Do you include ‘social proof’ on your website? Find out what it is and why it’s important.

What is social proof?

Social proof is where we see evidence, that something we are considering doing, buying, or recommending, others like too.

In its most common form, although it comes in lots of forms, social proof is a quoted testimonial from another customer, saying how pleased they are with a business’s services, products, and/or the experience of dealing with them. The quote is a recommendation to others, to deal with the company, because their experience was positive.

Why is social proof so effective?

Apparently, as human beings, we like to know that what we do is acceptable to, and approved of by, others. It helps us to feel secure that the decisions we make in buying goods and services are the right decisions. Even if the testimonial we see is from someone we don’t know.

Social proof is a “psychological and social phenomenon” where “people copy the actions of others” so they feel confident about their own actions.

This basic fact about people is an important element of marketing, and as such, is crucial in featuring as part of your website’s content. From your homepage, to landing pages, to all other pages of your website, where appropriate, social proof should be part of your messaging to effectively tell your target audience that you are the ideal business for them to buy from, or work with.

Types of social proof

Social proof comes in many types. When you’re browsing the internet, searching for a product and you see a quote from a happy customer, that’s social proof. When you click on a product and see data about how it was rated by previous customers, that’s social proof. Let’s have a look at some of the examples of social proof, and tips for using them on your website:

Testimonials

Testimonials are usually short quotes from previous, satisfied customers.

“This is the best product I’ve ever bought of its kind. It works better than others I’ve tried in the past, is reasonably priced and was delivered quickly.”

“So easy to buy from this company and great service. When I needed advice on a product, they were helpful and patient on the phone. I will definitely be back.”

Testimonials are proved to up conversion rates and are as effective on a homepage as a general recommendation, as they are on specific product pages, or about page. Try to make each testimonial used relevant to the particular page you are featuring it on, and don’t forget to legitimise them by including each customer’s name and, optionally, where they are from. It’s also an option, although not always possible, to include a headshot image of the customer. The aim of legitimising your testimonials is to add credibility.

Case studies

Case studies are more commonly used in B2B marketing and agency services, but can be used in consumer marketing. They are more in-depth accounts of the service and products you have provided to one of your customers, who is, consequently, happy to have a case study written and featured about their experiences.

Take a look at Cultrix case studies for examples of how case studies could look, read and feature on your own website.

Reviews

Reviews are like testimonials but tend to be more objective, since they are left by customers without you having to ask for them. You’ll need a means by which customers can leave reviews, whether that is via a feedback form following purchase, Google, Yelp, or other forum or review sites.

It’s a good idea to trawl your reviews so that you can use the content for quoting on your website where appropriate. Reviews of particular products/services are good social proof specific to that product/service, and also benefit your overall SEO.

Data

Good for satisfying customer curiosity and adding organisational credibility, a few numbers can often say more than any number of reviews in some cases.

“99.6% of customers rated our service as exceptional.”

“100% of customers said they would recommend us to others requiring IT support.”

“549 customers’ IT security ensured this month.”

Often this data can be generated from your own systems and used to strengthen your viability as a serious provider, compelling potential customers to come aboard.

Social media

Most commonly used for business to consumer marketing on platforms, such as, Facebook and Instagram, but for business to business on professional sites, such as, LinkedIn, social media posts are a good way for you to capture the positive things your audience and customers are saying about you.

“Fab company. Wouldn’t go anywhere else for my handmade cosmetics.”

“An excellent consultant. I wasn’t sure about using a consultant and had no idea what I really wanted, but they were professional and helpful in establishing relevant, clear goals.”

Trust icons

Trust icons are those commonly recognised signs, relevant to your industry, that signal to customers and associates alike that you are a quality setup.

Perhaps you are Cyber Essentials qualified, or a Microsoft partner, and if so, entitled to display the relevant icon. It’s a good idea to feature your icons in your footer, or perhaps in an Accreditations, or About page on your website. 

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