Social Proof – How to Use Your Most Influential Marketing Asset

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It is unconventional for visitors that are brand-new to your site to become life-long customers right off the bat. Your business needs to earn their trust. 

Social proof is a great tool in facilitating that process. It is one of the most effective tools for building confidence in an e-commerce business. It even has the potential to be even more powerful as your business grows. 

But how can you use this marketing asset to garner traffic to your site and help grow your business?

What is social proof? Why is it so valuable?

Social proof is a psychological concept that explains our tendency to rely on other people’s opinions to form our own opinion. It helps validate a choice you’re making, saying that it is worth your time, money, or interest if other people think it is worth their time. Social proof sometimes makes people form a decision differently than they would if they went off their judgment. 

Whether you are familiar with social proof, there is a high chance it has influenced your decisions. We are curious creatures and want to know what the buzz is around certain things, such as products, television shows, etc. In the simplest terms, social proof is people who follow the crowd. 

Social proof can be an excellent tool for marketers who want to promote their brand, products, and services when used correctly. People may become more confident in your brand if other people highlight its best features. 

The Different Types of Social Proof 

1. Popularity 

A potential customer can quickly see how popular a brand is on social media in several ways:

  • Seeing how many likes, comments, views, and shares a post gets on social media. 
  • The number of viewers on live broadcasts for both Facebook and Instagram. 
  • You can also share the number of subscribers on your email list. If customers see many subscribers, they could be more willing to join the list. 

When potential customers see a brand’s popularity, they may feel better about buying from your brand. At the very least, they will be more inclined to look at your products. 

2. Public Praise

Potential customers trust what other people are saying about the products that they are viewing. This may be one of the most effective ways to sell your products. Especially when buying online, a customer will look at online reviews. That way, they can see what other people are saying about the product they are thinking about buying. 

Two main types of public praise are beneficial: reviews/ratings and user-generated content. 

You can collect reviews and ratings through several apps and display them on your website.

These include Yelp, Facebook, and even Google. Product reviews and company reviews show potential customers that you are a brand they can trust.

User-generated content is what your customers share online about your brand. This is when customers share their personal experiences dealing with your brand and products. For example, they may tag you or use your hashtag. This is more authentic than sponsored content, and potential customers will trust peer recommendations and user-generated content more. 

If you find any user-generated content on social media and get the original author’s permission, share it on your channels. This way, new and returning customers can see it!

3. Endorsements from Trusted Influencers and Experts 

This type of social proof can be challenging to create and, if not executed properly, can make it seem fake and less authentic. But, even though paid-for-partnerships may not always seem genuine, they can still be useful.

Sharing a review or endorsement publicly from influencers or industry experts counts as an endorsement. Micro-influencers (industry bloggers, complementary businesses in your niche, etc.) may have an effective influence that overlaps with your target audience. These endorsements can be beneficial for your business. But you want to make sure it doesn’t read like a sales pitch.

Influencers come in all forms, someone with a very active social media following, a celebrity, etc. When looking for endorsements, one thing to keep in mind is to find the right match. You can achieve this by knowing your target audience. It is beneficial to find an influencer that your target audience knows and trusts. This will also gain more publicity from the rest of the endorsements followers. 

You can achieve endorsements in many ways. For example, they could mention your brand in their posts or review your product on their website or blog. An endorsement could also share your social media post and then talk about your brand. They could also write or record a testimonial that you can feature on your site. Just make sure that you choose the best fit for your brand and products. 

4. Proof of Demand

Your business can have all the right endorsements, reviews, and comments, but those can come across as fake if you’re not selling the products. This can result in people not buying your product. 

The most effective and easy way to show customers proof of demand is by showing how many orders you’ve fulfilled, which you can incorporate into your copywriting. When you have a large volume of sales, that showcases demand. When potential customers see people are buying your products, they are more likely to buy too.

Where to use Social Proof in Marketing Your Brand

1. Social Media 

Social media is one of the first places potential customers will turn to find out information about your brand. Having a lot of visibility right on social media can encourage new visitors to check out your website. 

You could achieve this by focusing more on engagement-building campaigns and not just sales-oriented content. Creating content that engages your followers and generates conversations will get more people talking about your product and brand. 

Some things that you can do to create engagement-building content include: 

  • Instagram Stories that feature a poll and asks followers to choose between two options. The answers are also visible to everyone in real-time! You can also feature a poll in a Facebook Story too.
  • Contests that ask followers to tag a friend, share a post or story, caption a photo, share a picture with your product and use the hashtag in the post. 

Let your users know that you may feature them on your channel if they share their experiences. Ensure that you always have the user’s permission before sharing their social media on your social channel. Also, make sure that you tag the original poster.

A lot of people like it when a company shares their post. It makes them feel appreciated and may get them to share more content in the future.

You want to make a good impression right when a user views your channels. Choose a high-performing post with an image with a lot of traffic and pin it to the top of your Facebook or Twitter page. This way, it is the first thing that viewers see.

Social media is an excellent and useful place to display social proof. For example, many people go to social media to see what others say about the brand when researching a brand or product.

2. PPC Campaigns

The most effective use of reviews as the main focus of ads in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. You can include these in Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, and Promoted Pins, which give you lots of description room. 

Place the text you want to show in the description and use images or a video of the product highlighted.

The more likes, comments, and shares that the post collects on an ad will give it more social proof, and more users will likely pay attention. This creates a snowball effect, which provides you with more momentum to run a particular ad. 

3. Emails 

Emails are an excellent place to use social proof to drive sales. You can include in your email reviews about specific products. You can include this in your email design and a picture of the product. 

Furthermore, you can also include the reviewer’s name if you have their permission. Highlight this section with a title such as “See what our customers are saying” to pique potential buyers’ interest.

While we’re in the age of social media, you don’t see social proof through emails all that often anymore. But, it can still grab the reader’s attention and potentially garner sales. 

You can also create automated emails for your best-selling products and include reviews in those. Again, these are effective when sent out to users who have viewed the product.

4. Your Blog Posts

You can use your blog posts to build trust with all types of customers. Through your blog posts, you can create engagement-building techniques. For example, you can encourage readers to leave comments on specific questions. You can also open the floor to let them ask you any questions. 

Case studies are another effective way to showcase your products and services. Reading another customer’s success story may be the key for another potential customer to pull the trigger on buying your product. Success stories are a great way to grow your customer base. 

People are more likely to read something that has been shared by not only their friends or colleagues but by anybody they follow on social media. Therefore, it would be useful if your social sharing tool has a share counter where visitors could see how many shares your post has across all social media platforms. This can act as a motivator for others to read your content. 

Apps that Leverage Social Proof 

While the thought of gaining social proof can seem overwhelming, there are plenty of Shopify apps that can help you leverage it.

1. Loox Reviews 

Loox Reviews is a Shopify app. It will automatically send out emails to your customers asking for reviews. They may even offer discounts if the reviewer includes a photo. You can collect this data and showcase those reviews anywhere in your store. For example, feature them on your homepage or product page, or create a separate page for reviews.

2. Facebook Reviews by Omega

If you already have social proof on Facebook and want to leverage it for your site, use Facebook Reviews by Omega! It gives you the ability to display those Facebook reviews and ratings on your Shopify store. This makes it more visible to people who aren’t familiar with your brand.

3. Social Sharing Buttons by Zotabox 

You can increase the number of shares your site gets by placing social sharing buttons on your pages and images. You also can place social share counters on any of your content, which shows other users how many times something has been shared. Of course, you can also encourage those users to do the same. 

Social Sharing Buttons by Zotabox is free, but there are premium upgrades available. 

4. PressKitBuilder

This tool creates a professional press kit for bloggers and journalists. The kit makes it easier for them to write about you and your brand. This helps quickly create a buzz about your site and get the word out. 

It will also be easier for you to display any social proof you have already received on your site. This will ensure that any press mentions about your brand get a more prominent viewing on your website. 

When your product is featured on a prominent outlet or by a blogger, that may influence new customers to buy your product. Many people can be hesitant to buy something online.

All About Authenticity 

You want your brand to come off as authentic. You want your products and services to sell. You also want to build trust and have a good reputation. A happy customer is more likely to yield positive reviews, leaving a good impression on people. 

When your social proof sounds and looks like it comes from real people and their success stories, you can build consumer trust. You don’t want your brand to come across as fake.

Making the most of social proof comes down to taking a good look at your business and what your social channels are showing. For example, testimonials from people who have used your products and actual blog posts from your endorsements can build consumers’ trust and create social proof beneficial for your brand.

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