Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people are more likely to make a decision based on the opinions of others. We encounter examples of social proof in our lives every day, even if we don’t recognize it. If your friend has ever suggested a product or service that you purchased without much thought, you’ve experienced social proof.
After you start a website and generate a small following, it’s time to start building social proof for your business. If people see that their friends, colleagues, or even strangers love a product, they are more likely to make a purchase based on their opinions.
Today we are going to look at five ways you can start leverage social proof on your website for increased sales. You’ll have to mix and match these various tactics based on your industry and marketing strategy, but they can all benefit your small business.
Let’s dive in!
1. Allow Product Reviews
One of the quickest ways to build social proof on your website is by allowing customers to leave feedback. Reviews are a great buying signal for consumers who are browsing your site, but unsure about whether they should make a purchase.
Amazon nails the idea of using reviews as a social cue to people browsing their expansive marketplace. Below is an example from a variety pack of Starbucks ground coffee. What patterns do you notice in the image?
The first thing that sticks out to us is the overall 4.6-star review score. If a customer were browsing this product, they would likely notice that there are almost 500 reviews, and most of the feedback is positive. As a result, they assume that this product must be the right choice, which prompts a sale.
You can use a similar tactic on the products or services your business offers. Allow customers to leave feedback on Google, review sites, and most importantly, on your website. If consumers are already browsing your storefront, they are interested in what you have in stock. A series of positive reviews could be the deciding factor when it comes time for them to make a purchase.
2. Track and Grow Your Social Media Accounts
Social media is an excellent tool that can help you build a positive reputation online. Consumers consistently look for businesses that have a large number of followers, interact with consumers, and frequently post special offers on their social accounts.
All of this leads to a reinforced idea of social proof to new consumers. If someone has never heard of your brand, and suddenly discovers that 500,000 people follow your page, they are far more likely to follow you and browse your website.
Growing your social media audience is the best way to establish proof on and off your website. You can build your following by creating an online contest, conducting polls, and sharing positive feedback from consumers on your profile page.
All of these tactics engage your audience and show them that other people are carefully following your business because they enjoy your products and trust your brand. Those same feelings transfer over to new consumers when they see long-time fans praising your company or engaging with your content through social media.
3. Use Social Proof Tools
There are several social proof tools available for small business owners. If your goal is to build proof on-site, we recommend using the TrustPulse plugin.
Below, we will show you what this tool does, and then we will explain how this helps build trust and confidence with your audience.
As you can see, TrustPulse prompts a popup to appear on the bottom left side of your website page that lets consumers know when a customer purchases something on your site. This tactic is helpful for consumers who are familiar with your brand, but not quite ready to make a purchase.
The verified popups will appear and show anyone currently viewing your website that someone else bought your product. In other words, if someone is considering buying your product or service, they may be more likely to go through with the purchase if they see other people actively buying and using your products or services.
4. Work with Influencers
Influencers are social media personalities with medium to large followings. Generally speaking, micro-influencers have fewer than 100,000 followers, while traditional influencers have a much more substantial audience. These people create content and promote your brand in exchange for payment or free review copies of your product or services.
Depending on your marketing needs, both types of influencers can help build social proof on your website. Because micro-influencers have a smaller following, their audience is more niche-specific, making them essential for businesses looking for a long-term investment.
If you’re looking to spread awareness and build social proof to a broad audience, influencers with 100,000 plus subscribers are your best bet. These individuals are capable of sending out a message to their audience, though the trending sales don’t last as long when compared to their smaller counterparts.
The drop in growth stems from the fact that big-name influencers post a ton of content and have followers that are loosely connected to their niche, as opposed to smaller, focused content creators.
There are several ways to check the impact influencers have on social proof. We suggest examining your eCommerce analytics for changes before and after you partner with an influencer.
5. Make Sharing Easy
People love sharing content they find interesting on social media. Besides showing their friends what kind of articles they’re reading, they are also building social proof for your business. For example, if a friend shares one of your blog posts on Facebook, there’s a much higher chance that the friends of the person sharing the post will land on your website. Remember when we mentioned how recommendations from friends count as social proof? The same concept applies to shared content.
If you want people to spread your content on social media, you have to make sure your blog posts are shareable. Adding social share buttons makes it easy for people to like, share, and follow your business right from your blog. Beyond making the content easy to share, counters can drastically improve your traffic and sales.
Let’s take a look at the image below. Notice how all of the social share buttons are lined up, followed by a button that shows the post was shared 1.3K times. This is a social cue to new visitors that the content on this website is helpful, and worth sharing. This cycle can continue as long as you’re creating blog posts and active on social media.
As consumers connect with more friends and family online, it’s more important than ever before to include social proof on our social media accounts and on-site. Our goal is to forge a strong connection with our audience and encourage them to become brand ambassadors. The more people like your products and services, the more likely they are to recommend your business to others. You have to continue building trust and nurturing relationships with your audience if you want to see increased sales and traffic using social proof.