Building trust and confidence with potential customers is an important factor when designing and updating a website. Social proof is an expected method to be used to provide customers with external validation.
A study found that 95% of people rely on other people’s opinions about products. Social proof strategies allow businesses to quickly build a positive first impression with new customers. It can also increase conversions with your existing customer base. A website needs to provide evidence and justification to choose your business ahead of a competitor.
There are different types of social proof on a website such as testimonials, trust icons, endorsements and include important statistics relevant to the product or service. Our blog post will look into each of these and others in more detail below.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon which refers to customers trusting the viewpoint of a third party, such as other customers to create trust and credibility. It is giving external validation for the claims or given situation to show a reason to believe.
If a business says their product or service is good or the best on their website homepage. What reason does a customer have to take you at your word? Site visitors want to see justification which can be best achieved through social proof.
Social proof works on the basis of a third party recommendation such as online reviews and testimonials from real customers. Right through to displaying social proof with client and partner logos relevant to the industry or audience.
It has been a marketing tactic used by businesses for many years so isn’t a new phenomenon, previously used on magazine advertising. In the here and now social proof work impactfully on websites, including E Commerce and Business to Business. Being featured in prominent locations throughout the customer journey to make the purchase decision, such as the homepage.
When referring to testimonials people tend to for this format write in long form. Whereas, a positive review usually would be shorter than a testimonial, for example just a few lines and might include a star rating.
This form of social proof could be shown with the number of 5 star rating from positive reviews or an average rating across the total number of reviews. This gives a quick snippet when someone comes to your landing page to show them quickly that your customer base had a positive experience.
Including positive reviews can encourage people to convert from browsing to making a purchase. Particularly for online stores and Ecommerce brands, reviews could be a good idea to be easily accessible from product pages.
If it is the first time someone is browsing your products, it gives an extra layer of credibility to trust they are going to have a positive user experience. This is due to the reassurance reading positive reviews from multiple satisfied customers provides to potential customers.
Social influence has become a big marketing consideration for businesses. Social media platforms have become one of the main types of social proof. A perfect example is the ability to leave reviews directly on a social media platform such as a Facebook page.
This could be utilised on a website with featuring the reviews at different points of the customers purchase journey. Another great example which could be included to build trust and credibility is celebrity social proof and influencer marketing.
If industry experts or a famous person is seen to recommend your product or service on social media, this could be shown on your landing pages too. Giving your target audience more knowledge and support from a trusted expert in their view.
This could go onto influence their purchase decision due to the trust they already have in that person being then directly linked to your business. Expert social proof at its best.
Social media is a great example of user social proof, which should be maximised not just on social media platforms, but also on your website where customers will be going to make an enquiry or a purchase.
As part of online marketing, social proof important for some of your potential customers could be if you have won any awards or not. Highlighting awards you have won can make an impactful first impression on your website.
As part of featuring your awards, if there has been any form of press mentions these could also be included. Giving visitors to your website insights into the success of your business. People assume most likely that a business offering a bad experience isn’t going to win any awards.
Therefore this third party recognition to win an award is worth shouting from the rooftops on your website. It will further build on your social proof to show external validation and credibility to reassure new and current customers.
There are other types of social proof which aren’t user social proof which can create credibility and confidence with your target audience. This is in the form of trust icons, which typically would be featured on your homepage and during the checkout process where relevant.
Trust icons will vary by industry but examples would include client logos, partner logos and any accreditations such as industry specific qualifications, trust bodies, memberships etc. that are relevant to feature.
For some businesses as part of their marketing it is important to demonstrate that the business has the right qualifications and met certain benchmarks expected for that service.
For example this could be in the construction industry which required high health and safety accreditations. This can be shown in a quick format for this social proof through the use of the relevant icon.
How Can We Help?
We hope our blog post has helped to demonstrate different methods of social proof which can be used to help your website make the right first impression and create trust and credibility for visitors. Helping your business to stand out ahead of your competitors.
At 1PCS Creative we have over 20 years’ experience designing and developing websites. We can happily work with you to include the right social proof to suit your business and industry. Please feel free to get in touch with one of the team.
Creative director at 1PCS. Addicted to design, SEO, pizza and helping companies big and small succeed online.