How to Use Social Proof to Build Trust with Prospects [With Examples]
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Marketing & communication depends on TRUST!
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – Stephen Covey
We humans are social creatures. Our decisions, lifestyle & most of our daily environment is affected by other humans.
Let me ask you a question, what do you do when you decide to go to a restaurant or a movie?
I bet you most likely check the reviews first or discuss with your friends. We need proof or recommendations from other people to make a decision.
“Friends and colleagues’ endorsements, discussed in real life or through Twitter and Facebook updates, are more likely to drive sales than even a positive user review posted on a site like Yelp or Amazon (but those matter, too).”- Jason Mittelstaedt, CMO at RightNow.
Here is an explanation of social proof from wikipedia,
“Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.”
We humans follow the crowd, let’s take an example:
Let’s assume, you’re visiting a zoo and there are two gates. Hundreds of people are lined up behind gate 1. But gate 2 is empty (no one is there).
Our mind subconsciously thinks, “Gate 1 must be the correct gate because more people are following this gate. I should use that gate.”
“One of the key elements of human behavior is, humans have a greater fear of loss than enjoyment of success. All the academic studies will show you that the fear of loss of capital is far greater than the enjoyment of gains.” – Laurence D. Fink
In their song, Black Gold, Soul Asylum sings “nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.”
Here’s a good working definition of social proof by Neil Patel
“Social proof means that people will copy other’s actions, assuming it’s the right thing to do. Here’s the crazy thing about social proof – often, other people are wrong. But, we follow them, because we’re compelled by this psychological force of social proof.”
I’ve brought you some experiments to learn more about human psychology. Take a look:
The street corner experiment from The Wisdom of Crowds
“In 1968, the social psychologist Stanley Milgram, Leonard Bickman, and Lawrence Berkowitz decided to cause a little trouble. First they put a single person on a street corner and had him look up at an empty sky for sixty seconds. A tiny fraction of the passing pedestrians stopped to see what the guy was looking at, but most just walked past.
Next time around, the psychologists put five skyward-looking men on the corner. This time, four times as many people stopped to gaze at the empty sky.
When the psychologists put fifteen men on the corner, 45 percent of all passersby stopped, and increasing the cohort of observers yet again made more than 80 per cent of pedestrians tilt their heads and look up.
This study appears at first glance, to be another demonstration of people’s willingness to conform. But in fact it illustrated something different, namely the idea of “social proof”, which is the tendency to assume that if lots of people are doing something or believe something, there must be a good reason why.”
“Have you ever thought about how people will change just to fit in? In 1962, social psychologist Solomon Asch teamed up with the television show Candid Camera to demonstrate how quickly a basic social norm (how people stand in an elevator) could be reversed using group conformity. It is pretty amazing to see all the behaviors and beliefs you could get tricked into following, via the power of social pressure. “
Watch the Amazing recreation of this experiment here:
Why Your Business Needs Social Proof?
- Social proof builds trust. Or we can say, buyers want proof from their peers – not the brands selling the products.
- Social proof builds credibility. It’s very hard to buy something without any proof.
- Use social proof as a marketing tactic to Increase your conversions.
As a marketer, we must use social proof to offer comfort to our prospects or future customers.
Still have doubts?
Let’s look at some facts:
1. 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (Source – Econsultancy)
2. Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers. (Source – Econsultancy)
3. Star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business. (Source – BrightLocal)
4. Customer testimonials and case studies are considered the most effective content marketing tactics, identified by 89% and 88%, respectively, of B2B marketers. (Source – Pardot)
5. 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. (Source – Search Engine Land)
6. 85% Of Consumers Say They Read Up To 10 Reviews. (Source – Search Engine Land)
7. 88% Of Consumers Say They Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations. (Source – Search Engine Land)
8. More than 86% of consumers say reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions. (Source – Retail TouchPoints)
What Expert Say about Social Proof:
Oli Gardner, Unbounce
“One of the most common questions I get is what to do when you don’t have any testimonials. For instance, if you are launching a product that nobody’s used, an eBook that nobody’s read or a service that nobody’s paid for, what do you do to add social proof to your landing pages?
There are 4 main ways that I suggest going about it.
1. First, be okay with not having any. It’s not the end of the world. Yes, you might get a higher conversion rate with testimonials, but please never fake them. People can smell BS a mile away, so just be patient, or do one of the next three things.
2. Give your product or service away for free. Ideally to influencers in your community or industry. Then ask them for feedback.
3. Instead of having someone talk about your product or service, find a quote from an influencer that backs up the bigger picture concept.
For instance, on the International CRO Day landing page, in the absence of a testimonial, I put a quote from Rand Fishkin saying that conversion rate optimization is really important. He wasn’t talking about the event, but he did say that the subject matter of the event was important, which by proxy makes the event more important.
4. Ask bloggers or reporters to review your product or service.”
14 optimal types of social proof to build trust with prospects
1. User Testimonials
When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customers say it, it’s social proof. Social selling success is much easier with testimonials.
(Image Source: https://www.socialquant.net)
(Image Source: https://www.agorapulse.com )
2. Case Studies
People easily get into a story. Don’t miss an opportunity to document a success story to stay engaged with prospects.
(Image Source: http://neilpatel.com/ )
(Image Source: http://www.workboard.com )
3. Customer Reviews and Rating
Reviews and ratings are cousins of testimonials. We never make a purchase on any eCommerce platform without glancing at customer reviews or product rating.
(Image Source: http://www.hubspot.com/products/customer-reviews )
4. Customer Base
Displaying logos of your clients or companies is strong social proof that might convince your prospects to try your service or product.
(Image Source: https://sarv.com/about-us/clients.php )
(Image Source: https://sumome.com )
5. Media Mentions
Media mention is a powerful way of boosting your credibility. When you, your product or website is featured on another well-known platform, use this as social proof.
(Image Source: http://www.ekaterinawalter.com )
(Image Source: http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com)
6. Certificate & Badges
Certificate & badges are powerful proof in order to improve credibility or build trust with new customers.
(Image Source: http://kristihines.com )
(Image Source: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/blog/ )
7. Social Media Praise
Display tweets, Facebook reviews or post, comments from your users. Let your prospects know what people say about you on social media.
(Image Source: https://www.pagemodo.com )
(Image Source: https://culturedcode.com )
8. Play the numbers game
A single number has the power of thousand words. It’s a great opportunity for you to tell them the number of people who are loving you or your product.
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9. Experts / Influencers or Celebrity Endorsement
Words from an industry influencer or a celebrity have great power. If you or your business has ever received a compliment or praise from an influencer, show it to your audience (on your home page).
(Image Source: http://backlinko.com )
(Image Source: http://www.jaybaer.com/about-jay/ )
10. Trust Seals
Use trust seal icons, logos, security certificates, Association memberships, etc. on your site as a social proof.
(Image Source: https://www.surveypal.com/en/ )
(Image Source: http://www.nitelusa.com )
11. Number of subscribers or social followers
As we already discussed above, people feel comfortable joining the crowd. If you have a great social media following or a huge list of subscribers – tell people about it. It’s a foolproof method to grab new followers or subscribers.
(Image Source: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com )
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13. Integration with other platforms
(Image Source: https://www.hotjar.com )
(Image Source: https://segment.com )
14. Free Demo/Trial
People like to experience any product or service before they buy it. That’s why almost every sales organization provides either a free sample or a trial/demo.
(Image Source: https://qualaroo.com )
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So, as you can see here, social proof is so powerful. I hope you this information was helpful…