Social proof refers to the phenomenon whereby people follow the actions of others in order to gain more information or make a decision.
It has now become a powerful marketing tool for both businesses and not for profits.
In e-commerce, social proof can be seen in many ways. Customers are more likely to buy products or services if:
- They see other customers' positive reviews
- They see their friends' posts on social media about the product or service
According to a 2021 BrightLocal report, 77% of consumers 'always' or 'regularly' read reviews when browsing for local businesses.
Editor’s note: Create and manage your business reviews, Google listing, social posts and email marketing — all from one dashboard with GoDaddy’s digital marketing tool.
What are some types of social proof?
The types of social proof can be categorized as follows:
- Social proof from authority: This type of social proof is provided by experts or authorities in a given field.
- Social proof from numbers: This type of social proof comes from large amounts of data or large numbers of people.
- Social proof from actions: This type of social proof comes from seeing someone else take an action, such as buying something online or making a purchase at a store.
How do I get social proof?
Now that we know social proof works, how do you get it for your business?
First, let's look at reviews and testimonials.
Reviews and testimonials are two of the most useful promotional tools for any business. They provide a sense of legitimacy and trustworthiness to potential customers.
The most common type of review is the online review. These are usually found on:
- A company’s website
- A company’s social media accounts
- Review sites such as Yelp or Google Reviews
The best way to get reviews is to ask your customers for feedback after they have used your product or service. If they’re happy with their experience, many will be willing to say so.
Testimonials are an excellent way to give potential clients more detail about your business and its services. Testimonials can be given by:
- People who have previously worked with you, such as past clients, employees, etc.
- Influencers who attract the type of people who buy from you
- Celebrities who endorse your products in public appearances or on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter
Some of the most common ways to get reviews and testimonials include:
- Sending a survey asking for feedback
- Asking customers to give reviews on social media
- Making an in-person request at the end of their visit
- Requesting one at the end of a phone call
Once you have a handful of positive reviews — and permission to publish them from the customers who provided them — showcase them on the home page of your website.
You can also make a series of social posts, each featuring a different review using a free graphics tool like this.
Should I use celebrity endorsements as social proof?
For years companies have used celebrity endorsements to promote their products and/or services.
If your company can afford it, celebrity endorsements are a powerful form of social proof.
This is because consumers are more likely to trust a product or service when they see that celebrities use and endorse it.
A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who were exposed to celebrity endorsements were more likely to buy the endorsed products. It also found that those who saw a celebrity endorsement were more likely to buy the advertised product than those who did not see one.
What is a social proof website?
Now that we know what social proof is and how it can benefit your business, let's look at how you can extend your reach by getting your business listed on social proof websites. While there are many social proof websites with both free and paid plans, we will look at a couple of the more well-known websites.
Here is a bit about Trustpilot from their About Us page:
"Trustpilot was founded in 2007 with a vision to create an independent currency of trust. We're free to use, open to everybody, and built on transparency.
Trustpilot hosts reviews to help consumers shop with confidence and deliver rich insights to help businesses improve the experiences they offer. The more consumers use our platform and share their own opinions, the richer the insights we offer businesses, and the more opportunities they have to earn the trust of consumers from all around the world."
While Trustpilot covers many industries, websites like Capterra focus on specific industries. For Capterra, that’s software.
According to the company website, Capterra came about when founder Michael Ortner was looking for new software and found it to be frustrating and time consuming. “And so, financed by optimism and perseverance (and an incredible amount of credit card debt), he founded Capterra.”
If your business is software and you aren't yet listed on Capterra, you could contact them about including your products.
These are just two of the many social proof websites where you can increase your social proof for your business, service and/or products.
Ask your customers to endorse you
In closing, we all like to know that the products or services that we are planning to purchase are from a reputable company and worth the asking price.
Use the goodwill your customers feel toward your company to let others know that they can trust your products and services. All you have to do is ask.