Social proof refers to the concept of the wisdom of crowds: If many other people approve of something, you are more likely to consider it worthwhile yourself.
Example of social proof are testimonials, case studies and research; however, you can use other creative strategies to build trust and increase conversions – here are a few:.
1. The Bandwagon Effect
No matter our opinions on it, human brains are hard-wired with herd mentality, making us susceptible to following the herd and following others into making purchases and decisions about products and services we purchase. A successful bandwagon effect strategy can increase conversion rates while creating brand loyalty among consumers.
Social proof can also be used to create the perception that a product or service is limited in supply or exclusive; for instance, landing pages often feature countdown clocks which indicate how few copies remain of an eBook. This form of social proof creates the sense that customers may miss out if they do not act quickly to act quickly on it.
One variation on this approach is to emphasize the number of views, add-to-carts or purchases made within a specified time period – this creates an incentive to purchase quickly while stimulating FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Social proof can come in the form of case studies of your past successes. By showing potential customers your company’s expertise, these accounts can convince even doubting visitors that investing in your service will pay dividends.
Consider taking an unconventional approach by listing any prominent clients you currently have and displaying their logos on your homepage or landing pages – this strategy could have an impressively powerful effect on conversions!
2. Expert Endorsements
Expert endorsements can be an excellent way to use social proof effectively. Their goal is to demonstrate the knowledge and experience your brand has that can assist consumers when making a decision about your brand; industry leaders or highly recognizable figures with high credibility among consumers are particularly powerful when providing expert endorsements (e.g. obtaining endorsement from a respected dentist for toothpaste products can have great power).
Positive customer reviews are one of the most compelling forms of social proof, and every company should work to achieve as many as possible. Reviews can increase conversion rates and can be found across various online platforms like Google, Yelp, Facebook and Capterra.
Testimonials are another powerful form of social proof. These short-form recommendations from satisfied customers can be used anywhere on your site and are particularly effective for B2B companies or services. Video testimonials offer additional storytelling power over written content.
Infographics can also be an effective way of conveying social proof, as they allow you to present statistics more aesthetically than text alone. But be careful when using infographics for marketing as consumers may view your infographic content as too promotional and thus less trustworthy.
3. Reputation Management
As more interactions take place online, brands need to go beyond traditional marketing techniques in order to stay competitive. Social proof has emerged as one of the most powerful tools available to marketers today – developed by Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion as the idea that people will conform their actions with those of others as proof that those actions represent correct behavior.
As there are multiple methods for using social proof on your website, leveraging social proof can be done in multiple ways. From industry expert testimonials and customer reviews to displaying logos of notable companies that have worked with you before – using social proof is an invaluable way to build credibility and trust early in the buyer journey.
Imagine a potential customer is considering two business software solutions and trying to decide between them, both of which have hundreds of five-star reviews on Capterra. However, when they see actual friends discussing one on LinkedIn they’re much more likely to sign up for a trial as user-generated content is much more trustworthy and feels less like advertising – an eyewitness account from one of your employees might even be more persuasive than an anonymous review.
4. Social Media
B2B customers may be skeptical to try new products and services, so social proof can help ease this hesitancy by showing that others have utilized and been pleased with it. Testimonials, reviews, and awards are excellent ways for businesses to demonstrate social proof.
When adding social proof into your marketing, make sure the content chosen is authentic and relevant to your business. Furthermore, be mindful of where its source lies – is it coming from an authority figure or representative from within the target audience itself? Social proof works best when presented in an easily digestible manner.
For instance, if your software declutters employee inboxes, highlight its success through real customer stories on your website or marketing e-mails. In-depth case studies with before and after data can also demonstrate this success.
Social proof for B2B companies that can be especially powerful is media mentions. You can highlight them on your website, email marketing materials or as CI Direct Investing does (above). Authentic and relevant media mentions should always be showcased to customers; also if an influencer has recommended your product/service it’s essential that this be made clear in any communications with clients/audience.