Conversions come from trust. In every conversion, whether it’s a purchase, lead registration, download, donation, there’s an integral layer of trust. Whether it’s providing valuable content, producing a quality product, or solving the intended problem, the user on the other end of the conversion has to believe that the company or organization they are working with will fulfill their end of the bargain. There are several different psychological tactics that marketers leverage to build trust and drive conversions (think free trials, discounts, etc.), but none are more powerful than social proof.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the different types of social proof and how your brand can leverage this trust-building magic mojo to drive conversions and grow your business.
Quick note from the author, you’ve asked, and we’ve given. We’ve updated this post to include more detail on how to use social proof to drive conversions. New updates are below in bold.
What Makes Social Proof So Powerful?
Alright, it’s stat time, here’s just a small taste of the proof (see what we did their) of the magic of social proof in building trust and driving conversions.
- 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust an online social proof review as much as a recommendation from a close family member or friend.
- In a 2018 eMarket survey, 100% of those aged between 18-29 stated they “checked reviews before making a purchase”.
- 82% of Americans surveyed said that they value endorsements from friends and family when deciding to make a purchase.
- 61% of customers read online reviews before choosing to buy a product or service
- Nearly 70 percent of online consumers look at a product review before making a purchase according to the consumerist
- In a recent survey, 63% of consumers indicated they are more likely to make a purchase from a website with product ratings and reviews
As you can see whether it’s a published review, a stated testimonial, or a recommendation from a friend, including social proof within the user journey can play a pivotal role in driving conversions.
The 6 Different Major Types/Sources of Social Proof
The experts have chimed in, and most marketers agree that there are six significant types/sources of social proof. They are:
Who better to praise your business or organization than your existing customer base? Whether it’s a testimonial or a case study, use the personal experience of your past converters to help foster trust with your prospects and prospective customers.
Shout outs and endorsements from established experts in the field can help to reinforce your brand as a credible and reputable partner
Whether they’re customers or not, celebrities and influencers have built both a reputation and a fan base. Their fans trust their recommendations, and when a celebrity/influencer endorses your brand, then that trust also carries over to your band.
One of the most potent forms of social proof is sheer volume. Having large numbers of users can be a strong indication of potential converters that your offering has been vetted and deemed worthy by a critical number of users.
People who have friends, family members, or personal connections who have already converted (and had a positive experience) are also more likely to convert.
Social proof doesn’t always have to come from people. Certifications from trustworthy, third party entities or organizations can also provide credibility and social proof.
How to Leverage Social Proof To Drive Conversions
With your points of social proof (testimonials, case studies, reviews) in hand, it’s time to integrate these proof points into your user journeys and marketing materials.
Here are ten of our favorite ways to leverage social proof within your marketing strategy.
- Publish testimonials and case studies on your landing pages.
- Promote product reviews on your product pages.
- Curate and publish user-generated content onto your social platforms.
- Feature celebrity or influencer endorsements in your ads or video content pieces.
- Showcase key user stats and volume data during critical consideration phases of a user’s journey.
- Incorporate call-outs and shout-outs in your email marketing pieces.
- Leverage Facebook and other social sharing platforms to show a user if there friends/family have converted.
- Use social proof in your ad copy.
- Place certification seals or endorsements in the header/footer of your website.
- Include rating data on your product detail pages.
1) Publish Testimonials and Case Studies on your Landing Pages
Publishing testimonials and case studies on your landing pages builds consumer trust and explains your products or services in terms your customer can understand. Often times product or service descriptions don’t fully embody the feeling your products or service evokes. With testimonials and case studies, potential new customers can gain real lifereal-life examples of your brand explained in ways you simply can’t. Because of this immediate connection from consumer to consumer, you can help potential customers develop an emotional connection to your brand. How many times have you read a funny, heartwarming or silly review? It makes you want to experience the product or service yourself more often than not. Even bad experiences still want to be shared (we’re talking about you sugar-free Haribo Gummy Bears).
2) Promote Product Reviews on your Product Pages
If you were walking down the street and someone suggested you try a sandwich shop, you’d probably politely smile and ignore them. However, online is a little different. 70% of people say that they trust reviews and recommendations from strangers. According to Vendasta, 88% of people say consumer reviews impact their purchasing decision. There’s probably some lengthy study on “the why” we like to believe strangers online, but we don’t need to read a study to know that it works. How often do you seek out reviews before making a purchase decision? And this habit doesn’t only include major purchasing decisions. Look at platforms like Yelp where customers leave reviews for places where the most expensive plate is $10. Customers always want to know what other people are thinking and saying; whether if it’s for an $8 sandwich or a sofa sectional, they want to read the reviews.
3) Curate and Publish User-Generated Content onto your Social Platforms
Why do people love UGC so much? First, it makes customers feel like a celebrity! To be featured on another niche of the Internet for something you made is one of those little things that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Second, potential customers and current customers love it! It’s always so cool to see how customers are using your product in their life, because the reality is that we are all so different and yet in many ways the same. By featuring user-generated content, you are helping other customers see how they’re both uniquely different and the same, which is actually a pretty comforting and connecting feeling.
4) Feature Celebrity or Influencer Endorsements in your Ads or Video Content Pieces
Nearly half of consumers rely on influencers to, well, influence their purchasing decisions. But influencer marketing isn’t just about pretty pictures and a congruent grid and aesthetic. Influencer marketing campaigns earn $5.78 for every dollar spent, according to The State of Influencer Marketing 2020. Influencer marketing can have a significant positive impact on your marketing strategy and is often more cost-effective than traditional marketing campaign strategies.
5) Showcase Key User Stats and Volume Data During Critical Consideration Phases of a User’s Journey.
While consumer reviews may be enough for things like a sofa or sandwich, consumers need to see some serious numbers for other products. While your case studies may include this kind of information, let’s be honest, most people don’t read. We’re impressed you’ve made it this far! Take the numbers and stats from your case studies and use them as standalone marketing points to help consumers see the value in your brand.
6) Incorporate Call-outs and Shout-outs in your Email Marketing Pieces
As we mentioned above, it feels good to be recognized by a brand we love! Often consumers aren’t just talking about you online. By shouting them out in your email marketing campaigns, you’re sending a thank you to that customer and letting others know on your email list that they might be next. Shout-outs are an extremely emotional selling point that creates suspense, gratitude, and connectedness. And most of all, they’re fun!
7) Leverage Facebook and Other Social Sharing Platforms to Show a User if Their Friends/Family Have Converted
Your mom, your friends, your coworkers, even Grandma are on social media. If your brand isn’t on, at the very least, Facebook, then it’s time to catch up to modern times at warp speed, pal. Using Facebook and other social sharing platforms to share user-generated content, do shout outs or utilize influencer marketing can help improve conversions for a myriad of reasons. It enhances consumer confidence, creates an emotional bond, and shows your brand in real-life situations that your ad copy could never truly capture. Also, paid ads on social sites like Facebook can cost you just pennies to a single dollar a day and reach hundreds or even thousands of people.
8) Use Social Proof in your Ad Copy
Brands like Three Spirits and Kin Euphorics often use consumer quotes and testimonials in their ads. Why? Because it works! Especially for products looking to break into or make a new market. Implementing social proof into your ad copy moves your ad from strictly an advertisement to closer to a testimonial. And, as we discussed earlier, testimonials have a positive impact on conversion and sales.
9) Place Certification Seals or Endorsements in the Header/Footer of your Website
Who doesn’t love to see a seal or endorsement? These help customers know that your product is real and backed by someone or another entity they trust. This is especially important for products and services trying to make their way into a new market or create an entirely new lane within an already existing market. Building trust is one of the best ways to drive conversions and bring back repeat customers.
10) Include Rating Data on your Product Detail Pages
While reviews and testimonials are great, some people process value numerically. This means that a long paragraph about how your product changed someone’s life may mean nothing to someone who prefers to see it in numbers. Instead, you can convert the testimonial into percents. For example, if your product had someone doing dishes three nights a week vs. the previous six, your product reduced their dishwashing time by 50%. That sounds pretty sweet, right? It’s also much more computable than trying to place the value of three nights vs. six nights. What does it even mean to have three extra nights back? For each customer, it may be different, and equating it to having more time with their family or kids may not be relatable. While someone may relate to a long story about your brand and its positive impact, someone else may want to know whether you’re a 3- or 4-star brand. Rating data is fast, easy, and an excellent option for people who may not want to leave a text review.
How to Earn More Social Proof
Ready to start earning more social proof? Consider launching an advocacy marketing program with SocialToaster. Through advocacy marketing, you can leverage the social sharing power of your biggest brand fans to help amplify your content, drive engagement, garner testimonials and reviews, and increase conversions.
Ready to grow your social proof points and start driving conversions? We can help.
Contact us today to schedule a demo with one of our advocacy strategists and start leveraging the conversion-driving power of social proof today.