the number of real customers satisfied by the service. So, many sites have a counter saying, we have XXXX happy customers till now. Or they will just put a list of their past clients. This greatly enhances brand image and wins trust of customers.
- Suggestions from friends-
The last social proof that works like magic is recommendations from people we know – friends and relatives. Because they can never give a bad advice for our well being. That is why many companies give exciting rewards for product referrals and shares.
9 golden forms of social proofs you must use
This social proof is more fruitful due to its nature. People are going to trust it deeply. Because, the company itself is not sugar coating its products. Rather, someone from outside is writing the testimony. And new visitors get to read it on the website.
Testimonies are the best brand advocates. So, use them in a page with high commercial value. Find the page which generates more valuable clicks- for example the product page, CTA, a page with lead magnets etc. Then it will further push the visitor for taking the buying decision.
For even better credibility, place the real names and images of testimony authors. You can also shoot a video testimony to look more genuine.
- Product reviews and 5 star ratings
We, as buyers never purchase products without evaluating its reviews. Product reviews are greatly in demand in all individual product pages. Another system called 5 star rating is also doing the job nicely. Past customers are giving a score to every product in the scale of 0 to 5. So, the products which have higher ratings by many people are getting sold more!
- Influencer marketing
Brands often collaborate with an influencer to promote their product. As a large group of audience is influenced by a celebrity influencer, it works amazingly. Sales increase double fold right after promotion by an influencer on her social media, YouTube or blog. Here is a little example. A book written by a young author became the bestseller. Because it’s first page contained a recommendation from a top author cum influencer.
Some sites flaunt a line of badges, seals and certifications. They collect these from some eminent provider sites. This shows that they have been gone through quality checks. The icons mention that the site is safe for transactions, markets good products and delivers top notch customer support. You can get your badges from BBB, McAfree Secure etc.
- Media mentions
It is an effective way to win the trust of the audience. So, exhibit the logos of the TV channels, websites, journals, magazines, YouTube channels who have published about you. Audience will be elated to know you are such a popular brand. If you are recommended by such and such popular magazine, people believe your service to be awesome. You can even showcase any news that has been published under your brand name. Or recognise a blog or blog network that features your articles.
- A mighty subscriber count
Suppose you are asking a lead to subscribe your newsletter, you can make use of this strong social proof. Simply mention that XXXX people have already subscribed to your newsletter. This would boost your conversions in a way you never had imagined. Visitors tend to follow what the majority is following. Highlight your subscriber count on your websites and emails as well. It will assure your audience that they are dealing with a trusted brand.
- Social media network
If your brand page on social media already has a massive following, show it off. Use widgets on your site to exhibit the number of followers you have on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Some plugins even allow you to place the profile pictures of your fans.
This trick would attract even more people to join the community.
- Number of shares on posts
It goes well if you have a personal blog or a popular social media handle. Just link the social media counters to your site. Then the visitors will be able to witness your reach and engagement. The counters will show real time data on how many likes and shares your posts are getting. And if the number is great, you will capture attention of the new visitors.
- Show client logos
If you have worked for some renowned clients and companies, never forget to mention them. Showcase the logos of the client companies.
When visitors see, that you have already delivered quality service to so many clients, they will not hesitate to trust you!
So, these were the 9 top forms of social proof. It is too simple to execute this strategy. Collect the testimonials from your happy customers and social media. Then organise it impressively throughout your site. Have space for customer reviews under product pages. Boast your press mentions and past clients using logos. Flaunt your fan following. Get some seals and badges for your site. And your job is done! As results, you will earn a credible site which fuels maximum conversions.