Social proof or social influence is the notion that “if others are doing it, then I should be doing it too.”
You will notice that before purchasing online, people like to read comments and reviews from other buyers to guide their purchase decisions. 93% of online buyers say that reviews influence their purchase decision.
There are six types of social proof. These include reviews and endorsements or mentions from experts, users, friends, celebrities, crowds, or certification.
Therefore, brands that make use of social proof in marketing are bound to reap the benefit of gaining the trust of their target audiences. This will then increase sales and expand their target markets. So in this article, we take you through eight ways you can use social proof in marketing to establish trust with customers and grow your business.
Let’s get started.
1. Publish Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Customer testimonials are written content or videos showing a customer’s experience using a product or service. The customer may then recommend the product to other potential customers who may need it.
Video testimonials are especially effective. Potential buyers can see the emotion and judge the tone or intention of the words given by the happy customer. In addition, videos make the information more compelling to the one watching.
In addition, people today prefer to watch a video rather than read a block of text. Research done by Wyzowl found that 66% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product.
The interior design company below uses video testimonials as social proof.
The same report from Wyzowl explains that 88% of viewers make a purchase after watching a video about a product. So adding video to your site helps reach today’s video-oriented audience and increases your chances of making more sales.
That said, avoid uploading heavy videos to your site. This will slow down the site load speed and compromise SEO. If you have to use such videos, ensure they’re optimized correctly. You’ll also need to use a fast web hosting solution with the right bandwidth to maintain optimal user experience.
On the other hand, customer reviews and ratings are mainly written customer opinions about a product or service. These are usually left on the website from which the product was purchased. 95% of people say that both positive and negative reviews influence their buying decisions.
Therefore, think about asking your customers to leave reviews once they purchase from you. Platforms like Airbnb use robust review feature sets to collect testimonials and ratings. That helps their customers make better decisions when looking for a host.
Positive reviews and testimonials will help draw more customers to buy from your business. Customers can leave online reviews on Facebook, Google, Trustpilot, Yelp, and other review sites. They can also leave reviews and testimonials on your website.
It’s key to check your product reviews regularly. This will help you improve your product based on customer pain points or complaints. You can also quickly address any issues arising from product use.
2. Add Trust Badges on your Website
Trust badges are icons that businesses place on their landing pages to establish trust with audiences and prospective customers. It’s a quick way to show the credibility of your brand.
Trust badges are also found on the checkout page of online shopping sites. Here’s an example:
On the bottom left of their homepage, Holabird Sports displays a “Trusted Site” verification badge. Instead of placing verification badges on the checkout page, brands are placing them directly on the homepage.
There are five main types of trust badges that brands can use as social proof in marketing. These are:
- Safe checkout badges show that your checkout process can be trusted. In addition, they indicate that your customer’s credit card information is secure as the information is encrypted.
- Accepted payment badges show that your business accepts widely used modes of payment like PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa cards. These badges communicate trust, plus they also let the customers know they can make payments in their preferred method.
- Third-party endorsements indicate approval and acknowledgment of established businesses for your brand, products, or services.
- Money-back guarantee badges make a statement from your business to the customer that you will give them a refund if they are unsatisfied with your product.
- Free shipping and return badges encourage people to buy from you since they will not incur any further costs.
You can order your own professionally made graphics on graphic design marketplaces like DesignBro to spruce up your site and make your verification badges more noticeable or prominent.
3. Share Customer Logos on Your Homepage
Showing your website visitors the companies you currently work with or have worked with before is one of the simplest ways to use social proof in marketing.
Showcasing your customer logos on your homepage is like telling potential customers that since your product worked for other companies similar to theirs, it will work for them as well.
It also shows them what kinds of companies can use your services and products. So if you display logos of the big companies you’ve worked with before, it can help you win the trust of more prospective customers.
Having this as part of your marketing strategy is key for customers who are yet to decide whether your products are a good fit for their business needs.
See in the image below how DesignBros uses customer logos on its homepage to draw more customers to use its products.
When a customer sees these big brand names, they will naturally be inclined to trust the brand and use their products too.
4. Show the number of Social Shares on Your Blog
Brands highlight the number of social shares on their blog posts as social proof. They are also added to email marketing campaigns, sales collateral, social media posts, and digital ads.
Here’s an example of how this looks like on blog posts.
This will encourage your customers to share the blog content on their social accounts. In turn, it’ll boost brand awareness and audience engagement.
One way to gain more social shares is by publishing impactful, scroll-stopping posts on your social platforms and blog posts. Your followers will likely share these posts on their social pages too.
You can also offer valuable information or create online courses for your audience to learn from. Value is sharable.
Social sharing is, therefore, a way to reach new audiences and customer bases without paying for social media ads. This tactic boosts brand awareness.
Numbers are a quick way to communicate to your audience how many people have taken advantage of what you offer. They also show that your content resonates with other people, which encourages first-time site visitors to engage with the content.
5. Post UGC on Your Social Profiles
User-generated content refers to content that your audience creates that relates to your brand. Potential customers get to see real customers using your products or services and loving them.
You can gain user-generated content by asking your followers to use a unique hashtag that refers to your business or what you offer. You can also repost your followers’ social media UGC that features your products and product mentions.
Another way to share UGC on your social profiles is to screenshot and reshare customer shout-outs to your business. Shout-outs are a great way to show that people are using your products, and not just that, but that they are also loving them.
In the image below, we see how Xero, an accounting software solution for small businesses, reshares UGC on Instagram as social proof.
UGC saves you time and effort, all while letting you gain the trust of potential customers.
6. Utilize Media Mentions
In this case, media refers to magazines, TV, podcasts, and radio shows. Has your brand ever been featured in a magazine or TV segment? Are there some unsolicited reviews or podcast interviews where you’ve been mentioned?
If yes, then cut a snippet of these media mentions and post them on your website and social media platforms. People still trust what they see in the media. So these media mentions will boost customer trust and act as strong brand endorsements.
See below how FreshBooks uses these media mention excerpts.
Add a “featured in” section on your website to display all the media outlets that have covered your brand. For example, below is an image showing how Business Instincts Group – a startup lab – has used the customer logos and “featured in” social proof strategies on one page.
If you have numerous media mentions, you can create topic clusters and feature different media subjects or outlets in each cluster. You can also simply integrate the logos of the publications or media sites that have mentioned you on your website. Just remember to link to the original publication for customers to visit the media site and get the full story.
7. Showing Test Scores
Get test scores from an independent, third-party source and showcase them on your website as well. Test scores help ease customer concerns and trust issues.
For instance, if you are a software solutions company, share the G2 ratings of your brand on your website.
Another trusted source is Google’s “Trusted Score” card. It gives scores based on specific criteria that matter to buyers before making a purchase. Below is an example.
A good Google Trusted Score rating is between 25 and 50 points. However, the best and most trusted sites have a rating of 60 points and above. Aim for your business’s site to have a good rating on test score sites to further boost your social proof in marketing efforts.
8. Business Awards and Accolades
Another effective way to use social proof in marketing is to tell your customers about the accolades your business has received so far. Has your business been featured on top lists in your industry? Then that should be all over your social media profiles and your website too.
Most awards will give a badge icon for winners to display online. You can use these awards in your email campaigns to serve as social proof.
See how Adchitects shows their awards and accolades below.
Awards and accolades show that your business is known and acknowledged for its excellence. Make sure to include the words “Award Winning” in your descriptions. Yes, it makes a huge difference.
Social proof in marketing is an effective strategy to gain customer trust and loyalty. It feeds on the tendency of people to believe what they hear and see from other people. Therefore, businesses need to apply solid social proofing to their marketing strategies to increase sales.
There are many ways that businesses can utilize social proof in marketing. The first is by using customer reviews and testimonials. Adding trust badges to your site lets buyers know that it’s secure and safe to make a purchase on your site or from your business.
Showcasing the logos of your previous satisfied customers lets potential customers know that big brands trust your business too.
Additionally, showcase the number of social shares you have gathered so far. Post UGC to show your current customers enjoying your product. Finally, showcase your media mentions, test scores, and business awards to your audience.
Over to you. Add social proof to your marketing strategy today to start getting better business results.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.