Social proof is one of the most effective signals of trust you can add to your website. It can help you inspire more conversions and establish a name for yourself in the digital world.
It comes in all shapes and sizes, and there are various types of social proof that you can choose to include. Of course, basing your choice on what is most likely to appeal to your target audience is the best way to go. So, let’s check out eight different kinds of social proof and how you can generate it.
One of the most popular types of social proof is the review. You can see them all over the internet, most notably on Google Maps, and across all those websites like Trustpilot that specialize in amassing people’s experiences with products and services.
Reviews often feature star ratings, from one to five, with a brief blurb about a customer’s experience with the given item. Here is an example from Cotopaxi, which has a slider featuring user reviews near the bottom of their homepage, plus at the bottom of each product page.
image source: cotopaxi.com
Generating reviews for your website will often require a bit of effort on your part. True, you can just leave the review form on the website, and there will be shoppers who fill it out of their own accord. However, if you send them a friendly email asking them to do so, or invite them to share their experiences through social media, you will be able to generate many more.
Testimonials are uncannily similar to reviews – they’re nothing but a blurb from a customer, telling the world (and your potential customers) what they thought of your brand.
The method for generating them is the same, too: reach out to customers and ask them to tell you their honest opinions. Also make sure you ask them if you can use their words, their name, and any other personal information on your website.
Here’s an illustration from Gili, which features customer testimonials on their homepage, telling the world just how much they love their paddle boards.
image source: gilisports.com
When making your testimonials to feature choice, make sure you select the ones that would most appeal to your target audience. In short, these are testimonials that come from people similar to them or from people they look up to.
3. High Profile Clients / Partners
Another useful type of social proof is essentially a name-dropping tactic, as it involves mentioning all the big brand names you’ve worked with. This lends an extra layer of trustworthiness, as your association with these household or famous names speaks volumes about your credibility.
Your goal, of course, is not to come off as merely trying to brag. How you word and showcase these collaborations is super important, so be subtle and refrain from the “look who we’ve worked with ma” kind of flourish.
Here’s a good way to do it: Mannequin Mall has a section on their homepage featuring the logos of all the retail and fashion brands they have worked with, but they don’t draw any undue attention to this fact. Instead, they let the sheer volume and level of popularity of these brands speak for themselves.
image source: mannequinmall.com
4. Let the Numbers Speak
Sometimes, all you have to do is showcase some of the more impressive numbers you have compiled over the years. For instance, show how many projects you have worked on, how many customers you have served, how many items you’ve sold, etc.
Try to pinpoint numbers that speak most resoundingly about your expertise and experiences, and maybe throw in a fun one just for the sake of it. This will make you feel more human, and much less like a faceless big name brand.
For instance, you can mention cups of coffee drunk daily, pairs of shoes worn out, number of emails sent in a week, etc. You can also highlight your charitable donations or your impact on the lives of your customers or the world as a whole.
Kickstarter has a page dedicated solely to the numbers game, and theirs is quite impressive. It’s a great way to highlight what they can do for the next person looking to fund a venture.
5. Media Mentions
Getting featured in the media is also a worthy element of social proof you can choose to feature on your website. It doesn’t have to be a mainstream news outlet either. Sometimes, a niche publication that appeals to the interests and passions of your target audience is a much better choice.
Of course, the WSJ is the WSJ, and The Times is The Times, but don’t be particularly fussed if you can’t score an interview or a feature there just yet.
Here’s Markhor, which has a slider featuring some blurbs from media mentions at the bottom of their homepage. They’ve given it that testimonial feel that makes it more natural and appealing – and of course, their choice of sources is impeccable.
image source: markhor.com
6. Celebrity/Influencer/Expert Endorsement
Just like the big brand names you feature on your website have a very specific and meaningful impact, getting endorsed by a celebrity or an influencer is another great way to prove you are worth your visitors’ attention.
Just think of the Celebrities drink Starbucks campaign. Not that Starbucks needs any additional advertising, but when you sport your favourite celeb with that cup in their hand, you kinda want to grab a coffee too.
In the world of digital, Basecamp has done a good job of featuring some experts and big names in their testimonials section alongside owners of smaller brands who use their product and love it.
7. Others Have Just Bought Feature
The fear of missing out is a powerful driving force, and it can often help you inspire some extra conversions. People like to see what others are buying, using, and liking. And they will often make a purchase based on someone’s recommendation or feature.
Drawing a visitor’s attention to popular products or products that have been purchased by others like them is a great way to get certain products on their radar, and a pop-up detailing recent (or even live) purchases is a great option.
Orizaba Original has this feature on their homepage, telling you what someone somewhere has purchased.
image source: orizabaoriginal.com
You can also emulate the Book Depository, which has a live map on the homepage where you can watch people shop.
8. Trust Seals and Certificates
Finally, you can also add trust seals or certificates that will prove you can be trusted, that you keep your visitor’s personal information safe, and that your checkout process is secure.
There are plenty of them, so you can take your pick. You can feature other signals as well – for example, the fact that you are a Google Partner, that you are an Amazon Affiliate, that you accept payments via PayPal, and so on.
Make sure that the certificate and trust seal are up to date and that you do actually provide that specific level of security or hold that specific qualification.
With a little bit of help from social proof, you can take your website’s trustworthiness to the next level. Decide which type of social proof would most appeal to your target audience, and then slowly go about sourcing it.
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