Using Social Proof to Market Your Business

If you are into marketing, you must be a little bit familiar with conversion rate optimization. CRO best practices often talk about using social proof as one of its main tactics. But what exactly is social proof? What do marketers mean when they are trying to do social proofing? What is meant by social proof marketing? Today, we will be answering all these questions.

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is a concept or idea that states that people usually confirm or abide by behavior that they believe is acceptable. People tend to stay away from behaviors, buying habits, and lifestyle trends that they think are disliked or unacceptable within their community.

Let’s say you are browsing a website and see a customer testimonial written by an industry expert. That testimonial will act as social proof marketing for you and will be an influential factor for you to buy from that company. If you check the pricing structure of software being offered by a website and see an industry giant using that tool, that’s also social proof. When you see that a particular product solves an exact problem, you would like to purchase the same product. That’s again social proof psychology. In simple words, social proofing uses a third party’s influence to attract more customers to your product or business.

What are the Types of Social Proof?

There are mainly six different types of social proof marketing. Every business can choose to use any one of these six as the baseline of their marketing.

1. Case Studies

A case study is an in-depth analysis, backed by well-researched data, of a product or service that you sold to or are currently providing to a customer. Case studies are suitable for social proof marketing if you promote a B2B software or offer agency services. They are not so appropriate if your business is B2C.

2. Testimonials

Customer testimonials are short statements or stories giving positive reviews about a product or brand. They are written by happy and satisfied customers and serve as social proof for a brand. The concept of testimonials is universally applicable and can be used for almost any type of product. Websites selling an eBook on nutrition and weight loss can use customer testimonials as effectively as another site selling a SaaS software package.

Screenshot of Strikingly landing page showing a happy customer's testimonial

Image taken from Strikingly

For a testimonial to be completely legitimate, it must include the following elements.

  • Customer’s picture
  • Their full name
  • The company they own or work in
  • Their role in using the product

Suppose you want your customers to write testimonials for you in the standard and entirely legitimate format that includes all these elements. In that case, you can provide a template or form to them on your website as an option to fill up and submit as a testimonial. These elements give credibility to the customers, which gives credibility to your product or service when they write about it.

3. Reviews

Reviews are similar to testimonials but are more precise and more objective. Reviews are usually written for products that are either too technical or belong to highly competitive industries.

Screenshot of Strikingly landing page showing positive user reviews

Image taken from Strikingly

If you build a website in Strikingly, we have this feature that will allow your customers to submit reviews for the products they purchase from your site. You can choose whether you want these reviews to be publicly displayed or not.

Screenshot of Strikingly product reviews section

Image taken from Strikingly

A product’s review is not necessarily written on the website where it is sold. You can find product reviews everywhere on the internet. They appear on forums, review sites, blogs, news portals, Facebook pages, Instagram stories, and Youtube videos. If you are running a business and want to see the reviews people have posted about your products, you can simply type in your brand or product name in a Google search. Customers don’t wait for an invite to review a product or service. They merely post and publish reviews on any platform they find convenient on the internet. It’s a potential danger for your business if most of your customers are writing negative reviews. Therefore, you need to monitor what your customers are saying about you regularly.

4. Social Media

Public praise of your products and brand in the form of Facebook posts, positive Facebook page reviews, Instagram comments, and tweets from your customers make up outstanding social proofs. This social proof works so well for B2C products that it for sure enhances your brand image, if not your sales.

If you build a website in Strikingly, we provide you with an option to add a Social Feed section on your home page, where you can display your latest social media updates. If your customers are sharing positive stuff about your products, you can share those in this section.

Screenshot of Strikingly editor showing how to add a social feed section

Image taken from Strikingly

5. Trust Icons

These are logos and icons of famous brands that have engaged with your brand in one way or another. Inserting logos of popular or large companies on your website makes a great social proof for your brand.

Trust icons convey that a particular brand has been engaged with you somehow but don't specify how and what they think about your brand. Were they satisfied with your service or not? Is their contract with you still ongoing? Do they recommend your brand or not? But despite this limitation, trust icons can go a long way in building your brand’s reputation. They are also a suitable means of creating quality web links on your site.

Screenshot of Strikingly landing page showing logos of sites it has been featured in

Image taken from Strikingly

6. Data or Numbers

These are numbers or statistics about one or more of the following.

  • Number of people who have visited the website
  • Number of customers who have purchased from the company
  • Number of happy customers who have given positive testimonials

If displayed on your website, these numbers encourage conversions and give a perfect impression about how your business is doing. They are thus a kind of social proof.

Ways to do Social Proof Marketing

Now that you know what the different types of social proof are let’s discuss how to use these types for marketing your business in different ways.

1. Storytelling Social Proof

Many brands build a convincing landing page by telling a story to everyone who visits it. Social proofing by telling a story is also referred to as story marketing. It is like using customer testimonials but in an unconventional way. When you publish the exact words of a customer’s testimonial on your site, it is written in the first person. When you tell the story of a happy customer instead, you write it in the third person. In creating social proof through storytelling, you use a language that supports the narrative that your landing page content is telling.

2. Implied Social Proof

This is the indirect form of social proof. In most cases, social proofing is done in direct statements, such as, “Pall Smith from XYZ tried Product ABC, and he simply loved it!” This is direct social proofing.

Implied social proofing is when you convince people to purchase by implying that if they don’t, it means they don’t have what it takes to get what they want. This is the strategy used by many of the digital marketing gurus these days. Have you ever heard a marketing statement saying, “I made $100,000 in ad revenue by enhancing the SEO of my YouTube videos”? Do you want to learn how to do that too?” This statement is implying that if the reader doesn’t sign up for this individual’s course on YouTube SEO, they would themselves be the ones to be blamed when they do not make $100,000.

3. Activity Social Proof

Activity social proof goes one step beyond just stating the number of people that your company has served. Activity social proofing tells your audience how some of your customers recently used the product or service they bought from you. This technique can go a long way in building curiosity in the minds of your audience, and at the least, triggers them to get more information about your brand.

To make your activity social proof more effective, add timelines to it. For example, you can add statements like, “X number of customers are using our product right now.”

It is straightforward to use social proof to increase the convincing power of your marketing efforts. What’s important is that the website building tool you use has enough features to add the different types of social proof to your landing page.

If you use Strikingly to build your website, we offer you each of the following features to help you social proof your brand.

  • Insert logos of other brands (called ‘trust icons’)
  • Allow customers to write reviews on your products
  • Integrate your social media pages with your site
  • Show your social media feed on your landing page
  • Edit your website at any time to include new customer testimonials

To create a website in Strikingly, you can sign up for a free Strikingly account at any time.