No matter how great you and your marketing team are at advertising your products, the simple truth is that these days, 75% of consumers will do their own research before committing to a purchase. And, it just so turns out that this research will include seeking out examples of social proof that confirm that your offer delivers real value.
So, if you want your marketing activities to result in conversions, high customer satisfaction levels, and (ultimately) business growth, you will have to learn how to use social proof to your advantage.
If you’re ready to start exploring ways to use social proof to grow your eCommerce business, these are the main tactics you should consider adopting to achieve next-level results.
1. Use Data That’s Readily Available
One of the absolute best (and most uncomplicated) ways to employ social proof in your eCommerce store is to display ratings and reviews on your site.
In fact, here’s the thing: there’s probably a lot of social proof about your business out there, which you could use to grow your brand. According to a survey from BrightLocal, 80% of consumers are “likely” or “highly likely” to leave a review, especially if their initial negative experience with a brand is turned into a very positive one.
So, the obvious solution would be to check out review websites where consumers are most likely to leave their impressions. For eCommerce, these will include Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Then, all you have to do is embed the data on your site and place it in a visible spot that will inspire conversions.
For inspiration on how to show off ratings on your site, you can check out Patch, a brand that nails the use of embedded reviews by featuring them in a couple of spots on its homepage. On the one hand, this approach ensures that web visitors can’t miss the fact that the business has an impressive 4.9 average star rating. On the other hand, the way the social proof is located right next to conversion-inspiring CTAs guarantees that it has the maximum possible impact on Patch’s audience’s buying behavior.
2. Provide a Personal Touch by Sharing Customer Testimonials
Displaying reviews and star ratings on your site accomplishes a great deal in showing your potential customers that you’re a brand they can trust. However, it’s not always enough to convince people to convert.
After all, most of today’s buyers want to be sure that a product will be the right choice for them before making a purchase.
This is, at least partially, why personalization is becoming more and more impactful in 2022. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalization. And 76% become frustrated when that doesn’t happen.
Now, the best way to deliver personalization is to adapt your offers based on user behavior. But, you can also achieve excellent results by paying attention to what type of social proof you display.
If you want the testimonials on your site to resonate with your target audience, one of the best things you can do is to carefully choose what feedback you display on your homepage.
Check out how expertly Mannequin Mall does it. The brand shows off user feedback that names service agents that ensured the customers received a next-level experience. On top of that, it even features reviews left by people who encountered problems during their buying process to prove how reliable the brand was at solving those issues.
3. Employ Video
If you’re willing to experiment with content formats when using social proof to grow your eCommerce business, then videos should definitely make it to the top of your to-do list.
According to recent data, video is one of the most effective conversion boosters you can use. In fact, Vidyard’s 2022 State of Video Report discovered that 93% of marketers thought video was just as effective or better at driving conversions than any other format.
So, if you want to stay ahead of the game and display social proof in a way that is guaranteed to engage your audience, why not play around with video?
Bay Alarm Medical does it beautifully, filling its homepage with different types of social proof presented in video format.
There are a couple of user interviews where the brand’s customers share personal experiences about using the medical alert devices. There’s a clip from NBC Today that employs the network’s authority to underline Bay Alarm Medical’s credibility. And there are even a few vlog-style unboxing videos submitted by social media influencers, offering a more candid sneak-peak into the process of receiving and setting up a Bay Alarm Medical device.
4. Don’t Be Shy About Earned Media Mentions
In 2019, Edelman discovered that 81% of consumers made purchasing decisions based on trust. Using every opportunity you can to prove your brand’s authority and trustworthiness is crucial if eCommerce growth is your goal.
This is, obviously, why it’s essential for you to display social proof on your website. But what’s the best way to prove to your potential customers that your brand has what they need?
Well, one strategy you could experiment with is building your brand’s credibility on the authority of others.
During the 1960s, psychologists started studying a phenomenon called the mere exposure effect. Essentially, this is an occurrence that causes people to have a preference for the things they know. So, when they find themselves in novel situations, they simply rely on the things that are familiar.
But, you may find yourself asking, what does the mere exposure effect have to do with social proof and building credibility through the authority of others?
Well, it’s quite simple. By showing earned media mentions from well-known publishers, you can effectively prove to potential buyers that you’re a serious brand simply because people already trust those publications.
This is what Amerisleep (quite brilliantly) does on its memory foam mattress product page, where it displays earned media mentions right below the hero section of its landing pages. This ensures that every single visitor notices the social proof. Plus, it plays on the trustworthiness of magazines such as Allure, Forbes, Inc., and Newsweek to show that Amerisleep truly offers excellent products.
5. Let Diversity Win With UGC
In its 2022 State of User-Generated Content Report, TINT discovered that 65% of people want to see brands channeling more diversity in their online campaigns. And that’s not all. The same report found that 72% of consumers feel like user-submitted content is more credible than when brands talk about their products.
With this in mind, it becomes clear that employing user-generated content in your marketing strategies will be a must if you wish to drive growth in 2022.
But what can you do to make your marketing channels a space for diverse voices to be heard?
Sure, you could stick to sharing reviews and testimonials and conducting interviews with your satisfied customers. However, you could also go back to basics and use UGC in its rawest form. That way, you won’t just be sharing relevant social proof with your audience. More importantly, you’ll be doing so in an unfiltered way that shows your brand as it is — through multiple unique points of view.
The great thing about this tactic is that it’s super easy to pull off. Especially on social media, as all you have to do is re-post images and posts your customers have tagged you in.
For example, if you check out Impossible, you’ll see that the brand’s Instagram feed is filled with examples of UGC that testify to the fact that Impossible inspires its customers to go after their dreams.
Or, if you take a look at the KURU Footwear Instagram feed, you’ll see that by sharing user-submitted visuals, the brand clearly prides itself on helping its customers exercise pain-free.
6. Make Customers a Part of Your Marketing Team With Social Share Buttons
Finally, as you explore ways to use social proof to grow your eCommerce business, don’t forget about the value you can create by simply including social share buttons on your website.
For starters, this approach will help encourage web visitors to act as ambassadors of your brand. Research also shows that traffic from social media channels tends to convert twice as well as that from paid search. (Email, of course, still outperforms both paid search and social by as much as 6x).
To see how easily you can put this tactic into action, just check out The Art of Ping Pong‘s website, where each product page invites visitors to share the fun designs with their followers on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Whether you choose to employ all of the strategies discussed in this guide or just a couple is entirely up to you. But, you can rest assured that each one will deliver results when it comes to the long-term success of your business.
Don’t forget that social proof without well-planned content, social media, and email marketing strategies won’t be enough to generate the amount of traffic and conversions you need for next-level results. However, you can be certain that including social proof on your website (or your social media profiles) will inspire your target audience to put their trust in your brand and give your products a chance.
About The Author
Natasha has been working for, and collaborating with, individual clients and companies of all sizes for more than a decade. She specializes in writing about design, branding, digital marketing, and business growth. She is also addicted to art in all its forms and grilled tofu.