Before I jump on the topic, Let me ask you a quick question !!
Have you ever experienced a situation when you see a long queue or huge crowd; and just to fulfill your curiosity you decided to go over there and asked someone “What’s this line for?”, and you got a reply “I can’t say, just saw crowd here and though it must be good.” ??
If your answer is “YES” then what you had experienced was nothing but just an example of “Social Proof”. In simple terms, this means that when people see other people taking an action and benefiting from it, they’ll tend to take the same action.
The definition of social proof according to Wikipedia is:
“Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
Social proof can be a great way to help push your visitors towards a conversion. It doesn’t matter what your conversion is, it might be a purchase, it could be a PDF download, or it could be a newsletter signup.
If you have a “Testimonial” section in your website, that’s nothing but a kind of “social proof”. Possibly that wouldn’t have helped you in gaining more leads, more or less because so far we have “used” social proof in very monotonous or traditional ways. Testimonial section becomes more helpful when people see testimonials from someone whom they can relate to themselves, not by some extra ordinary “brands” or “people”.
For example, most of the websites use to have “newsletter” section. As a visitor when you visit any website and see that section, how often do you get yourself signed for that newsletter? “You hardly do”, Am I correct? But If you get to see text and images of people who have already signed up to respective newsletter and loved it, it will encourage you to take the same action.
One more example:- When you decide to buy something from Amazon or any other E-commerce websites, apart from generic product specification what exactly makes you feel confident to buy particular product? “Positive reviews from Customers?” – Why do you think the products with the highest reviews perform the best? – Because the reviews that appear on Amazon, give you social proof that the product you’re looking at is right for you, so eventually buy it.
By showing visitors on your website or social media posts that other normal people, just like them, really enjoy your product or service, you’re giving them social proof that you’re providing a good service or selling a good product.
There are a lot of different ways to provide social proof. Some of them are as shared below:-
1. Testimonial, Reviews & Ratings
This is the most common way of giving social proof to your visitors. It has been already well explained above.
2. Endorsements from Influencers
If your business has ever received a compliment from a well-known person who is respected by your audience, go find it, and add it to your home page. “The more relevant and influential the endorser, the more powerful the social proof will be”.
This form of social proof goes by different names: badges, seals, certifications, etc. Call them what you will, but you’ll recognize the popular approach to establishing credibility, which is usually as simple as displaying meaningful icons.
4. Media Logos – “As seen in”
The “as seen in” media showcase is a classic example of social proof. Manufacturers often cite and/or show the news media that has featured, reviewed or mentioned their products. Emerging entertainers do the same.
5. Social media mentions
The power of social media is not a hidden secret any more. One of the reasons it can be so powerful is that it allows real people the chance to interact with brands in a public forum.
Apart from finding posts where people mention to you and responding to all queries, what else can you do to leverage this social media attention?
By posting positive (or even embedding) positive social media reaction on your website you’re showing new visitors that other people, just like them, have enjoyed your product or service. Not only will this help social media users become more familiar with your brand and begin to trust your products even more, but you can also give that same impression to users on your website.
Now that you’ve understood what social proof is and you’ve got a few examples of how to utilize it, you’ll be able to find lots of different ways (in addition to above) to take leverage of social proof.