- Mar 21, 2019
- by Alex Ali
Building trust with your audience is essential for any business – yet it can be tricky. Consumers know that brands exist to make sales, so they may not always believe what you have to say. This can have a negative impact on conversion rates, so it’s important to find ways to develop a stronger relationship.
One of the best methods for doing that is by including elements of ‘social proof’ on your website. People highly value the opinions of other users, and are more likely to trust them as a result. As such, displaying customer feedback can be an excellent conversion–boosting tactic.
In this post, we’ll explain social proof in more detail. We’ll also discuss some of the ways you can use it to make more sales. Let’s get to it!
Why Trust Is Vital to Improving Conversions
Social proof refers to the psychological phenomenon in which people copy the actions they see other people performing. It can take many forms, and be applied to various situations. However, it’s particularly relevant when it comes to advertising your products and/or services.
On a website, social proof is most commonly displayed through user reviews and testimonials. New visitors can read these reviews and see that other people have used and benefited from what you have to offer. In turn, that increases the chance that they’ll decide to follow suit.
Adding social proof to your site is therefore an excellent way to build user trust, which is vital when you’re looking to secure more conversions. People work hard for their money, after all, so they want to be assured that a product is worth it before taking the plunge.
However, they know that brands exist to sell them things, so they can be naturally skeptical when you tell them how excellent your products are. Potential customers are much more likely to trust the opinions of ‘real people’ instead.
In fact, 92% of those surveyed in one Nielsen study said that they trust product recommendations from their peers. More tellingly, 70% would also trust a recommendation from a complete stranger. The numbers drop to around 50% or less when it comes to trusting branded websites, direct advertising, and so on. Your current customers’ opinions offer a lot of value – so it’s important to make them prominent.
3 Ways to Use Social Proof to Increase Conversions
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to include social proof on your website. Let’s begin by exploring one of the most accessible and effective options.
1. Feature Customer Testimonials and Reviews
As we touched on earlier, user reviews and testimonials are one of the most commonly-used forms of social proof. What’s more, they are especially helpful for encouraging sales. For example, one experiment conducted on Figleaves.com found that products with reviews had a 12.5% higher conversion rate than those that didn’t.
This is because reviews signal to potential customers that others have actually used your product, and that it has worked well (assuming that the majority of those reviews are positive). This is likely to increase the number of people who decide to also make a purchase.
You can even feature testimonials from other brands and businesses. This can provide further credibility to your offerings. Of course, the better-known the person giving the testimonial is, the more effective it can be. So, if you’ve previously worked with someone of influence, it’s worth asking them for some feedback and displaying that prominently on your site.
2. Repost User-Generated Content on Social Media
If you’ve developed a strong digital marketing strategy, it’s likely that a large proportion of your site’s traffic comes from your social media platforms. This means that it’s just as important to display social proof on these accounts as it is on your main site.
Social media is also a perfect place to solicit User-Generated Content (UGC), another common type of social proof. UGC is any kind of content that has been created by unpaid users – such as previous customers. It can take many forms, although photos and videos showing off one or more products are most common.
Regardless of its medium, UGC is always defined by the act of an audience member promoting a brand. If people are taking the time to do this, it’s a pretty good sign that you’re doing something right. Sharing this content on social media and displaying it on your site (with permission) will let potential customers know how much value your services offer.
Most social media platforms make sharing the UGC you receive easy – whether that’s through retweets, reposts, or a feature on your Instagram story. As for your website, you may want to showcase some of this content on your home page, or even create a dedicated page just for UGC.
3. Display Important Numbers to Demonstrate Your Worth
One last way of providing social proof is to let your numbers do the talking for you. This can include the number of sales a particular product has, the number of people who follow one of your social media accounts, and so on. By displaying important stats like this, you demonstrate just how many people are already interested in and benefiting from your brand.
If you don’t have impressive figures to show off yet, you could instead use facts and figures to induce the ever-important Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). This is a powerful sales tool, which encourages users to make purchases now so they don’t miss out. There are several ways to do this, although including a “Best Seller” banner next to products that are particularly popular is an effective social proof strategy.
You may also decide to incorporate a countdown ticker for certain sales, or list the quantity of remaining units you have left in stock of a specific item. Including this kind of information lets customers know that other people are buying your products – and prompts them to act quickly.
Your audience is used to frequent sales pitches, which means they can have a hard time deciding who to trust. By using social proof on your website and social media, you let your existing customers do the talking for you – and give your conversion rates a boost in the process.
Let’s recap three of the best ways to offer compelling social proof:
- Include customer reviews and testimonials on your site.
- Use social media to share user-generated content.
- Display important website stats to demonstrate the value of your business.
Image credit: PatternPictures.