Using Social Proof To Help Make Your Own Marketing More Effective and Increase Conversions
To start, integrate each of the following (one at a time) 13 social proof strategies into your most important call to action (buy, signup, share, etc.) and then watch how each one affects your conversion rates.
Here are 13 social proof strategies to not only make your own marketing more effective but increase your conversions as well from Nat Eliason, Sumome.com
1. Raw Quantity: How Many People Are Using or Engaging With You
- One simple method of creating social proof is to simply show how many people are engaging with your product.
- The trick is to use numbers that are both impressive, and believable.
- Tips for Using Raw Quantity
- Think big, but not too big. There will be a lot of numbers you can include. Go for a large one that shows activity, but not one that’s SO large people don’t buy it.
- Make it relevant to the CTA. If you want their email, tell them how many email subscribers you have. Want them to buy? Tell them customer numbers.
2. Celebrity & Expert Endorsements
- Celebrity and expert endorsements work off of the “Halo Effect.”
- When someone sees a brand or product being associated with or endorsed by someone they have respect or admiration for, those positive emotions extend to the brand as well.
- But it works better with someone the viewer is familiar with.
- Celebrities are effective for big brands because they’re trying to appeal to millions of people.
- But when you’re a smaller company, with a more targeted audience, you can instead use people that audience trusts.
- Tips for Expert Endorsements
- Give it away. Is there a good expert or two that you could give your product away to in return for an endorsement? Reach out to them.
- Keep it relevant. The experts you look up to might be different from your customers. Try to target people that they’re interested in.
3. Testimonials and Quotes
- An another effective tactic is to get testimonials from people who are just like your average user, and who benefited from using your product.
- Tips for Testimonials
- Make it quantitative. Qualitative testimonials are fine, but testimonials with numbers that show how much you helped people go much further.
- Add pictures. Pictures make testimonials more trustworthy, so don’t leave them out.
- Get permission. People don’t always ask before using someone’s name in a testimonial, but it’s good practice to take the time to ask just so you don’t upset anyone.
4. Where You’ve Been Featured
- Another popular strategy for authors, bloggers, or consumer products is to mention all of the places that you’ve been featured.
- A feature could be anything, it could be:
- A quote
- A reference
- An article you wrote
- A time you were interviewed
- A link back to one of your posts
- Having those big names on your site adds a lot of credibility to your work.
- Who would you rather take advice from, the writer who just has 10 posts on their page? Or the writer who has 10 posts on their page and who has been featured in Business Insider, INC, WIRED, and LifeHacker? Exactly.
- Tips for Features
- Look for big sources. You may have been referenced on a big publication and not know it. Try using a tool like ahrefs or MOZ Open Site Explorer to see who’s linking to you right now.
- Feature the top ones. Focus on quality references over quantity. Think of your customer base, and then focus on having at least one source that represents each segment.
- Get featured more. Most importantly, get proactive about being included in big publications you’d want to have included on your site.
- If you have a service business that operates in certain regulated areas, or if you’re a freelancer that could take courses to prove your legitimacy, then certifications are another method of providing social proof to potential customers.
- Tips for Using Certifications
- The bigger the name, the better. No one will be impressed by a certification from an unknown company, what’s the highest-brand one you can go after?
- Join the network. Some certifications will have a network that goes with them on LinkedIn or elsewhere. Becoming a member is another way to signal to potential clients that you’re qualified.
- Recommendations from friends are far and above the #1 trusted source of advertising.
- People will trust their friends more than an expert, or a set of reviews, and certainly more than a paid advertisement.
- The most obvious way to take advantage of this is to ask for referrals, usually with some sort of incentive for the referrer.
- For example, On many blogs, there will be a Facebook “Like” button and alongside of it all of the pictures of your friends that have liked that site.
- Tips for Using Referrals
- Make it personal. A referral from a friend or trusted source will go much further than a referral from a random person.
- Make it valuable. The best way to get your existing readers or customers to refer someone else is to make it worth their while. What can you offer in exchange for the referral?
- Make it easy. Can you pre-write the tweet, email, or text that they use to refer someone? That will make them much more likely to follow through.
- Social proof doesn’t always affect what we do, it also affects what we pay attention to.
- Depending on your site, or the page you want people to take action on, you can use a type of social proof called “gazing” to draw people’s attention where you want it.
- When we don’t know where to look, we just look where everyone else is looking. And if there are no eyes to help us, arrows work fine as well.
- So, quite simply, if you want people to take a certain action on your site, give them a pair of eyes and/or and arrow to help them out.
- However you decide to implement it, using a person’s eyes, as well as arrows, can help show your visitors or potential customers where they should be looking and focused on.
- Tips for Using Gazing
- To make the most of gazing as social proof in your marketing, keep these tips in mind.
- Use a familiar face. Someone that the reader knows, (e.g. a celebrity, expert, the writer of the blog) will have more social proof than a random stock picture.
- Make it big. Look at how big Neville’s picture is on his site. It takes over your visual stimulus and immediately points you where you need to go.
- Add some arrows. As long as it doesn’t look sketchy, add in an arrow pointing your visitor to where you want them to focus.
- Don’t confuse them. Multiple faces looking in different directions, arrows pointing multiple places at once, or having people look somewhere else than where you want the focus will all confuse your readers.
8. Ratings and Reviews
- The 2nd most trusted source of advertising is ratings and reviews
- Whatever you’re promoting on your site, if it’s something that you can get quantitate feedback from past customers on, feature it!
- Tips for Using Ratings and Reviews
- More is better. We take reviews more seriously when there are a lot of them. 10 5-star reviews? Maybe you paid for them. 1,000 4.5 star reviews? That seems legitimate.
- Make it detailed. When you get detailed reviews from people, they go much further than “liked the product” or “it was great” or “definitely would buy again.”
- Address concerns. What do you think would stop someone from buying from you? Get reviews that help address those concerns and feature them.
9. Case Studies and Proof of Concept
- There’s a social proof “scale.”
- At one end you have the low information, high volume which include the number of customers you have, quantitate reviews, and social media followers. In the middle, you have testimonials and reviews.
- Then at the opposite end, you have case studies.
- The power of a case study is that you only need a few of them to provide a high amount of social proof and add confidence to your site.
- Tips for Using Case Studies
- More depth than breadth. The point of a case study is to tell a story, so focus on telling a great story more than on trying to tell a ton of them.
- Give them ideas. Make sure that your case studies show a number of different ways to use your product. A potential customer might not realize that you can help them until they see the right case.
- Make it visual. Since it’s a story, make sure you have strong images to go with it. If you can show a picture of who was the subject in the case, do it!
- Show impact. Don’t just say “it was helpful,” put numbers behind it! For example, “Get 2,239 email subscribers” is much more compelling than “Get more email signups.”
10. FOMO: The Fear of Missing Out
- You can leverage your social proof even more if you can convince potential customers that there’s a party going on that they might not get access to.
- How can you power-up your social proof by incorporating some fear of missing out?
- How can you show that there’s a party going on… and everyone should want to join it right now?
- Tips for Using FOMO:
- Add deadlines. Make a consequence for what happens if people don’t act immediately. This could be a price raise, lost bonuses, or just the fact that they’ll regret not starting sooner.
- Show other people who acted: Having case studies and testimonials from people who didn’t waste time taking action is the core of this social proof succeeding. Make sure the testimonials emphasize why people should act now instead of later.
11. Social (Media) Proof
- Another method for incorporating more social proof that you might try is drawing on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts to show what people are saying about you out in the real world.
- Depending on how bold you want to be with it, you could feature EVERYTHING (unfiltered) or just select a few choice tweets and pictures that fit the image you want to convey.
- If you have active social media sites that represent your brand, then consider incorporating some of the great testimonials that you’re getting through them into your home page or product pages.
- Tips for Using Social (Media) Proof
- Make it relevant. Don’t just throw up any tweet or picture that mentions you, make sure it represents your brand and encourages what you want to happen on your site.
- Use influencers. In Anum’s case, she has some big names tweeting about her, which adds even more social proof to the tweets.
- Keep it diverse. With a diversity of tweets, pictures, pins, etc. you are much more likely to have at least one that a potential new customer resonates with.
- Show the shares. The simplest way to show social media proof? Just show how often something as been shared using the right sharing plugin.
- Whatever industry you’re in, being ranked highly within it in some capacity is a strong indicator of your quality.
- Tips for Using Rankings:
- Only use good ones (obviously). Just focus on the good, everyone has their haters.
- The more reputable, the better. Getting ranked in a New York Times article has a lot more sway than on a random blog. Aim high.
- Build relationships to get featured. If you want to be featured in “top 10” lists from bloggers in your niche, build relationships with them! You want to be at the top of their mind when they start making a best-of list.
13. Integrations and Platforms
- One way to show social proof as a product is to show what other products you integrate with, or how widely your platform is used by other people.
- The benefit here is similar to the expert endorsement.
- When people see that your product is being used by other popular products, there’s a Halo effect that spills over and gives you more credibility.
- Tips to Using Integrations and Platforms:
- List everyone your product integrates with. If applicable, have a dedicated page that shows all of your integration partners, and then feature the best ones on your homepage.
- Be listed elsewhere. If your product is being used by, or integrated with other products, get them to include you in their list of integrations in order to get some of their customers yourself.
Ok, so now it’s time to take full advantage of the above social proof strategies on your site and start increasing your conversions!!
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