How Can You Use Social Proof?
Published on 27 Sep
This may not be the first time you've heard of social proof, an enigmatic digital marketing concept, and it certainly won't be the last. Because the meaning, use, and benefits of social proof can be hard to grasp, it often gets overlooked for the valuable strategy it is. Digital marketing agencies leverage the tool in various ways to improve online sales, from e-commerce web design to social media marketing and PPC marketing.
What is Social Proof - Really?
Social proof is an idea based in psychology that an individual is influenced by the actions of the people around them. At its core, social proof comes down to the notion of "safety in numbers." It empowers people with minimal background knowledge or uncertainty with the confidence to react to situations and make decisions based on the actions of those around them. Digital marketing services use social proof to convey trustworthiness or reliability to potential customers who may be skeptical to try something new.
Trustworthiness and E-Commerce
This concept of social proof is fundamental to the customer experience and helps to generate more conversions/sales with online stores. Studies found that 81% of online shoppers feel unsafe when visiting a new or unfamiliar website. With credit card numbers and other sensitive information at stake when shopping online, trustworthiness is significant to whether website visitors convert into sales. Consumers value social proof here more than ever. If visitors don't feel a sense of reliability or security quickly upon reaching your website, they will likely bounce to a competitor. To avoid this, e-commerce web design should include social proof.
How to Use Social Proof?
There are numerous ways to enhance your e-commerce website with social proof. Whatever you choose should be based on your target audience, industry competitors, and market trends.
Reviews/Ratings/Testimonials: Online reviews are arguably the most important type of social proof. Reviews are often featured in text with star ratings that most online shoppers read before adding an item to their cart. This means that reviews should not be for an entire site. Your e-commerce web design should allow and encourage customers to add reviews directly to each product: the more, the better. Research shows that 92% of customers will trust an online review from a stranger. Studies determined that to enable sales, the average rating of a product should be 4 stars or better and have at least 40 reviews.
Social Media: While some people are skeptical about the value of social media marketing, there is no doubt that these platforms can supplement digital marketing strategies and e-commerce websites. Social media provides potential customers with insight into follower activity and brand engagement, which allows viewers to assess the credibility of the business and offerings on their own. Here, B2C and B2B sellers can effortlessly convey their reliability through regularly scheduled content and direct customer engagement. As your brand is shared across social platforms, viewers will feel more confident about visiting your site and making a purchase.
Influencers: There's a reason influencers have become such a popular option for consumer-facing brands leveraging social media marketing. When a business sends products or offers a service to a celebrity or influencer, they are banking on loyalty and credibility between potential customers and notable figures. When a potential customer sees someone they deem trustworthy using and supporting a product or service, it reduces the anxiety, fear, or uncertainty of a new product or business that can boost sales dramatically.
Endorsements: In the same way online shoppers value the opinion of people they trust, they also appreciate the opinion of reliable or longstanding businesses and organizations. Endorsements are testimonials from high profile customers. For example, a company that advertises or promotes that Google uses their products or subscribes to their service can create an instant sense of assurance because people are familiar with Google.
It is understood that, because we trust Google, we can justify working with a business that Google works with themselves.
Stats and Data: If you don't want to look elsewhere for social proof, you can feature compelling data or statistics about your brand right on your website. Answer questions like how many products you've sold? How many happy customers have been served? Or even how many customers return. These types of stats are a key type of social proof and should be featured on the homepage, service pages/product pages and checkout pages.
From the traditional word-of-mouth marketing and referral programs to media opportunities, there are many more ways you can enable the effects of social proof to improve sales and customer retention. Work with a local digital marketing agency to determine the best type of social proof for your business and learn how you can incorporate it into more than just your e-commerce web design, but PPC Marketing and social media marketing too!
At Xi Digital, we provide a full range of digital marketing services for businesses like yours. We use advanced marketing trends, proven strategies, and custom industry insights to help you build a strong online presence that improves your bottom line.