Using social proof on your website is incredibly effective to grow your brand’s credibility and boost your visitors’ trust towards you. As 88% of customers trust user reviews as much as they trust recommendations from friends and family, missing out on the opportunity to showcase them can lose you conversions.
Knowing which one to use can be challenging with so many different social proof types (including testimonials, reviews, and case studies). Let’s examine eight ways to leverage social proof and look at examples of successful implementation.
1. Feature Expert Endorsements
In some niches and industries, the best kind of social proof is the one that comes from an expert in the field. We’re not talking celebrity endorsements, even though the people or person endorsing you may be well known to your audience. We are talking about someone knowledgeable and experienced and whose recommendation will prove to your audience that your product or service is the best of its kind.
You don’t have to look for someone who is actually famous. All you need to do is find someone whose credentials are easy to prove. Ideally, you want someone with a strong online presence and who has repeatedly demonstrated that their recommendations are trustworthy. Someone who doesn’t endorse just anyone.
2. Hire Expert Writers
Another way you can leverage someone’s expertise is by hiring an expert writer or editor to create your content.
The web is filled with dozens, often hundreds, of articles on the same topic. Knowing whom to trust can be difficult, and unfortunately, most content is written by laymen or hired content writers who don’t know much about the topic they are covering.
To prove your brand’s credibility and instantly stand out, use professionals in their (and your) field to write, or at least to fact-check, your content. This will raise its value significantly, helping you rank better in search results and demonstrating to your audience that you want to provide them with the best possible information.
Check out Eachnight. Their post on the best mattresses has been written by a certified sleep coach and reviewed by another medical professional. The brand has also made it super easy to verify these credentials on the page itself, with the simple popups, and via the dedicated author pages.
Now that you know that actual doctors have chosen these products, you will be much more confident in choosing one of them for your next mattress.
3. Highlight Your Media Mentions
If you have created a quality product or service, chances are you will be featured by various media outlets, both niche, and mainstream. In fact, you should make seeking out said mentions a part of your digital marketing strategy. They can both help you drive traffic and sales, and featuring them on your website is a great way to add another social proof element.
Don’t worry about chasing large publications. Getting featured by niche blogs or websites will often work even better, as these outlets will be experts in your industry, and their endorsement will thus carry more weight.
When displaying your media mentions, don’t just do what most brands do and feature the logos of the media outlets. Anyone can claim they have been featured in Forbes. Your audience will simply not waste any time looking for the feature, and you will miss out on the opportunity to actually influence them.
Instead, include a quote from the article on your website. Gili has done this very cleverly, and the brief blurbs they have chosen highlight different aspects of their products. This simple section carries incredible credibility, which is why it has been incorporated so high up on the page.
4. Include Third-Party Reviews
Similarly, including some of your third-party reviews will go a very long way. First of all, as you can easily incorporate them on your homepage, they will ensure that even people who land there — and not on one of your product pages — know what your customers think about your products.
Google and Trustpilot are the usual suspects for third-party review websites. When including your ratings, make sure you do much more than merely display your overall score, or worse still, simply feature the logo of the review website and ask your customers to leave your page to check them out.
What you should be doing instead is incorporating (yet again) blurbs from reviews, mentioning the customer’s name alongside the said link and your overall score. This will help you highlight what your customers like about you best, in their own words. This is what SomniFix does with great success. The homepage showcases their overall stats and individual customer reviews, leading to instant credibility.
5. Say It With a Video
Textual testimonials work very well and should certainly be incorporated into your social proof strategy. Nonetheless, you should also consider adding a video. It will help your visitors connect with you more, as video can convey more emotion and information than words.
It can also help make you more relatable if you choose to film testimonials that address the most common pain points of your audience and if you’re able to select people who most resemble the majority of your visitors.
Bear in mind that not everyone will want to view the video, so make it optional. First and foremost, populate the page with plenty of information that will help visitors make a converting decision. Consider the video as a bonus.
Take a look at GetSafe and how they have done it. Their video is very brief, but it speaks to their solution’s benefits and helps viewers understand the problem and the emotions that come with it very well.
6. Showcase Real-Time Sales
Sometimes the best social proof you can provide is the one that shows that your customers are buying from you in real-time. This instantly showcases both your credibility (as others are clearly trusting you and find you a reliable business) and your stock.
If you carry thousands or hundreds of thousands of items, it can be difficult for your visitors to grasp the scope of your inventory. You can inspire them to make additional purchases, browse more, and dive deeper into your offer when they are shown your products via a live shopping widget.
Take a look at the Book Depository. Their super simple widget accomplishes a lot in one fell swoop. Customers are shown that the brand does indeed deliver worldwide and that they stock all kinds of books. Whatever you’re looking for, they probably have it, and they can deliver it to you for free.
7. Incorporate User-Generated Content in Your Product Pages
Finally, consider using user-generated content in the form of images and videos as social proof on your product pages. It will boost your credibility in several ways.
First, you will be able to enrich your pages with the type of visual content you could never come up with yourself. No matter how many angles you shoot a product from or how many “in action” shots you take, you can never generate the credibility that a single user-made photo can. Even if customer photos are not the sharpest or of the highest quality, they will help potential shoppers easily envision themselves using the product.
You will also show your customers that you care about them. Letting them shine on your website demonstrates that you consider them a part of your family and that you care about their opinions and experiences with your product.
One way to incorporate UGS on your product pages is to let users add them to their reviews. Cotopaxi does this, and it adds an instance level of value to their ratings. It demonstrates that the reviewer has purchased said product and shows just how it can be used in different scenarios.
You can also consider adding content from social media to your product pages. While some of your products may not be featured on socials often, others will amass enough photos for you to be able to incorporate them easily.
Lush Cosmetics does this for some of their more photogenic products, including images of their products in use. That way, they showcase their users and their social media profiles, making them a part of the Lush family. Plus, they demonstrate what the product will look like in person and why a customer may want to choose it.
You can also feature user-generated images in your usual product image carousels. Make sure you clearly highlight that a customer shot the photo and mention their name. This will add another layer of credibility to your visuals.
Before selecting any of these ways to add social proof to your website, take the time to consider what your audience would like to see the most. Which type of social proof is the most likely to assure them that your brand is both credible and trustworthy?
Natasha is a digital marketer and writer who has been working for, and collaborating with, individual clients and companies of all sizes for more than a decade.