4 Ways to Use Social Proof to Boost Conversions


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Over the years, the online market has grown to be very competitive. Businesses and brands alike have tried every trick in the book to win over online shoppers and encourage them to buy. Some tactics work well, while others don’t work at all.

Moreover, strategies that work today may be completely useless tomorrow. You never know for sure. The main reason is that online consumers tend to change their behavior often and quite suddenly. Their purchasing habits and even their preferences may change practically overnight.

So instead of just trying to figure out which trends will affect consumer behavior in what way, marketers decided to turn to science for help. As it turns out, humans are social beings and tribal creatures. Our need to belong somewhere or in some group is deeply rooted in our DNA. This trait can be influenced the right way using the so-called social proof.

That being said, regardless of how well developed your brand is or how effective your marketing strategies are, if you really want people to do what you want them to do, you’ll have to leverage social proof to boost conversions the best way possible. With that in mind, here are a few ways to boost conversion using social proof.

What Exactly is Social Proof?

Simply put, social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to mimic the actions of others so that they can undertake a specific behavior in a given situation. In layman’s terms, we tend to do what others are doing because we firmly believe that others know what they’re doing.

Social Proof to Boost Conversions

This behavior is driven by our assumption that people who surround us possess more knowledge and information than we do. Therefore, it’s only logical that we will behave the same way. For example, imagine seeing a hundred people running frantically in the opposite direction you’re going? Your first assumption would be that these people are running from something, and if you value your life, you’ll be joining them soon.

Marketers figured out that social proof works exceptionally well online, especially at places where a lot of people tend to gather, such as social media platforms, for instance. So if you manage to convince a few people to do something, others are likely to follow soon enough. Of course, you have to be creative and subtle. Otherwise, people might catch on that you’re trying to herd them in one direction.

Enlist the Aid from Influencers

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Social media influencers are individuals with a large following. People see these individuals as experts of sorts that know more than anyone else does. The main reason is that a lot of influencers try out different products from various brands, and they possess first-hand experience.

They will then share their experience with their audience. So, if an influencer is endorsing your products, you can be sure that their audience will most likely start buying those products from you. Here are a few interesting things you should know.

Influencer Marketing Highlights

  • Word-of-mouth recommendations can influence anywhere between 20% and 50% of your sales.
  • 40% of consumers on Twitter claim that they’ve made a purchase after seeing an influencer’s Tweet
  • 49% of Twitter users look for recommendations from influencers.
  • 20% of those Twitter users trust influencer recommendations as much as they’d trust personal recommendations from their family members and friends.

This just proves how powerful social proof can be when used the right way. Consumers are less likely to trust brands directly. However, if an influencer tells them that your products are great, people will trust that recommendation and take the desired action. Your conversion rates are likely to skyrocket at this point.

Leverage Testimonials

Testimonials are a powerful method of using social proof to boost conversions in the right direction. As you may already know, when consumers land on your website, they expect a seamless experience. During their stay, they’ll likely conduct some research to see what your company and your products or services are all about. Your website should, therefore, have a dedicated testimonial page where consumers can check out what experiences others have had with your company or brand. Unlike product reviews, testimonials paint the bigger picture. They are actually short stories by other consumers or clients expressing how you helped them out in one way or another.

For a consumer who is interacting with your brand for the very first time, these testimonials are proof enough that you’re, indeed, legit and that they can resume browsing your offers until they find what they need. If you have difficulties implementing and designing a testimonial page on your website, you can always find someone to do it for you.

For example, if you run a Miami-based company and you want to encourage your local customers to buy from you, you can always find a reliable web design company in Florida that will help you out with your testimonial page.

Once that page is up and running, your customers will be able to check it out. Even for your existing customers, reading through testimonials can be a game-changer when it comes to making a purchasing decision.

Use product reviews to your advantage

Product reviews do exactly what they’re supposed to do, which is allowing people to post their opinions and experiences with your products for everyone to see. A lot of companies fear using product reviews because they believe it can be a double-edged sword.

After all, someone might post a bad review as well. So what happens when you have mixed reviews for your products? Simply put, it gives you a unique opportunity to leverage social proof. Therefore, don’t hide negative reviews. Instead, let people post whatever they want and respond to feedback the right way and on time.

This makes the whole situation more real. Having only positive reviews can seem suspicious to people. This way, everything seems more authentic. After all, we all make mistakes. More importantly, responding to negative reviews and mending your mistakes can further encourage people to trust you.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Dealing with negative reviews

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It’s no secret that negative reviews can be off-putting for consumers. In fact, 90% of consumers read online reviews. Furthermore, 84% of those consumers trust these reviews very much.
After reading one negative review, 22% of consumers will no longer buy products from you. Moreover, after reading three or more negative reviews, that number increases to 59%. However, you can turn the situation around. If someone posts a negative review, there are a few things you can do. For instance:

  • Apologize and be as genuine as possible.
  • Answer any questions a consumer may have.
  • Provide a customer with a useful suggestion or an alternative.
  • Provide them with contact information so that they can get in touch with you.

When other consumers see that you’re interested in helping customers sort out their problem, they’ll be more willing to look past the negative review and continue doing business with you.

Rely on User-generated Content

User-generated content is arguably the best form of social proof to boost conversions. The main reason is that consumers see user-generated content as more genuine than anything else you might come up with. Therefore, if all else fails, you can always rely on user-generated content. Who else is better to convince your audience that your products are legit than other consumers. This is where social proof plays a pivotal role. Consumers will see others with your products and immediately assume that these people now know more than they do.

That’s why they will more likely trust other users than take your word for it. You can leverage UGC on your website or social media profiles for the best exposure. The more people see all the content other users have posted, the better. This can greatly improve your conversion rates, especially if you create a sense of urgency to spice things up a bit.

For example, you can leverage user-generated content to create a unique and time-sensitive offer. When people see that there’s a limited time to make a decision or that the number of products in stock is limited, they’ll rush to join the others and make a purchase. You’ve already convinced them of your product quality by allowing others to speak on your behalf. Now, all you have to do is ensure that other consumers don’t end up in a loop where they’ll endlessly consider their options. That said, social proof is a good motivator but sometimes you have to push your consumers a bit further if you want to boost your conversions.

Online consumers tend to behave in ways that are, oftentimes, difficult to predict. This gives marketers a lot of headaches, especially if consumers change their behavior in the midst of a marketing campaign. However, social proof is something that can be more or less predicted, as well as controlled. That’s why a lot of companies today base their marketing strategies with social proof in mind.

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