What is Social Proof?
Social proof is the idea that people’s decisions are likely to be swayed by evidence of what other people think. If you’re hesitant to consider trying a new brand right up until a friend raves about how much they love their products, that’s an example of social proof in action.
A lot of social proof happens outside of a brand’s purview. Friends recommending products and businesses to each other isn’t something a brand has much control over. But some forms of social proof are more within your control, and those can be put to good use convincing website visitors to choose your business.
8 Ways to Add Social Proof to Your Websit
- Customer testimonials
As intent as you are on always being honest, when customers see statements you’ve made about your own business and products, they know they’re coming from a biased source. To really convince them that you’re awesome, they need to hear it from someone like them.
- Case studies
A good case study is based on an interview (or potentially more than one) with a customer you’ve worked with, where they share their experience with your brand. They give you the chance to describe in detail what problems you helped the customer solve, and what they liked about working with you or using your product.
- Customer social shares
Pre-internet, word of mouth recommendations would mostly happen between people who knew each other in person. But now that people spend a lot of time on social sites and are connected with hundreds (or even thousands) of people around the world via their social media feeds, those online connections now serve a similar role when it comes to brand recommendations.
When making a decision, many people are inclined to lean on the wisdom of others. If you know a certain restaurant in town always requires reservations, that tells you a lot of people like it and there’s a good chance you will too. People figure that if thousands of people before them have weighed their options and made a choice, they must have done so for good reason.
- Customer reviews
When people do research into a product before deciding whether or not to buy, reviews play a big role in the process.
- Third-party reviews
Customer reviews can be powerful, but often customers are working from limited information. They probably haven’t tried all the main competitors to a product and weighed them against each other. Visitors who want that kind of detail in their product research will seek it by checking out third-party review sites like Wirecutter.
- Influencer endorsements
If you see someone share valuable insights on their blog or social media feed regularly enough that they’ve gained your trust, you’ll probably listen when they recommend a product they loved. Influencer marketing is based on the idea that people with a devoted following can influence what products their audience will consider.
- Third-party awards
If your products have won an award, this is one final social proof tactic you can use on your website. Of course, this one only works if you’ve already been given a relevant, legitimate award. In case it needs to be said: do not go after scammy awards that ask you to pay for a win, or make an award up. (We know you know better and didn’t need to hear that, but someone somewhere probably did).