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Almost every online business uses social proof. For big brands like Amazon or small local ones, social proof drives conversion and creates trust. But how can you use it more effectively to maximize the benefits?
Despite how well a business advertises their products or services, consumers will always look for other users’ opinions before making a purchase. Peer pressure or credible third parties also play a key role in making social proofs powerful.
The most common examples of social proof for online businesses are customer reviews, best seller lists etc. Apart from these regular ones, there are many more ways to use social proof to maximize conversions.
Below I mention five such tips that’ll make your social proofs more effective.
1. Generate case studies
Case studies are a great way to present your social proof. They create lasting impressions and boost your social proofs to a great degree. Many sites include case studies as Success Stories, outlining how their product or service helped their customers.
Case studies work better than regular customer reviews because by reading these potential customers can see a complete scenario that they can relate with. Always try to include data (i.e. numbers), visual representations and real images to make the case studies more plausible.
Here is an example page from Shopify that features some success stories of their customers. Note that they prominently displays a button to help customers share their own stories. It’s a good idea to encourage your users to share their success stories and make those stories featured in your site.
2. Show real time data
Use real time data to make social proof more exciting. There are many ways how you can present real time data on your site. Here are some ideas:
- Show how many customers are viewing a product
- Show the time when an item was last bought
- If it’s an international site and you get orders from all over the world, show that on a map!
- Display the real-time number of subscribers or users (if you have a large number to show for)
Book Depository shows orders from all around the world in real-time. This is a really interesting feature that shows the customers what people from different countries are buying at the moment.
3. Showcase customer images
For fashion sites, one of the best ways to create social proof is to use real-life image of the customers. Using happy customer images also works as a trust factor.
Add a feature to your site where the customers can upload their own images with the products they bought from you. You can also promote your customers through social media. Everyone likes to get featured. This will increase the brand love and help you develop close relationships with them.
Also, it’s a good idea to add images with reviews. Seeing a human face makes the review more authentic.
4. Avoid mentioning a low number of shares
Using social media share buttons is a common thing. But showing a low number of social shares is worse than including no share count at all. This fact is true even for testimonials. If you don’t have enough customer testimonials, don’t bother including a couple of those. Because that makes the viewers think you are either new to the business or not really good.
There are ways to bypass the negative effects of low social proof in some cases. For example, if you have a low number of customer testimonials, include the specific ones only in specific service pages. Don’t mention the number of social shares until that reaches a certain number.
5. Prompt your customers for recommendation
Prompting your customers for reviews may help you create more interesting social proofs for your business. Here are some ideas that you can try:
- Ask your customers for recommendations. Then show stats like “number % of customers who bought this item recommend it.”
- In the form where customers can give ratings, include a yes/no question, like – “Would you buy this product again?” Calculate the percentage and show number of customers would buy it again” beside the product name.
- You may request your customers to take part in short surveys and generate similar interesting data.
6. Use low numbers wisely
It’s very common to use phrases like “100K professionals use our service”. But often times small to mid-level business owners do not have such big numbers to show for.
Here are some tricks to apply in these cases:
Be specific: Suppose your company provides social media marketing services to restaurants. Now consider this line – “Over 50 restaurants use our service to manage their online presence”. It doesn’t sound impressive. But what if we use “Over 50 restaurants in Melbourne are using our service to manage their online presence”. Being specific makes you more authentic and relevant even with low numbers.
Use social connections: People are often logged into social media when they visit your site. So you can show stats like – “20 of your friends like us”. Though it’s a low number, the potential customer can relate to those users and it works as a very strong social proof. This tactic will work best for local businesses even if they have a low number of visitors.
Present visually: Got only a few customer feedbacks? No problem. Here’s an example of what you can do. Suppose you have a product or service that is for small business owners. Pick three of your customers. Collect their feedbacks (hopefully positive!) and images. Then feature them under a title like: “Small business owners love our service”.
Have you found these tips helpful? Which social proof have worked best for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Guest Post: Liakat Hossain is a content marketing professional at WebAlive. He has been helping businesses grow by developing search and content marketing strategies since 2011. When not busy, he likes to research on current web design trends and latest online marketing strategies.