Last updated on January 21st, 2021 at 08:55 am


Social Proof is important to build trust from potential customers & clients.

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In psychology, social proof describes the way people follow the actions of others. To a digital marketer, social proof is all part of FOMO marketing – convincing people to buy things by making them feel like the odd one out for not.

Most websites already use some form of social proof – reviews and testimonials being the most common. 

But we’re not here for common. We’re here for the types of social proof you might not know about. The ones that will give your conversions the biggest boost.

In this post, we’ll look at the top 3 and explain why you should add them to your website.

Press mentions

When someone reads a review on your website, they’ve really no way to know whether it’s real or not. 

Up to 80% of consumer reviews on some sites are completely fake and people are starting to wake up to this reality. Which means they’re less trusting of the customer reviews on your website than ever before.

You know what’s hard to fake? A backlink from Forbes. Which is why press mentions are are a far more potent form of social proof. But how to get them?

Press Mentions

You can find existing brand mentions using a tracking tool like brandmentions.com. Just enter your brand name and filter the results by website quality, e.g. domain rating or domain authority. This will give you a list of the best websites that mention your brand. All you have to do it look each up and find one’s worth mentioning on your Home page.

Thankfully, most brand tracking tools offer free trials. So you can find existing links without spending a penny.

Social proof notifications

Have you ever been on a website and noticed a notification pop into view? They look very similar to Apple’s Mac notifications and often say things like “Keith from Ullapool has just purchased the BigBrain online course”, or “59 people have This Nice Tshirt in their basket”.

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These are social proof notifications. They’re designed to recreate online that ‘full shop’ effect that drives success in brick-and-mortar stores. 

Imagine you’re in a shopping centre looking for a ring. There are two jewellery stores within eyeshot. One is bustling with people, the other completely empty. Which would you buy from? 

According to psychologists, you’ll want some of what everyone else is having – and that’s exactly why this type of social proof is so powerful. 

Add a plugin like Nudgify or ProofFactor to your website to test the effect for yourself. After a month you should have enough data to compare your conversions before and after and decide your new plugin is here to stay.

Counters 

Counters visibly highlight your website’s user metrics. The most common types are the “trusted by [number of customers]” and “[number of users] have already bought…”. Both of which build trust using the herding effect – which is a very unflattering name for the tendency of people to follow the majority.

Shopify Splash
Shopify’s splash page includes a counter to illustrate trust

When we think other people are interested in a product, we’re much more likely to view it positively and to want it ourselves. 

The good news is, you don’t have to have over a million users (like Shopify) to use this tactic. Much lower values can have an impact – it all depends on the market you’re in and the product you’re selling. For example, an online course with 100 sign-ups is worth shouting about on your website – a million wouldn’t be possible or believable. 

If you host your website with WordPress, you can use their native plugins. If not, most website builders offer modules that do the same job.

That’s all folks

Social proof is a powerful tool that draws on the science of human psychology to boost trust in your brand. But don’t narrow your focus to reviews and testimonials alone. There are plenty other, more powerful ways to use social proof, like those mentioned above. With some simply and inexpensive plugins, you can use social proof to create more buzz on your website today.

Jodie is a Conversion Copywriter, Content Strategist and Optimisation Specialist working with bold B2B SaaS and marketing brands. Before founding This Copy Sticks, she's spent a decade selling the toughest value proposition around and raised £2 million for charities before her 25th birthday. After 10 years convincing the public to embrace their inner altruist, Jodie now puts her words to work helping tech-mad trailblazers grow their businesses.

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