Social proof is a powerful digital marketing tool. It can help you elevate the credibility of your brand and website. It can make you a more trustworthy source of information. It can increase your conversion rates.
However, it’s not enough to just slap on any kind of social proof to your pages. You need to think carefully about what would work best for your target audience. Here are six ways to use social proof to your advantage:
Include Ratings on All Pages That Show Products
One of the most common types of social proof is product ratings. Most brands showcase them on their product pages. They’re a great way to incorporate user-generated content, plus they increase conversion rates.
As nearly all customers will read reviews, they should form the crux of your strategy.
However, what happens when a customer does not reach a product page? What if they only see the homepage? Should they miss out on hearing what others have to say about your products? Or what if they are still just browsing and aren’t ready to shop, and they end up diving no deeper than a product category page?
In order to capitalize on the power of product ratings, you simply need to make sure to include them on all pages that show products.
Let’s look at what this can look like on a product category page. For example, the ShopSolar complete solar power systems product category page features a star rating and shows how many reviews the rating is based on. This instantly boosts their value in customer’s eyes, as most of them have 5-star reviews.
It also elevates the quality and credibility of the entire brand. Customers are clearly satisfied with their products. This means that whatever you buy from them is likely to last long and meet your needs.
Notice how unobtrusive the social proof is, too. The ratings are there for everyone to see, and they stand out in orange. They are not obnoxious, though, and the brand doesn’t shove them in visitors’ faces anywhere.
You can take a similar approach for any products you display on the homepage (or any other non-product-specific landing page). Simply featuring their star ratings can go a long way in establishing overall brand and product credibility.
Remember to always show how many customers have reviewed a product. It’s not at all the same if one person and fifty shoppers have found a product to be great.
Display Recognizable Client Logos
Another great way to capitalize on the benefits of social proof is to prominently display the logos of your clients.
This tactic will boost your credibility in several ways. First, it will prove that you already have numerous clients under your belt. You clearly have some experience and expertise, so new clients shouldn’t be afraid to place their trust in you.
It will also show the kinds of clients you’ve worked with, helping leads understand whether you are the right fit. This will be more important in certain industries. For example, if you offer SEO services, clients will like to know if you have experience in their niche. If you sell office chairs, it won’t be as important.
Here’s a good way to display this information. Mannequin Mall’s dress forms product category page features client logos at the bottom. The brand has rightfully prioritized its product over social proof. However, since the page is short, most visitors will likely see the logos as well.
Also, note that a part of the text has cleverly been hidden to allow the logos room to shine. This ensures most visitors do see them and can adjust their perception of the brand accordingly.
Note that there is an issue to consider here. If your brand is an ecommerce one, whom you will work with will prove the quality of your products. If you offer a service, however, who you’ve worked with will need a bit of reinforcement.
If you can, provide a case study as well. You can link to it from each individual brand logo. It should serve to explain the services you provided and the results you’ve achieved. This will significantly increase the impact brand logos already have, further boosting your credibility.
Showcase Real Customer Interactions
While written social proof is a great way to elevate brand credibility, it can only do so much. Sometimes, when you want to say more, this content format will be limiting.
Video and audio can add an important layer of emotion and information to your social proof. You can use customer images and testimonials for the purpose. You can also go even further and showcase real customer interaction with your company.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may or may not be able to do this. If you accept customer service calls, you can showcase some of them. Make sure the customer is okay with you using the conversation for this purpose. Make sure to also edit out any personal information.
This can help customers gauge what your business ethic is like. It will show them another side of your business they may not have seen before.
You may also be able to provide a different kind of social proof. Look at the medical alert system page on Bay Alarm Medical and how they have used real customer calls to boost credibility. They have provided insight into how their system works. They have also shown the care their call agents lend to their job. And most importantly, they have shown how much of an impact their product can make on someone’s life.
Think about your business and how you can engage real customers. Is there a way for you to turn this communication into social proof?
If not, don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to benefit from it.
Utilize Visual User-Generated Content
User-generated content is one of the most impactful forms of social proof. It simply has no hidden agenda. Customers and clients are free to be honest about their experience with a brand. They can voice their own opinions and describe their experience.
On the other hand, a brand will never say that a product has a flaw. They will focus on the positives and try to be as honest and detailed as possible. They will, however, never be able to describe their products like customers can.
Similarly, the visual content customers create will often be more impactful than anything a brand does. Brand photos are necessarily slightly sterile. They need to show the product from a variety of angles. And they need to be as impersonal as possible while also appealing to a wide audience.
Adding user-generated images to your website can provide the level of intimacy brand photos can’t. They will be more appealing and more vibrant, and they’ll do a better job of conveying emotions. Seeing a smiling customer satisfied with their purchase is much better than seeing a staged product photo.
HelloFresh does a great job with the images they have taken from Instagram. They’ve created a specific hashtag their customers can use to get featured. And they don’t just share these photos on their social media accounts but also use them on their homepage.
This is a great way to show ordinary, relatable people preparing the meals. They also show how easy it is to make them and how the whole family can get involved. All the benefits of the product are there. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s delicious.
You can find a similar way to use user-generated visuals on your website. Just make sure the image authors are aware that their image might be used for the purpose.
Display Third-Party Reviews
Finally, let’s touch on the importance of using third-party reviews on your website.
While you certainly want customers to review individual products on-site, you also want them to speak about your brand elsewhere. Customers will likely take a look at your Google reviews before choosing to work with you. They may also google your brand name and see what comes up.
You want to give these diligent leads something nice to find. There are websites that people inherently trust, like Trustpilot or Capterra. This is usually where you can find the dirt, if there is any.
Encourage customers to leave these reviews, and make sure to display them on your website. You want them to be seen even by the people who did not do a bit of research before coming to your website.
Debutify is a great example of how this tactic can be used. They have pulled all of their third-party reviews together and show you their combined score. Since they all come from very reputable sources, they carry a lot of weight.
Note how they also tell you how many reviews the ratings are based on. As you know, this speaks more loudly than the star rating itself.
If you currently don’t have a lot of third-party reviews, start encouraging your customers to leave them. They can be a great way to drive traffic and boost your brand authority and credibility.
Now that you know how you can use social proof to elevate your brand’ credibility, take a moment to look at your website. What kind of social proof are you already using? Can you add some to it, or do you need to take away something? Is there a way to improve your social proof strategy?