Do you remember the last time a friend told you to purchase a product, and you took their advice? If so, you’ve experienced at least one form of social proof. Odds are, you’ve experienced this phenomenon in multiple ways in just the last month.
Before we go on, let’s establish the definition of social proof. Social proof is when people make decisions, especially ones that involve buying something, based on the actions of others. Your friend’s review helped you subconsciously build trust with the company, which resulted in a sale.
We are going to look at four tips that will help you leverage social proof for increased sales on your website. As a bonus, we will break down the five major types of proof you can build today.
Let’s dive in!
Work with Influencers
If you’re like most people, you use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram regularly. These platforms are full of personalities with cumulatively millions of followers, many of which may have audiences that align with your business.
Seek out these influencers and see if they are interested in promoting your company on their channel. You may have to give them a free sample of your product, or a discount code, but their reach could result in more sales for your business.
Influencers fall under two types of social proof, both “expert” and “celebrity.” These two types exist together because consumers see social media personalities in the same light that they see Hollywood actors. Because of their perceived stature, their opinion carries weight with their loyal followers.
Additionally, influencers build “expert” social proof, depending on their niche. A marketing influencer would appeal as both a celebrity and a knowledgeable professional in their industry.
Before you use influencers to get more email subscribers and sales, take the time to analyze your target audience. Your goal is to find an influencer with a similar target audience. This step will increase the odds that people go to your website through their link. Someone in the business marketing industry would hardly benefit from your content if you tried to work with a health and beauty influencer. However, someone who teaches email marketing campaigns on YouTube would likely benefit from your partnership.
Allow Customer Reviews
The next type of social proof we are going to look at is based around consumer feedback on your website and social media. Think about the last time you went to Amazon and noticed that a product has well over 5,000 positive reviews. What kind of thoughts did you have after reading the reviews? Odds are, you were impressed with the business and likely made a purchase. How would you feel if you were browsing and discovered this review score on a product?
The numbers speak for themselves, almost 24,000 reviews and a 4.5-star average is incredible, and certainly could sway someone who was previously on the fence.
What you experienced is called “user” social proof. Consumers not only want to know that other people are buying your products, but they want to know that what you’re selling works.
You can encourage user social proof by adding user reviews and feedback forms to your website. Allow consumers to rate the product and discuss the pros, cons, and personal thoughts. Now when new people land on your site, they can see individual instances of other people experiencing your brand, which helps paint a picture for the consumer about what their life could look like if they buy from your business.
Show Live Sales On-Site
Next, we are going to talk about “crowd” proof, which differs from “user” social proof in several vital ways. We have all heard the phrase “follow the crowd,” but how does that help with your marketing campaign? Simply put, human beings are more likely to buy something if they notice a large number of people using a business. Reviews and feedback forms allow for personalized, detailed accounts of user experiences.
Building social proof based on the crowd mentality requires you to show consumers on your site that people are currently buying and using your product. We recommend using TrustPulse as a way to grow crowd social proof on your website.
TrustPulse allows you to display your sales on-site live.
Above we have an example image showing how TrustPulse works on your website. The bottom left corner of your screen shows users by name that are currently buying your product. Consumers on-site might not care that Akalugwu specifically just made a purchase, but they will care if they see several people complete purchases on your site.
There are other WordPress plugins you can use alongside TrustPulse for a smooth, effective experience when building social proof on your website. A good form builder such as Formidable Forms will help you cultivate high-quality reviews, which supports crowd-based social proof.
Use Social Media
Social media is an excellent marketing tool that can help you reach your target audience and generate additional sales. As the name implies, this form of marketing works well with all types of social proof.
Instead of covering one individual social proof benefit, it’s safe to assume that you can benefit from each of the types we mentioned here, plus one new, and invaluable, form of trust-building — friend recommendations.
We opened this post by asking if a friend has ever recommended a product or service to you that impacted your decision. Here’s the thing about recommendations from friends — they don’t have to take place during a private conversation.
If you’re browsing your Facebook feed and notice that someone you know posted a glowing review of a product that you had researched in the past, this could cause you to go back and have a second look. Similarly, encouraging your audience to share your blog content and online contests on social media will help show other consumers, presumably some of their friends, that your product or service is effective.
There are countless ways to build trust with your audience using social proof. As your business grows, you’ll discover plenty of opportunities to nurture your leads and drive consumers through your sales funnel.
However, before you can create analytic driven marketing campaigns, you have to build an audience of customers that believe in your brand and products. Social proof has many iterations in today’s digital marketing landscape, but at its core, this technique is about establishing your brand identity and forging a connection between your business and consumers.