In today’s digital age, where consumers are constantly bombarded with endless choices and advertisements, standing out in the crowd is more challenging than ever. Enter Social Proof Marketing – a powerful strategy that leverages the opinions, behaviors, and testimonials of peers to influence potential customers.
Social proof marketing is the art of using the wisdom of the crowd to convince potential customers to buy your products or services.
What exactly is Social Proof?
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that refers to the tendency for people to follow the actions of others. In other words, people are more likely to do something if they see that others are doing it.
Social proof can be used in marketing to persuade people to buy a product or service. For example, a business might display customer testimonials or reviews on its website to show potential customers that other people have had positive experiences with their products or services.
But before we dive into this powerful strategy, Let’s take a moment to understand the fascinating world of social proof theory, social proof heuristics, and social proof persuasion.
Get ready to uncover the secrets behind human behavior, influence, and the art of persuasion… That will revolutionize your marketing game. Get ready to be blown away!
Social Proof Theory Unraveled
Social proof theory is a psychological concept that explains how individuals look to others’ actions, beliefs, and choices to determine the correct behavior in a given situation.
The theory of social proof originated from the pioneering research of social psychologist Solomon Asch in the 1950s. Asch conducted experiments in which participants were presented with simple perceptual tasks, such as determining the length of lines.
In these experiments, confederates (people posing as participants) purposely gave incorrect answers. The results revealed that even when participants knew the correct answer. They often conformed to the incorrect responses of others in order to fit in or avoid standing out.
Robert Cialdini is a renowned expert in the field of psychology and influence. Has identified social proof, also known as informational social influence. As a psychological phenomenon where people tend to follow the actions or behaviors of others when making a purchase decision or determining the correct behavior.
Essentially, people are more likely to trust the activities of a group over their own individual judgment. For example, you are walking down the street to buy ice cream. And you see two stores with a line of customers and no customers. What would you prefer? The store with the number of customers, right?
That’s the social proof phenomenon. You trust the opinion of other customers and trust them. It is an effective method that influences the customer’s decision and will likely impact them positively.
Social Proof Heuristic
The social proof heuristic is a mental shortcut that people use to make decisions based on what others are doing or saying. It’s like taking a quick shortcut in our minds instead of thinking deeply about a choice. When we see many others doing or believing something, we assume it must be the right thing to do.
It helps us save mental energy because we don’t have to think through all the information ourselves. This shortcut is especially powerful when we’re unsure, things are unclear, or we think those people know what they’re doing. However, it can also lead to conformity, where we just go along with others instead of thinking for ourselves.
Social Proof Persuasion
Social proof persuasion means using social proof techniques to influence people’s thoughts or actions. It involves showing that a lot of people are doing or believing something to convince others to do the same.
This persuasion strategy is commonly used in marketing and advertising. Where they use testimonials, endorsements, and reviews to prove that many people had a positive experience with a product or service.
By highlighting social proof, persuaders try to make others trust and believe in what they’re promoting. So they’re more likely to follow along.
However, it’s important to know that social proof persuasion can sometimes be ethically tricky. Because it can involve manipulating or distorting the evidence to take advantage of people’s natural tendency to go along with others.
By understanding these concepts—social proof theory, the social proof heuristic, and social proof persuasion—, we gain insights into the psychological mechanisms that drive conformity, influence decision-making, and shape social behavior.
Recognizing the power of social proof can help us critically evaluate the cues we encounter, make informed decisions, and navigate the influence of social dynamics more effectively. In the context of business, comprehending these principles opens the door to leveraging social proof marketing strategies and mastering their application.
Stay tuned to explore how you can harness the influence of social proof to enhance your business success and connect with customers on a deeper level.
How to Use Social Proof in Marketing
Social Proof is a social and psychological phenomenon where people cannot make decisions and instead assume that people around them know more about the product and behave like others. People want to know what other people are doing, watching, buying, wearing, and experiencing- these ultimately influence visitors’ decisions.
According to research in social psychology, people assume that they should trust and follow the guidance of authoritative figures, especially when those figures have a positive association with third-party influence.
Aristotle said, “Humans are social by nature.” It is genuine that people look toward others to determine the correct way in which others behave. They constantly compare and get influenced by another majority. For example, a T-shirt with a “best-seller” tag? People will buy it.
Here are 4 Principles of Social proof that affect the way we act.
- Uncertainty: We look out for other people’s opinions when we don’t know much about what we want to buy. People might consider looking for user testimonials, videos, and many more.
- Similarity: People listen to what other people are saying. They can be from the same age group, social group, or location. People find connections with like-minded people and want to know what they are doing or buying.
- Expertise: Influencers and expert social proof greatly influence people’s decisions. Most buyers trust experts’ opinions as they provide valuable insights and what actions are taken them.
- Number: People see when they see many likes, comments, shares, and testimonials the product has on social platforms. The live visitor on a particular product, the number of people who bought the product, the number of signups for the newsletter, and many more.
Why Social Proof Marketing is Important?
Social Proof showcases the results of how your products are helping your clients and customer base. When displaying it to your visitors, people are inclined to pay more attention and be excited about seeing the results.
While customer feedback plays a crucial role in improving products and services, it also helps to boost visitors’ trust and confidence as they visit the website.
Let’s get into some statistics-
- 55% of customers consider reviews before making a purchase decision.
- 93% of consumer buyers read online reviews first before purchasing anything.
- 79% of online shoppers say user-generated content influences their purchase decisions.
- 49% of people believe online reviews of personal recommendations from friends and family.
- An internet review has a 50% higher chance of motivating customers than a promotional offer.
- Customers would spend 31% more on a business with positive reviews.
- Real-time notifications showing live visitor count can create three times more engagement than other tactics.
Different forms of social proof trigger urgency and FOMO among the site visitors, increasing conversions of your eCommerce products.
Let’s move on to the different types of social proof to increase sales and revenue.
Types of Social Proof Marketing
Below are seven categories of best social proof that can be incorporated into your eCommerce website. Now let’s dive in.
1. User Generated Content (UGC)
One of the most common types of social proof is user-generated content on different platforms. People want to see what other people are making choices and saying about the brands.
Often, you can highlight user social proof on the landing page, homepage, product page, or using a notification. It’s a vote of confidence and trust in the product’s value. In addition, user reviews are essential to proof marketing and can increase conversion by 270%.
It helps visitors to trust not only the product but also your brand. Remember, capture reviews from other sources like Trustpilot, Google My Business, Yelp, and many more; that you can add on social media or website pages.
2. Happy Customer Reviews
When you share the reviews on your social pages and other platforms, people will know your customer is happy using the product or service. Collecting customer reviews through text or videos and sharing them on social media posts is the perfect way to create positive influence among visitors.
Create a branded hashtag that your customers can use to share their reviews and encourage them to get featured on the page or provide a free trial for the software. The strategy can work on every platform but is most effective on Instagram.
You can also add reviews on your website’s different pages, showcase user proof in your product review sections, and use against the opposing social proof defense.
Sharing a positive review from your happy customers can influence visitors to check out the product page and convert them into potential customers. For example, brands are using social platforms to reach larger audiences and share happy customer reviews to build trust among them.
3. Wisdom of the Crowd
This means combining answers from a diverse crowd to showcase better and positive reviews about your product or services. As humans, we tend to do the same thing that many others do; if thousands of people buy that product, people will buy the same. It works on the phenomenon of “FOMO” and creates social influence.
It involves a large group of people recommending the same product or service. Wisdom of the crowd is a compelling form of user social proof that influences visitors to buy a product. For example, if you’re looking for a coffee shop and you pass through one crowded and the other empty, you’ll probably assume the one with a crowd is better.
You can display the retweets of your post, social media post shares about your product, or upvotes of your Quora post, which can be the best example of social proof strategies. Check out these 10 Best FOMO Marketing Examples to understand how brands use them.
4. Press Mentions and Awards
Press mentions, and awards can be a great form of social proof, especially for influencing a target market’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
When people in a target market see that an individual or organization has received recognition or praise from a trusted source (such as a well-respected media outlet), they may be more likely to view that individual or organization more favorably and trust their guidance.
In this way, press releases and awards can serve as a form of third-party influence, helping to build credibility and trust among potential customers, clients, or followers within the target market.
Overall, these mentions and awards can be a powerful form of social proof for building credibility and trust among the desired audience.
5. Use Numbers as a Social Proof Strategy
Let your numbers speak about your product.
Show how many people have bought the product, how many people bought it recently, how many satisfied users you have, or how many are purchasing that ebook. Tell your visitors about the numbers.
You can also display real-time stats of how many people are currently viewing the same page or product, how many buyers are now purchasing the product, or the number of live website visitors; that can be a great use of social proof to create fear of missing among the visitors.
You can show several purchases, signups, registrations, and any number that can be a social proof example for your brand. In addition, you can add popup notifications showing recent sales, review notifications, the number of visitors, and many more using social proof plugins or software tools.
6. Leverage Influencer Marketing Strategy
Influencers and brand ambassadors are people with massive authority in your niche. This is because many people know them, like them, follow them, and trust their opinions without thinking much. Influencer marketing is one of the best examples of social proof.
Imagine your brand gets an endorsement from one such big influencer or brand ambassador from your niche; it can increase conversions and expand your reach to new audiences. In addition, influencer marketing makes social proof works more effective because it’s more personal.
You can provide a free product or free trial to influencers and brand ambassadors and let them talk about the development, its features, its use, and how it helps solve potential buyers’ pain points.
Adding social proof from influencers and brand ambassadors can be an excellent marketing tactic and it can add a cherry on the cake to your influencer marketing strategy.
7. Show Case Studies
Case studies are ideal for your social proof in marketing. These offer a real-life example of your satisfied customers who have used and loved your product. Case studies are a brilliant way to connect with people and showcase how the product would help them solve their pain points.
You can ask your users to share their stories about the product by encouraging them with discount coupons or freebies that can be added to your website, social proof to your sales pages, or shared across social networks to increase traffic to your website.
For example, you can describe problems your customer was facing and how the product helped to overcome them, including direct quotes from the customer.
8. Display Trust Badges
Trust badges can be vital to increasing your conversions and boosting sales of your eCommerce business; these are badges that you place on your website and instill trust among visitors by showcasing that the product or website is legitimate.
Trust seal companies put badges on your websites like guarantee safe & secure checkout badges, free shipping & free return badge, payment trust badge, third-party endorsements, and many more that can impact how much reassurance it gives to your customers.
How can a small badge influence customer behavior? You might think so, but trust badges increase the levels of perceived security. In addition, trust badges inspire visitors to make a leap and purchase products or sign up for a membership.
The types of social proof you use depend highly on your needs and industry. Let’s explore some great examples of social proof in online marketing used by different brands.
Famous Social Proof Marketing Examples
Reviews as Social Proof Marketing – Amazon
Amazon utilizes customer reviews in embedded form for its product by adding star ratings, reviews, and product images taken by users, making it authentic and trustworthy for other visitors.
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53% of visitors start searching for product search on Amazon, and the site makes it easier to tell if the product is trustworthy or not just by showcasing product reviews. That’s because many examples are sprinkled throughout the site and the product pages.
Amazon puts all the social proof front and center throughout every product page; it helps build customer trust by showing customers reviews and star ratings. In addition, visitors can see real-time images of the products and relevant customer names who uploaded the review. That’s the power of social proof!
Instagram Social Proof Marketing – Daniel Wellington
If you are looking for one of the social media platforms to display social proof from your customers, Instagram is the best and most popular social platform!
It is one of the fastest-growing platforms with the most engaged user base. For example, 83% of people use Instagram for new product discovery; now that’s something unique, right?
There are many ways to showcase social proof on Instagram, including the Wisdom of the crowd, product testimonials, sharing stories, products endorsed by a celebrity, and many more. In addition, you can get a verified badge, showcase the number of Instagram followers, repost mentions, give shoutouts, and brand bio.
Instagram followers with social proof help build trust, gain loyalty, beat your competitors, and show your product’s value through posts, stories, and videos.
For example, Daniel Wellington, a Swedish watch company, offers micro-influencers on Instagram to promote their watches. In addition, they would provide a unique discount code to every micro-influencer to add positive social proof to their account.
Getting your account verified can be a huge plus for your brand. It acts as a certification social proof and gives you a boost when you target an audience in your marketing campaigns.
Social Proof Advertising by Coffee Joulies
Social proof builds trust between the visitor and the brand through testimonials. But it doesn’t mean it only needs to be from your customers or influencers.
It can be from your third parties, media, or recognition from publications that have either mentioned or talked about your brand, product, or services. So naturally, the more notable the magazine is, the more trustworthy and legitimate your brand will seem.
For example, Coffee Joulies displays popups to their visitors about the prominent publications that have featured their products, which is a clever tactic to demonstrate the legitimacy of their brand. As they are well-known publications, it builds social proof of their brand and lands more sales for them.
Social Proof Recommendations by Netflix
We already talked about the Wisdom of the crowd that creates “FOMO” among visitors. It’s an idea that large groups are “smarter than individuals” when making decisions or giving suggestions to choose the best.
For example, It’s Saturday night, and you want to watch some fantastic TV shows, Series, or Movies. It;’s downtime to open Netflix and grab some snacks to enjoy the moment. Since you don’t know what to watch or what’s trending, check out the “Popular on Netflix” tab.
And that’s how Netflix includes social proof in its platform. Instead of searching around all the shows, their users can watch what other users are watching. Isn’t that a great way to retain viewers?
These all are the best social proof examples by leading brands, this is how popular brands use social proof in their online marketing and utilize different social platforms to build trust among their visitors like showcasing real-time signups. Now, let’s examine some case studies utilizing social proof according to industry.
Social Proof Advertising in Different Industry
Social Proof Marketing in SaaS Business
The SaaS industry has become more competitive than before, with the ability to stand out from the competition and grab potential customers to grow the business.
But how to overcome and build trust among the visitors? By using social proof in your SaaS marketing on your website!
The correct notification display of reviews and testimonials can do wonders for SaaS brands. It improves brand visibility and trust and aids in your growth marketing. They want to hear from other users about the product or services. Here are a few ways to use social proof for SaaS brands-
- Display personalized reviews from review sites like Capterra, G2, and others on landing and sales pages.
- Using the right social platforms and metrics.
- Showing popular subscriptions or most subscribed plans
- Share personalized product-led stories by users.
- Showing the number of sales of a particular plan.
Social Proof Marketing for eCommerce Sites & eCommerce Businesses
As an e-commerce brand, you might struggle to improve your sales, trustworthiness, and consumer confidence. But, no matter how great your online eCommerce marketing campaigns are at advertising your products, the simple truth is that “social proof” plays a key role.
Here are seven tactics for e-commerce brands to display social proof-
- Transaction popups provide a quick burst of social proof by displaying real-time testimonials, recent sales, and several active visitors.
- Show user-generated content on popups, landing and sales pages, websites, product pages, and online marketing advertisements.
- Employ videos of your customers where they share a personal experience using your product.
- Including social share buttons on your website that improve conversion rate
- Using social product badges, celebrity endorsement as celebrity social proof, and credentials.
Social Proof Marketing for eLearning & Online Coaching Business
E-learning is booming, the demand for quality content creators is increasing, and students have many options to choose from. But how would students validate the quality of your course or educational content?
That’s using social proof on your eLearning website. Let’s dive into some ways to use social proof in the E-learning industry.
- Show a live number of students in the course, the number of students enrolled for the course, and more.
- The show recently purchased courses or top-sold courses.
- Show students reviews around the course with stars,
- Showcase awards and certification that your business have received,
- Invite influencers or industry thought leaders to talk about your studies or collaborate for social media events.
- Use social proof like testimonials by students on your ad copy.
FOMO is one of the effective social proofs that helps in website conversions and adds a much-needed advantage over the competition.
Social Proof Advertising for Travel & Hospitality Industry
When talking about travel & hospitality, people love to read reviews and endorsements and seek reassurance from other customers. 95% of travelers read reviews before completing a booking. Here are a few ways to add social proof to your hospitality industry–
- Using reviews in your email marketing, newsletters, and websites,
- Turn your guests into marketers using User-generated content, including reviews, candid traveler photographs, and social media posts.
- Showcase the number of guests who visited or traveled with your brand, the number of social followers, and more.
- Showcase mentioned in the local press, in media, and in articles, take quotes from them and post them on your social platform.
- When you receive positive feedback, respond on a social media platform and improve the volume of endorsements.
- Inspire customers by showing them the most popular destinations, packages, and hotels other travelers recommend.
- Share stories when a celebrity flies to your destination.
- Add a sense of urgency by showcasing a few rooms left, or display notifications popups about the urgency.
Social proof in the hospitality industry is a smart way to build credibility, offer reassurance, and influence bookings by customers.
Social Proof Advertising in Real-Estate
Although word-of-mouth advertising helps generate real estate industry leads, social proof can help turn leads into clients. Here are some ways to implement social proof in the real estate industry:
- Display reviews and collect them from Google, Trustpilot, and Facebook.
- Show the total number of happy customers, ratings, and reviews on different platforms.
- Include photos and videos of customers and their families on sales pages, newsletters, buying guides, and more.
- The showcase featured section, along with what other customers are saying about you.
- Feature customer experience on Facebook feed, Instagram reel, and stories.
Collect reviews, testimonials, and ratings from different platforms to build customer trust.
Social Proof Marketing for Bloggers
Social proof can give your blog a different momentum, bring many blog readers, and connect with new people. For example, if someone sees 129k people have subscribed to your blog newsletter, isn’t that building trust and authority among your readers?
Let’s walk through some ways to implement social proof for bloggers-
- Encourage comments to showcase that your community engages with your blog,
- Tell stories about your clients or readers whom you’ve benefited from your blogs,
- Include the client’s testimonial or review along with their name, position, and brand name.
- Incorporate media recommendations, mentions, and tags from different bloggers in their newsletters.
- Show the number of subscribers to newsletters, the number of readers, the number of members in your community, and more.
- Highlight reviews in content marketing to build trust.
Social proof can play a pivotal role in growing your community and authority in your niche with the growing competition among bloggers.
Social Proof in Marketing for Affiliate Marketers
Affiliate marketing has grown tremendously in a few decades with the increase in online shopping. Social proof is important to sign new affiliates, increase sales, and generate website traffic. Put a social feed on your affiliate program landing page and Instagram account.
- Feature customers testimonials in one spot on your website,
- Highlight the brand’s endorsement to boost credibility,
- Highlight the number of products sold, visitors count, and more.
- Show visitor count notifications, live visitors on product pages, visitors on checkout pages, and more.
- Create urgency using time-bound offers, discount coupons, few-left, and more.
- Share unboxing videos from buyers, photos, stories, and more on your social platforms and website.
- Highlight recommendations from friends, family, influencers, verified accounts, and industry thought leaders.
You can boost sales, build trust among potential leads, and highlight the brand’s endorsements and value with the proper social proof on your affiliate website.
Social Proof Marketing for Sales Funnel Builder
Negative social proof can negatively impact customers and influence your sales. In the sales funnel, it is crucial to positively impact customers at every stage of the funnel and convert them into customers. Here are a few ways to add social proof to fight negative social proof:
- Highlight testimonials in email newsletters, websites, and on forums.
- Share a case study of your consumers showing how your brand helped them.
- Share social media shots on your website and social platforms.
- Showcase the number of times products are purchased, downloaded, or used in your sales funnel.
- Use popups to showcase real-time visitors’ offers on products, unique occasion products, time-bound offers, and more.
- Add social media share buttons, trust badges, media mentions, and more.
Here are some examples of how different industries can use social proof to build trust, credibility, and authority and improve sales. Let’s get some tips on how to ask for social proof from your competitors.
How to get Social Proof?
So, what if you’re starting and you don’t have social proof? One of the common questions is, how to create social proof if you don’t have any testimonials or customers yet? Here are a few ways to get going:
Never Fake it
Yes, social proof can improve your sales and build trust among your customers, but it gets higher conversion rates; never fake about it. People are on the lookout for fake reviews when shopping online. If customer feels the reviews are fake, it might negatively impact their sales.
You need to add verified customer testimonials indicating that real customers have purchased and recommended the product. For example, you can add a badge of verified customers and a review to make it real.
Product Give Away
Ideally, when you don’t have customers, one of the best ways is to give freebies. In exchange, you can ask for reviews, testimonials, mentions, and customer feedback.
It works best with influencers; you can give them a free product or trial of your services so they can use your product and share their reviews on social platforms. Then, instead of faking up the reviews, you can directly get a quote from influencers or customers who have used that free product or trial.
Show Bigger Picture
Another way, instead of hiring someone to talk about the product or services, is to find a quote from influencers that backups up your testimonials.
It allows you to positively impact your customer and is one of the most powerful social proofs. Followers trust influencers. In addition, you can ask bloggers or experts to review your products or services, adding one more positive impact on your customers.
So what are you waiting for? Social proof and FOMO can help you to increase your store conversion rate.
Social proof can come in many forms and shapes, from influencers to customers. Choose one of the social proofs or multiple ways to add to your website right now. You can use different notification types, WordPress plugins, social proof tools, widgets, and templates to ease your work.
Tools like WiserNotify can help you add social proof notifications to your eCommerce website. Whether built on platforms like WordPress or Wix or using codes, the tool can provide social proof without using a single line of code. So using these tools improve your social proof branding and makes it more powerful.
In addition, you can easily integrate the tool, see analytics report, and create popups and notifications showcasing new social proof notifications.