Social Proof originally is a psychological concept dictate that people will follow the actions of the masses.
We heard so much about it, mainly within marketing discussion, but how social proof really looks like when it is in action? Take a look at Yelp
Many people can’t live without it (similar to how we feel about Nutella). With nearly 150 million monthly visitors and over 160 million reviews, it’s fair to say Yelp is a dominant force when it comes to social review sites.
It’s because “Facts tell, but stories sell” – 88% of consumers reportedly trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, with 72% claiming that positive reviews make them trust businesses more. Millennials, in particular, are 50% more likely to trust user-generated content than other media.
Let’s look at NYX – the medium-priced cosmetics brand. User-generated content has proven to be its key to success and now grown a gigantic fan base. Based on their research, shoppers who interact with UGC have a shopping chance of 320% higher than those who do not.
Social proofs, if done right, can work wonder to your Conversion Rate! Let’s see HOW you can do it!
I. Why social proof can benefit your website
- They build trust and credibility with your products.
- They add a personal touch to the business, making it easier for shoppers to relate to what you provide, and showing that you care about your customers’ opinion.
- They help shoppers picture themselves enjoying the benefits of your products, and we as humans are prone to anything similar to us.
- And last but not least, they are not perfect, but unexpectedly diverse. Though we tend to assume that the most believable testimonials come from polished experts or professionals, in fact, a little bit of imperfection can create a lot of trust.
II. Types of eCommerce social proofs
2.1. Customer quotes
These quotes are documented cases of customer feedback that you are allowed to share. They can come from surveys, help center feedback or feedback gathered from customers directly. It is important that you get permission where necessary.
2.2. Written review
Yoni Elbaz, CEO at Loox has confirmed that “Analyzing over 100,000 product pages from over 13,000 Shopify stores, we’ve discovered that once you’ve reached 10 reviews per product, the conversion increase stabilizes at a little over 30%.” So evidently reviews are important and you will want as many of them as possible.
When the number of reviews is less than 20, you can handle them pretty easily – the layout, the image, the styling, etc… But that number will jump – and it’d better jump fast – for your business’s good. Then, you would need an app to help you take care of the laborious work. A review app can automatically update reviews to your page.
There are many apps on Shopify app store can do this, but we recommend Loox – Photo review app. Our team believes in sustainable and customer-centric growth so we are thrilled to establish a partnership with the leading photo review app for Shopify that is loved by over 15,000 merchants worldwide.
2.3. Video review
Video is getting extremely popular across all kinds of content, even testimonials, because it can be quickly promoted on social platforms (especially Instagram or Facebook). ThinkWithGoogle explained that almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. Furthermore, 80% of consumers believe demonstration videos are helpful when making purchases. If that is not critical enough to convince you to pay attention to video reviews then what else is?
Though simple as they are, video reviews can create a great impact if handled carefully. You would want it to be as authentic as possible, so don’t give your customers scripts, give them suggestions or keywords only, and let them record in their own style.
When you collect video testimonials from loyal customers, consider suggesting them to record video testimonials with their phones in their most comfortable settings (office, home, etc.). These characteristics speak volume about how personal each testimonial is, which increases trustworthiness.
The most accessible video review “diamond mine” currently in the industry is Instagram, with its highly visual nature and simplicity which works great on mobile, and its hashtag search system plus open grid-view which encourage users to discover and showcase their content in nearly every aspects of the platform. Take a brief examination with BOOM by Cindy Joseph, an inspiring makeup brand for middle-age to elder women. Their customer base is small but loyal, and they are not hesitate to express what they think of the product through Instagram, either static or motion:
You can share customer feedback via a feed from your blog comments or from your latest tweets. Also, you can dedicate separate blog posts for special case studies.
2.5. Testimonials on third-party sites
Usually, each market niche has its dominant review sites, so ask your customers to review on third party sites. For local businesses who are looking to boost customer traffic within their community, Yelp and Google are essential resources to mine reviews. Either claim your store listing on Yelp or Google Business, and you’re up for a head start. And while Yelp is well-established as the go-to review sites for local businesses, it’s actually Google that is reigning with their visibility and level of impact.
Local SEO Guide’s research in 2017 showed that among the top 10 local ranking factors , 9 of them involved Google reviews. This means that the more feedback your business receives through Google, the more likely it will rise through the ranks.
Bight Local’s research on 50.000 US-based businesses during 2012-2017 also showed that Google was the review platform that has consistently gained the highest number of new reviews, followed by Facebook and then Yelp. Google reviews help you gain customer trust and credibility since it’s where your potential customers see your business for the first time. Meanwhile, it also helps you rank higher in search result pages, which combined with good reviews lead to click-throughs, conversions, and finally sales. Talk about a jack of all trades!
But this doesn’t mean that you should only stick to Google reviews, as to this day not everyday has Google accounts. Furthermore, other third-party reviews will show up in Google search results when someone searches your brand name – one more chance for users to see how good you are at what you do.
If you business expands to the following sites, then Amazon Customer Reviews, Facebook Reviews Ratings, Twitter, TrustPilot among many others are good places to start. Evidently many people will look up products on Amazon before they make their purchase, event if it’s not on Amazon and on other channels; that is because Amazon has a long history of offering real-life stories, authentic product use cases reported by actual consumers of items. The rule with Amazon Customer Reviews is also simple, a five-star rating scale that for every product that appears on Amazon.
Interestingly, Facebook Reviews Ratings recently offer a new way for customers to validate your business: Through recommendations. A simple “Do you recommend [this business]” question abandons the usual rating system for a binary yes/no answer, which will increase response rate – for you. Always remember that people love social validation.
2.6. Big clients logos
These logos are simplified testimonials, showing big name clients that you might have. Even when they’re just used on the homepage, ‘used by’ logos have the power to increase conversion rates by 400%. Customers might think ‘If it’s good enough for them, it must be good enough for me.’
GetResponse firmly claims “Companies that trust GR” with logos of giants from different sectors.
III. How to optimize social proof content
3.1. Add a face to it
According to Econsultancy, you should give the testimonial a face to boost your conversion rate, which can result in 39% increase in purchase success. It means to include specific information, especially product-related profiles of the customer in the review. Their team has seen this improvement just by changing from version A to version B below.
3.2. Set criteria for social proof quality
You should consider what a good testimonial looks like for your business. An ideal one usually has a format like this:
- An actual description of product usage. You want the customer to praise your product/service, not shipping or response time.
- Comparing the product to competing brands. When there are so many offers on the table, the best thing is to give people the right solution after their long search and see them write about it.
- Discussing a specific purpose and product feature. No matter how simple your product is, you can hardly count all the possibilities and situations that customers use it in. The more diverse the applications, the more attention the product will receive.
Remember that the rating itself doesn’t affect sales – only the content of the review matters. You can try to sort the reviews by most helpful. Loox gets this job done excellently.
3.3. Hashtag them
Tagging products – or hashtagging on social media – is critical when you release your products, as it makes it easier to search for them on the seemingly limitless market. Once you click on a hashtag, you’ll see a feed of display of other posts that have also used that hashtag. Using this tactics, you can single out your business from other competitors by a unique word combination that represents your product.
Reaching the end of the sales funnel doesn’t mean hashtags finish their mission – instead, they acquire an important task ahead which is to “help” customers do your marketing for you. This is a well-known tactic that can save you time, money and resources. Why start a witch-hunt through every corner of the internet for a handful of product reviews while you can just do it in one quick type and click?
By the time you finish reading this sentence, #loreal has already reached 4.9 million posts on Instagram. Some are from the official @loreal handle or brand ambassadors, but all top posts come from individuals: satisfied with their shampoo purchase, attending a workshop, and constructing their own flatlay.
Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign harness the same power of hashtags. When customers purchased and enjoyed Coca-Cola products, they shared photos of themselves on social media with the #ShareACoke hashtag to be seen by a wide audience. The company confirmed that a 2 percent increase in U.S. sales was contributed by this scheme.
Brilliant cases, right? So what you should do is to use your accounts on popular social media and publicise your hashtag on your store. Again, make them distinctive, memorable, and instantly recognisable, because your customers will be using them.
IV.Where to place social proof content
4.1. Sales and landing pages
People have their fences up high when they’re in a sales or landing page – that’s how we learn to immune ourselves from this world of advertising. So adding testimonials can help increase conversions, but you need to be selective here. 90% of those surveyed claim that they don’t trust testimonials when they are paired with marketing messages because they come off as staged. You can try video-based testimonials, which are more authentic and credible than text type. Booster Theme featured some of their big clients in the video review series, which also enabled them to use the golden tagline:
The homepage should be the first place you think of to place the best testimonials. It strengthens trust and credibility – which is the aim of all businesses. Don’t sound too “selling”. Stay away from the bias. That’s a smart way to build trust with the visitors right away. Furthermore, make sure that these testimonials support your message and brand promises. Once done correctly, they can validate and greatly support your value proposition, persuading visitors and win their heart.
4.3. A dedicated testimonial landing page
This is a traditional approach that you can find on many websites. If you do a great job of promoting and communicating your testimonial page, making it appealing, it can return great values for your business. When people go to a testimonial landing page, they can be hypercritical of the question “Will this product/service solve my problem?” or “How can this product/service make my life better?”.
Be strategic about how you place the content. Give it some serious thought with these questions:
- Can you categorize the testimonials into topics? (time, helpfulness, etc.)
- Would adding titles help viewers process the content?
- Will including one’s profile information increase the credibility of the testimonial?
Once you focus on creating a helpful page, rather than a purely promotional page to make your business look good, you will add more value to a prestigious page.
4.4. Email campaigns
If your prospects are following along in an email campaign, you can add a few powerful testimonials to boost conversions. It’s important to time when to add the testimonial. If it’s brand-supportive, you can consider using it early in the sequence. But if it’s more product-focused, you should wait until you’ve finished pitching the cool features to your customers. Then, you can use testimonials to boost trustworthiness and surpass any lingering buying resistance.
Also, you can consider adding testimonials to your follow-up emails after receiving questions or objections about the product/service. Below is an example from wirebuzz:
Here, there, everywhere…?
Now, you may be wondering “What about product page and cart page?”. They are good places to go too – just remember to place the right one in the right place, at the right time. If the customer is hesitant on the cart page, what can it be about? Maybe your support service? Shipping fee? Or the refund policy is not clear? So the testimonial and social proof should resolve these thoughts.
The truth is, you won’t know what area is most effective until you collect data, so use tools to track how one method is doing compared to another. For example, placing a testimonial real close to a CTA button on your product page might pay back excellent, or it could end up working much better on your homepage – you’ll never know unless you test it out.
Testimonial and Social Proof are one of the most cost-friendly but efficient ways to promote your business, brand and build trust. Ensure that you have a means of compiling and taking inventory of your testimonials. Experiment with different types of social proof and testimonial content: video, case studies, twitter feeds, etc.
Though trust is hard to gain, it is worth fighting for.