Hosting Tutorial & Guide

Why & How to Use Social Proof on Your Website

updated on Aug 29, 2016
Why & How to Use Social Proof on Your Website Social proof has been an essential part of all types of websites especially those selling products or services. Marketers and advertisers use it to convince the prospective customers to buy something by telling them indirectly that many people like them have made a purchase and benefited from the deed.

Experiments have shown that the proper use of social proof can help make your website an authority, thus it becomes easier to differentiate your site from others in the competition. Then, you would see an increase of your website traffic, conversions, sales, and followers.

In below, we are going to show you what social proof is and how to use it to improve conversions.

What Is Social Proof & Why You Need It

Social proof refers to a psychological phenomenon that people follow the peers' actions on condition that they believe the actions can give them ideas about the correct behavior. It is almost the same concept as the fact that people always look for proof from those who have purchased and used a product instead of the information offered by the brands. Marketers usually use social proof to convince the worried customers and increase their conversion rates.

The experienced marketers have already found the importance of social proof. As studies show, more than 70% online consumers will look for reviews before buying a product.

What Is Social Proof

In fact, social proof not only benefits eCommerce sites, but also brings much value to the normal blogs which don't sell. Considering the following benefits, you'd better consider adding social proof to your website regardless of the type of your site.
  • Social proof makes your website credible, and it helps build an authority.
  • It enables you to build your brand and strengthen it.
  • More social proof means more people will be interested in your website content and products.
  • With social proof, your content becomes more shareable.
As social proof is only a concept, you have to think about the more specific ideas when applying it to your website. Fortunately, the talented marketers have set some examples. Here we will discuss some of the ideas in detail.

The Great Ideas of Social Proof & How to Make Use of Them

Depending on the real situation of your website, you may need to leverage different social proof strategies that suit your needs. Below are six of the useful and commonly adopted strategies. All of them are good-to-use no matter you sell online or not.

Customer testimonials

Customer testimonial is one of the most common forms of social proof. Researches have shown that over 90% of people trust the recommendations from other real users, and more than 70% of them would even trust the recommendations of those who they don't know.

The prospect of sales makes customer testimonial a thing loved by almost all kinds of brands. For example, OptinMonster, the popular lead generation software, rotates customer testimonials on its homepage.

Use Customer Testimonials as Social Proof

There are several ways to collect feedback from your clients. A practical example is to add a form on your website to encourage the submission of testimonials. Contacting clients via social media is also a good way.

When displaying testimonials on your website, the following suggestions are of help.
  • Include a photo of your clients.
  • Publish testimonials on multiple pages, such as the homepage, product page and about us page.
  • Try video testimonials which are more effective in improving the conversion rate.
  • Place links in the appropriate place to help visitors verify the testimonial and find more information.

Expert endorsements

The celebrities and industry experts are useful resources for establishing your authority and increasing your target audience's trust in you. Letting your visitors know that you have got approval from some people they know and trust could increase their interests in your products.

If you have made use of influencer marketing, you can invite the influencers in your niche to write something good about you and your business, and then display the words on your website. The photos taken with a celebrity can also get you numerous likes. Therefore, you can invest some time and try your best to reach the influencers. Offering them a free trial in exchange of a review is a good idea.

In fact, OptinMonster has made a good example, which you can see below.

Use Expert Endorsements as Social Proof

Cases studies

Case studies are more formal than customer testimonials, and naturally, they offer more details about your product or service. They can show how your product has benefited others, and those in-depth reviews are favored by most consumers.

In this case, you can add a case study section on your site to showcase the success stories. For the case studies, you can either craft stories based on your users' testimonials, or invite your loyal clients to write for you. Make sure to explore the problem as well as the solution in detail.

Many big brands are offering detailed case studies for their users to read and learn. For example, Shopify has been maintaining a Success Stories section on its website.

Use Cases Studies as Social Proof

The number of followers and subscribers

Building a customer base needs much time and effort. But if you have got some results in the progress, you can use them as a social proof strategy to encourage more people to participate in. When your potential customers know that a large number of people like them have already been following you, they are more likely to make a purchase or subscribe to your website.

The numbers you can display on your site include the amount of your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, email subscribers, YouTube subscribers, Instagram followers, or your fans on any other social media platform. These numbers help show the power of your services.

Below is an example on ShoutMeLoud.

Use Raw Numbers as Social Proof

If you don't have a large customer base to showcase, that's OK, because there are different copies for making your website or service look appealing. A good practice is to mention your traffic number like what OptinMonster is doing.

Show Traffic Number

Association with the well-known brands

Big brands loved by thousands or millions of people are great resources of social proof. If you sell services, you can feature the well-known names that are using your service. And if you are running a pure blog, you can try building backlinks from the authoritative sites and then list those sites on your blog.

This strategy is widely adopted because people are more likely to be interested in a service that the brands they know have already used or recommended. And unlike testimonials, your association with brands can be displayed by adding the brands' logo on your website. No extra words are needed.

Association with Brands

Awards and certifications

If your hard work has earned you an award in the industry, or you have received certifications relevant to your niche, display them on your website as the social proof. The niche-specific awards help you get a better position in the competition.

To get awards, you need to reach out to the websites that release the awards from which you can benefit, and then try to make them notice you and rank your website or service. Building good relationships with those sites is quite beneficial.

As most awards and certifications have easy-to-recognize logos or badges, you only need to display the images on your homepage freely.

A similar practice to displaying awards is listing the conferences that you have spoken at, which shows your value clearly. Such a social validation will convince your readers that you are an authority/expert.

Below is what Kristi Hines, a freelance writer, shows on her blog.

Display Awards and Certifications as Social Proof