The ever changing nature of the ‘online’ world is what forms the basis of social proofing. Every knowledgeable online marketer will confer with this chain of thought. There are good reasons why the Internet is considered so haphazard due to the sheer volumes of content available.
There’s no point beating around the bush here. Let’s cut to the chase.
The online space is well and truly laden with faulty offers and misleading deals. You must’ve come across many: ‘I made $100,000 by playing online rummy; you can too’ or ‘Here’s how you can get an SEO-optimized website in one click’.
Social proofing is basically as close to transparency as you can get. Try and remember the last time you bought a product from a nascent brand or took up a service without going through the recommendations and reviews sections first. Can’t remember, can you?
This is how social proofing weaves its magic; it is detrimental when it comes to the decision making process for a fellow customer.
As the name suggests, social proofing is the phenomenon by which individuals are influenced by their peers and surroundings to act in a certain manner. This forms the base of social proofing.
Isn’t it common sense? You see a bunch of individuals indulging in the same activities and you automatically presume that it’s the right thing to do. Don’t want to burst your bubble here but even if we don’t like to admit, we’re more dependent than we think we are.
Now this theory is well and truly alive in business; that’s the edge long lasting competitors hold over nascent businesses. And if everyone else is doing the same particular thing; it makes good sense to join the herd.
After all that is said and done, social proofing helps customers feel better about their decision making process. And this is what every online business wants at the end of the day.
Social proofing should basically exist throughout your website. You can never have enough of social proofing. The key is to figure out a way to maximize the effect by positing the elements right.
However, which proofing elements should you consider for your website? Here’s a rundown of some of the most effective elements you should pay attention to if you’re in it for the long haul:
Clearly, we’ve started with the biggest difference maker. This is clearly one of the most potent techniques out there; something which will become clear to you if you opt for professional SEO services.
A case study basically shouts the importance of social proof through and through; it tells the customers everything critical about you, eliminating the bits that aren’t needed.
Who doesn’t like a success story?
This is what a case study brings to the table:
Isn’t this much more fulfilling than a ‘I highly recommend XYZ for this’?
Well, now comes the hard bit; where to showcase all such stories? I suggest you should opt for a separate page; as it appears much more holistic and structured that way. You can use videos or include them as answers on your FAQ page. You can also display a snapshot on the testimonials page prompting users to ‘Read more’.
Influencers are individuals who can affect the decision making process of customers on a positive line. Everyone knows who they are, everyone is familiar with them and the trust building bit comes instantly. No wonder brands spend millions on getting celebs showcase their products for mere seconds on the TV.
Getting a big time personality for your brand makes one hell of a difference. It might empty your pockets initially, but then returns are long time as people will start relating to your brand just because they have their favorite actor endorsing it. Do the math!
Now getting an influencer isn’t as easy as getting Magento website development services for yourself. What you have to do is target influencers that are gettable. Then you should start engaging with their content, make a good first impression and then touch base via e-mail. Of course, you’ll have to give them a big reason to say yes.
Seems too tough an ordeal? Grow your pockets then.
One such study citing social proof examples stated that influencers have the capacity to make back as much as 20 times, if you choose wisely. Doesn’t everything feel like Christmas all of a sudden?
And if you can bag some influencers; showcase them on all your landing pages.
Now we’re not talking about the cliché that surrounds ‘sharing is caring’. This is about social media plug-ins on your website.
It is something that is being followed by every average Joe out there, right from the nascent businesses to the big time juggernauts. Why? Because social media is simply everywhere.
Use social sharing icons along with your blogs. Imagine someone reading a blog which has been liked 5047 times. This is what a testament of quality is these days.
Now, this is not as easy as it seems as you’re opening doors to negative social proof as well. Capiche? Well, how will a 2 year old blog post with 2 likes appear? Get my point? Well, some tools might actually allow you to hide such numbers if they aren’t good enough. Ergo, where there is a will; there is a way.
What is social proof in marketing? Well, you can never go wrong with this one.
Whenever I usually go for online shopping and I’m fixated on a product; looking at the ‘customers usually pair this up with’ or the ‘customers also bought’ makes my shopping job a whole lot easier.
Sometimes, this acts as a much needed reminder as well just in case you’re forgetting batteries for your trimmer. This increases chances of further sales by manifolds. Now, this is not just meant for sales if that’s what you’re thinking.
It is a sure shot sign that your website is popular and that you’re getting many visitors (at least that’s how it appears) and that your products are going through the roof.
Not simply before opting for any important services online, even with social proofing, an expert opinion matters. How so?
Well, not everyone can shell off big bucks and get an influencer on board. Not everyone can get a bunch of testimonials on the home page. Not everyone can make videos of case studies and success stories if there are none. Such is the state of most nascent businesses out there.
This is where expert opinions enter the fray. Let’s say you’re building an informative website around cinematic wedding photography. Now, you’re just starting out and have next to no credentials. What do you do?
You start featuring quotes from some of the individuals who’ve done it all in your domain. This is social proofing that actually works. This indirectly tells your website visitors that your work is important and that there is a need for it. Most importantly, it tells them that there are success stories in your field.
Unless it’s a personal favour, do remember to credit the quote sources and you’re golden.
When was the last time you had to go a restaurant and stand in the waiting queue? Of course, it is as irritating as it sounds; but what if that was your first visit? Standing in the waiting queue in such a case is proof enough that the restaurant is doing well and that you’re in for a sumptuous meal minutes later.
This is how real time stats work in the online world. If visitors can see the statistics around your website like total number of active visitors currently or total number of sales today or total successful check-outs in the past hour – such elements add a whole lot of credibility.
Showing the real time stats of how many people are currently viewing the page, or how many customers are currently purchasing is not only a great form of social proof but it adds urgency into the mix as well. Of course, this can’t be an option for nascent businesses. You know why! Your woocommerce experts can help to implement this on your website using a script
Have you ever noticed that brands have a way of showcasing their expansive clientele right there on the home page? Ever wondered why? Social proofing, that’s why.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be an Apple-esque brand. Any noteworthy name in your domain would do the trick. For that, you’ll have to get your hands dirty though. Pun intended!
If ever you’ve been interviewed there or your guest post has featured or an affiliate link, you can use their logo to enhance your credibility. And trust me, something as small as this does actually matter.
Now this might not be a traditional media mention but it will give you instant results
This in in the same vein as the ‘customers also bought’ section. However, this is a more specific approach and works wonders if executed in the right manner.
If someone’s buying from you or intending to; checking out the best seller would be his/her first bet. As that’s what customers do. They like to know what’s selling, why it is selling and see for themselves. Even if they might not buy your ‘best seller’, they’ll definitely be curious enough to click.
This definitely increases conversions. This can act as a ‘deal maker’ in many cases. No wonder Amazon showcases some of its products with an eye-catching ‘#1 best seller banner1’. Many potential leads have converted into sales and long may this continue.
These are basically elements which help a customer who’s stranded at the last next step. One who didn’t like your offering in the first place is not the targeted group here. However, one who’s in a dilemma falls right in your wheelhouse.
Trust icons and certifications help customers feel safe about opting for your services or products. And it’s true, having credentials is far from being a guarantee; but it certainly give a positive push. Some sceptical souls need a trigger!
Certifications citing your expertise can actually make a big difference.
Trust seals; what are they? Basically, it can either be a money back guarantee or credit card logos or SSL certificates or privacy badges. This is crucial for sales landing pages; might not be a necessity but it definitely will get a few numbers in your favour. Your customers need to know that their valuable payment information is safe no matter what.
Wonder why PayPal has become so huge internationally? Now you get it, don’t you?
Taking a step above regular customer reviews, you can give your loyal customers an opportunity to create their profiles so that they can become ambassadors for your company or brand.
This will not only give them a sense of belonging but will enable them to spread your services and products amongst their peers and family. When a new visitor sees this, he/she will instantly be reassured knowing that your brand is being trusted by so many individuals.
Alas! We’ve come to this. Not as extravagant as case studies, but a basic necessity all in all. Much easier to execute, customer testimonials have been around since time immemorial and there are good reasons why.
There’s no better human connect than this. And customers aren’t just looking to connect with you as a brand; they want to connect with you as people too. They seek that closeness.
However, testimonials might not be enough to do the trick; hence they need to be paired up with other elements for maximum efficiency.
Like you can place them next to an order form or a contact form, a call-to-action icon or on the landing page.
This is same as the ‘best seller’ section, albeit a broader concept. This way you can showcase a section of some of the most popular products, listing and services on your website.
You can place them on a sidebar or on the footer itself so that it gets showcased on every single website page. This reinforces the best you have to offer, which ultimately will increase your chances of getting sales.
Last but not the least, we’ve come down to ratings and online reviews. This one’s a no brainer really.
You want new customers to know that you’re loved by your existing clientele; as simple as that. And this is the best way to showcase it. However, be wary of negative ratings as it can act as a deal breaker as well.
What other tips do you have about using social proofs on website? Let us know in the comment section below