Social proof can be a great way to help push your visitors towards a conversion. It doesn't matter what your conversion is, it might be a purchase, it could be a PDF download, or it could be a newsletter signup.
If you can show visitors that there are other people out there, just like them, taking advantage of your offer and really enjoying the results--they're likely to want to take advantage too!
So what is social proof?
The definition of social proof according to Wikipedia is:
"Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation."
In simple terms, this means that when people see other people taking an action and benefiting from it, they'll tend to take the same action.
It's the concept behind virality on social media, those trending kids' toys that there are always a couple of every year, and the power of online review sites like Tripadvisor.
In simple terms, by showing visitors to your website or social media posts that other normal people, just like them, really enjoy your product or service, you're giving them social proof that you're providing a good service or selling a good product.
The same applies to newsletter signups. If you show new visitors text and images of people who have already signed up to your newsletter and loved it, it encourages the new users to take the same action.
Think about Amazon reviews: Why do you think the products with the highest reviews perform the best? The reviews that appear on Amazon give the shopper social proof that the product they're looking at is right for them, so they buy it.
There are a lot of different ways to provide social proof.
After you've read through this article, keep an eye open for it in the future. I can guarantee that you'll start seeing elements of social proof right across the Internet.
1. Reviews for Social Proof.
It's been well documented that reviews are one of the most powerful forms of social proof.
That's precisely the reason why every ecommerce CMS worth using will have review functionality. The ability to show prospective customers the rating of a product is a great way to increase conversions.
The first thing to do is make sure you have this functionality.
CEO, Ryan Sasser from CurrencyLiquidator knows the "tricks" very well because his business it's based on such angle. As an entrepreneur Ryan admits that no business now days can resist without some ongoing social media optimization and solid marketing strategies.
Even if you're not running an ecommerce business, you should always allow clients to submit their views on your product or service. Not only will this help provide social proof for new clients or customers, but you can also gain some really valuable insight into the issues that people may have with your products.
You can attract reviews in a number of different ways but I've included the most popular processes below:
2. As Seen On Logos.
This is another form of social proof that you'll commonly see on websites.
If your business has been featured on a nationally (or even locally) recognized media outlet, it's a good idea to draw attention to that fact.
The majority of consumers really trust these big brands.
"A Logo can change the future of the company", that's what CEO, Todd Ehrlich from KillCliff said.
If they see that the BBC, or New York Times, or Mashable, or Wired, or any publisher like that, has featured you're business, their first thought will be:
"Oh it must be good if they're covering it!"
That simple thought process makes the user more likely to convert. So when you're lucky enough to be covered by a huge media outlet, make sure you notify users on your website.
3. Social Media Mentions.
The power of social media has been discussed over and over again. One of the reasons it can be so powerful is that it allows real people the chance to interact with brands in a public forum.
You should already be monitoring brand mentions on social media--it's invaluable data. But beyond finding posts where people mention to you and responding to all queries, what else can you do to leverage this social media attention?
By posting positive (or even embedding) positive social media reaction on your website you're showing new visitors that other people, just like them, have enjoyed your product or service.
Not only will this help social media users become more familiar with your brand and begin to trust your products even more, but you can also give that same impression to users on your website. On top of that, it comes at no cost to you whatsoever.
As you grow you'll get more and more of these brand mentions. Don't forget to utilize them to help convince other prospects that you're a trustworthy brand!
Now that you've understood what social proof is and you've got a few examples of how to utilize it, you'll be able to find lots of different ways of leveraging this powerful social phenomenon.