Social proof is an endorsement that says that a business, a service, a person, or a product is great, and it also communicates that the overall experience has satisfied other shoppers before.
In short, any positive comments about you, your company or your product are considered social proof.
It might be a concept as old as marketing itself, but the rise of social media and the current economic landscape have enhanced the importance and effect social proof can have on conversion rates.
Today, leveraging other people’s opinions helps convert more. That’s why, social proof, by providing third-party validation, helps make businesses more trustworthy. Indeed, a Canvas8 and Trustpilot study found that 89% of global consumers check online reviews as part of their online buying journey, and 49% of global consumers consider positive reviews one of their top 3 purchase influences.
As many countries start easing their lockdown measures, some brick and mortar shops are preparing to reopen soon. But with consumers doing most of their shopping online at the moment, we could see an overall dip in online conversions when high street shops reopen this summer.
To help eCommerce businesses, we’ve put together 6 ways brands can use social proof to boost their conversion rate.
6 Social proof examples to boost your online conversions as brick and mortar shops reopen
1. Reviews and ratings
Today, consumers rely on online reviews when making buying decisions online. This is why every business should leverage reviews as social proof.
The same Trustpilot and Canvas8 study found that, today, 55% of consumers would prefer to use an open and transparent review platform, and 49% of consumers believe many dishonest brands are guilty of manipulating customer reviews to improve their reputation.
On an open platform, anyone is free to write a review as long as they comply with the guidelines set out by the platform, and verified, genuine customer feedback can not be edited or deleted by companies. If you’re considering using a review platform, opt for an open one, which shows authentic and real reviews from customers.
Displaying online reviews on as many channels as possible (social media, online shop, paid ads…) is a great way to boost customer confidence throughout the buying journey. Here are some ways brands have found success leveraging reviews as social proof before:
Fabletics online reviews homepage
Jewelers Mutual reviews at checkout
Harry's instagram ad with reviews
2. Live or dynamic data
Helping your consumer make a decision based on the wisdom of the crowd can be challenging, but providing as much live or dynamic data as possible can make a huge difference to your conversion rate. Here are a couple of things we recommend including on your product pages:
The number of visitors currently looking at the product page
The number of people who bought this item over the last 24 hours
Other items consumers who have looked at this page ended up buying
Bestsellers of the week or month
Instilling urgency throughout the customer journey can be a powerful way to increase your company’s conversions.
Here are some examples of how you can leverage live data as social proof directly on-site:
social proof example live data 1
social proof example live data 2
3. User-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) describes any form of content such as reviews, blog posts, discussions, photos, or videos created by customers and publicly available to others.
Research shows that UGC is considered to be 50% more trustworthy than traditional marketing. For this reason, word of mouth has become one of the most powerful tools out there, making customer advocacy one of the best things a business can invest in.
Daniel Wellington makes good with their Instagram account by asking customers to share photos of themselves wearing one of their watches using the hashtag #DanielWellington, and picking the best photo every day with the hashtag #DWPickoftheDay. This gives customers an incentive to participate and improves visibility for the Daniel Wellington brand.
social proof example UGC 1
And Daniel Wellington isn’t the only brand leveraging user-generated content to boost their marketing efforts. GoPro also shares their customers’ pictures to promote their products on social channels.
GoPro social proof UGC
Using customers to generate content is a great way to engage with new visitors, boost loyalty, and showcase social proof on your marketing channels.
4. Media mentions
If your business has recently been mentioned in the media, you might want to consider adding the mention to your website.
From TV ads to magazine features or even newspaper shoutouts, if your brand has been mentioned in the press, it will build up your credibility and trustworthiness for new visitors and potential customers, pushing them to buy from you faster.
The famous Australian beauty brand Sand & Sky feature their press mentions on their homepage to build credibility at the top of the funnel.
social proof example media mention
5. Influencer endorsements
In the last year, we observed an 11% decline in trust globally, with only 71% of people admitting they trust consumer brands. That’s why self-promotion simply isn’t enough for businesses out there. To gain consumer trust, brands need third-party validation.
Finding influencers or micro-influencers to do brand endorsements may seem like a challenging task, but it will most likely help you build brand awareness, grow your business, and therefore increase your conversions.
Micro-influencers are more approachable and usually have a niche area of expertise, which means you’re more likely to get their attention when contacting them, and get their audience’s attention when promoting your brand.
If you’re no longer considered a ‘small’ company, targeting bigger influencers might be a better option for you. Influencer approval can come in the form of paid endorsements or unpaid ones. Sending some of your products or offering a free service to an influencer could lead to free social media publicity.
Sharing specific content through ‘famous’ influencers also means your audience is more likely to be interested in what you’re sharing, which will help boost your conversions.
The bigger the brand, the easier it gets to partner with ‘celebrities’. If you’re no longer considered a ‘small’ company, consider targeting bigger influencers or celebrities, like Aveeno did.
6. Customer stories
Last but not least, customer stories or long testimonials are known to provide high value social proof. They’re a great way for businesses to showcase what other customers have achieved with their help. They’re also a great way to let visitors know what to expect from using your business.
Highlighting success stories not only builds credibility earlier in the customer journey, but also provides valuable third-party validation to new visitors. Some of our favourite ways of sharing success stories is social media posts and short videos!
HiSmile has a whole Instagram account dedicated to their customers’ stories and testimonials, with real results from real people.
HiSmile stories and testimonials page
As brick and mortar shops start to reopen this summer, online shops’ conversion rates might take a toll. These 6 social proof examples should help you keep converting your traffic as life slowly gets back to normal.
If you’d like to learn more about the importance of trust signals in the buying journey, read our free report below.