Make no mistake, humans are pack animals. We have a desire to fit in with the rest of the crowd, and that affects our lives in a variety of ways, including our purchasing behavior.
Ask yourself, have you ever purchased a product after a recommendation from somebody else?
If, like us, you have, you’ve been influenced by social proof, and you’ve seen first-hand why it’s an excellent marketing tool.
Real people recommending products with real feedback is so persuasive because it’s genuine – and that’s not always the case nowadays.
So, let’s dive in and explain why you need social proof for your business, and how you can start generating social proof for your store today.
Principles of social proof
Essentially, social proof is looking to others to figure out the right way to act.
Here’s a real life example: if you’re in a new city and looking for somewhere to eat, you are more likely to walk into a busy restaurant with happy people, rather than a quiet place with no signals that the place serves good food.
More specifically though, there are 4 principles behind social proof that can affect the way we act. .
Uncertainty: We defer to how other people are reacting to a situation when we are uncertain about it.
Similarity: When you experience something unfamiliar with a large group of people, you are more inclined to follow the reaction of those who you consider similar to you.
Expertise: Those with more knowledge about a situation can lead the reaction of the rest. Students are more likely to look to their teachers for signals of how to react in uncertain circumstances.
Number: Where a group of people experience something uncertain together, the actions of the majority will be seen as correct and valid.
With all of these principles in mind, how exactly do you put them into place to help you grow your store?
Leverage positive reviews
According to Business.com, 77% of all online customers read reviews before they make a purchase. It’s clear then, that if you want to leverage social proof you need reviews.
Reviews let customers know that you’ve made sales in the past and that you’re a legitimate business. Two things that go a long way with convincing customers to make a purchase from your store.
They’ll help potential customers to understand the quality of your products, your shipping times, the likeness to your product photos, and much more.
But it’s not just reviews that you need – it’s positive ones that’ll really make a difference.
Thankfully, there are various tools which you can use to leverage customer reviews, and build the social proof for your ecommerce store.
If you’re running your ecommerce store on Shopify, try out the Yotpo Reviews app. It’s a free product review tool which you can integrate directly into your store that enables your customers to easily leave reviews.
To increase the product review count for your store, you can send emails to your customers once they’ve received their order and ask them to leave a review.
If they’re totally satisfied with their product it’s likely that they’ll leave a review. You can also incentivize reviews from your customers by creating an exclusive discount code.
Use testimonials on your website
Similar to product reviews, testimonials go a long way in generating social proof for your brand.
In fact, research from Shopify found that 90% of users who read online testimonials said that positive reviews influence their buying decisions.
So, once you’ve secured some positive reviews on your website, promote them to your homepage.
Let everybody know how happy your customers are after shopping at your store, and they’ll be much more likely to shop at your store themselves.
Create a blog to build social proof
Content marketing, and blogging in particular, is a great tool that businesses use to provide potential customers with insightful content that’s related to their products.
For example, if you’re running a cooking utensils store, you can create blog content for your audience that includes recipes, cooking tips, or product reviews, which will help to build the authority of your brand.
The end goal of creating a blog for your ecommerce business is to draw high volumes of qualified traffic (i.e. people who are likely to purchase your products) to your store.
When you’re providing value to people with your content, they’ll be much more likely to believe that your products will provide them with a similar level of value.
Having a positive brand image like this will help you to secure repeat customers, increase traffic to your store, and ultimately increase your brand’s social proof.
Optimizing your blog for social proof
Creating a blog for your brand is great, but there are various ways you can optimize it to ensure that you gain the maximum social proof from your content marketing efforts.
One example of this is adding social share buttons and counters to your blog. This will help you to encourage your blog audience to share your content, but it’ll also inform readers that numerous other people have enjoyed the content, and shared it. Social proof inception.
There are plenty of apps on Shopify’s App Store that’ll allow you to add social media sharing buttons to your website. It’s a little change that can really go a long way in building social proof for your brand.
Also, try adding a mailing list button to your blog. You can create weekly newsletters which will help you to retain your users, and provide them with even more content related to your niche. Don’t be afraid to send discount codes to your mailing list too – it’s just another way to generate sales for your brand.
A brand ambassador is somebody with a large following (think Instagram influencers) who can humanize both your products and brand for prospective customers.
They can spread the word about your products on social media and their own websites to build trust between your brand and their following.
Brand awareness, and the social proof that accompanies it, has helped many businesses move the needle, so try partnering with relevant influencers and see how they can help your brand grow.