A term coined by Robert Cialdini, social proof is a circumstance where people reference the actions of others in an attempt to adapt to their own given situations. In certain conditions where we aren’t sure about what to do, we would assume that the people around us would have a better sense of what to do next.

Due to the increase in digitalization and internet usage around the world, the importance of showcasing social proof has never been this relevant. Through social proof, any online business can allow its customers to speak about their brand or product to a wider audience. 

To understand social proof for businesses, let’s assume that you have two footwear stores in front of you, where one is packed with customers, and the other one is vacant. Which one would you choose? The packed one, probably? Because the store was already filled with customers? That’s social proof for you.

For marketing, social proof is one of the most important aspects that drives the purchase decision of customers. It revolves around the idea of a website seeking validation on the internet through the action of users. 

Online shoppers feel more accustomed to websites that give them a sense of trust through things like customer reviews, shareable links, etc. This type of content on your website can lead to an increase in conversion rates and sales.

To show social proof, e-commerce sites might display the number of purchases or customer reviews, while a B2B business might display a list of enterprise customers or testimonials. In this article, we will be looking at the types of social proof, its relevance, and how you can implement it to increase conversions on your e-commerce website.

Types of social proof

Since e-commerce sites cannot physically present products and attract customers at present, they can adopt various strategies to thrive and breathe new life into existing content.

Any online platform with an online presence can generate social proof, and if your business has both, a site and an array of social media networks, the opportunity of attracting more customers increases too. 

Customer reviews

Reviews are amongst the crucial factors that impact the buying behavior of customers in e-commerce. In fact, according to a report in 2019, 91% of consumers trusted the reviews that were posted online and went on to buy their desired products. 

Having a reviews section on your e-commerce website helps you convert visitors to customers, allows you to incorporate it in other marketing channels to boost sales, and most importantly, it fortifies your brand around your competitors as well. 

Audience and engagement

The growing popularity of a brand attracts potential customers and makes people talk more about it. Things like the number of views, comments, likes, shares, and the number of followers or subscribers on your social media channels and website determines where it stands online and how popular your brand is. 

User-generated content (UGC) 

UGC refers to the content that is shared by your customers online. This includes users putting out detailed posts on the internet regarding your brand or product and showing the products in action with real-time images/videos. 

In a world where there is an abundance of content and reviews available online, UGC gives your customers an idea about what and who to trust while making a purchase decision and acts as a powerful tool to show social proof.

Evidence of demand 

This type of social proof talks about the sales volume of your business. If the sales volume of your products is steady and growing, it increases the demand for your products, which helps in generating more sales.

With the help of certain online tools, you can access the number of people who visit your e-commerce website, the number of products sold, etc that allow you to convince viewers about your brand or product. 

Celebrity and influencer endorsements

As we all know, customers trust the opinions and views of the people they follow and admire, when compared to the views of the brand itself. So, the addition of recommendations and reviews of influencers, reputed bloggers, etc who have a huge following base makes it easier for your business to show proof.

Importance of having social proof 

Social proof is one of the most important factors in marketing that allows you to promote your brand and improves the probability of attracting more customers. Let’s have a look at its impact on your business.  

  • If you show enough presence on your site or social media channels, it shows that you have enough incoming traffic and authentic products to sell, which attracts your current, as well as the potential customers to your landing page
  • Another significant factor of showing proof is the ability to communicate a sense of trust to your viewer. By showing some user reviews, testimonials, recommendations and any kind of approval from industry experts to your potential customers increase the authenticity of your business
  • The capacity to show any social proof to your viewers creates a sense of authority over your competition. If a reputed endorser is actively promoting your brand or product, his/her word will have relied upon more when compared to the reviews and promotions done by the typical buyers on your website
  • Since there are growing competition and a rise in internet scams and false advertising, shoppers trust the reviews, testimonials, and similar social proof posted about your brand or product over a random website
  • As the number of viewers rises, the chances of converting these viewers to potential customers rise too. The “buzz” around your brand or product helps in identifying whether it is worth the audience’s money, time, and curiosity
  • Take your time in understanding about what type of content you want to post and plan your content strategy accordingly
    • Have an original domain name that aligns with your business operations 
    • Make it easy for your viewers to search and land on your site by using various search functions available online
    • Provide contact information on your website so that customers can connect with you without any hassle
    • As mentioned above, keep your content precise and to the point so that it grabs the attention of your audience
    • Use a presentable tone that keeps the viewer intrigued about your content
    • Update and re-evaluate the content on your site regularly to understand what can be done better
    • Even if your business isn’t that established online, all you need to do is create a certain “buzz” around your product or brand, that will catch the eye of people scrolling through social media and on the internet.

Leveraging marketing channels for social proof

Social media networks, your website, and blog posts related to your brand or product are the primary sources where you can show social proof to your viewers. The type of content you post on these platforms determines how you rank among your competition. 

So let’s have a look at how you can leverage social proof on these platforms.

On social media

Since social media involves a lot of interaction between two or more individuals, it acts like an engagement tool where you can increase the scope of your brand or product through the number of viewers, engagement, and clicks you get.

How to show proof on social media:

  • Add and post relevant content on your social media channels
  • Update the content regularly to keep your viewers informed about anything new 
  • Since the attention span of people isn’t that long online, keep your content short and simple that catches the eye of your viewers
  • Add a call to action (CTA) prompt like comment, share, showcase other links, etc to get their action after going through your post
  • Post content that has videos and images attached to it so that it keeps your viewers engaged and interested 
  • Set yourself apart from your competitors by having your style of writing content and voicing it out to your customers

Given that social media is generally used as the primary source for information regarding anything new or trendy, having adequate proof on this platform may motivate your viewers to check-out your official website as well. 

On your website

The prominent way of leveraging proof on your site is through customer reviews and UGC. Getting hands-on information regarding your brand or product through images, videos, product pages, payment options, etc plays a huge role in the purchase decisions of customers.

How to show proof on your website:

    • Take your time in understanding about what type of content you want to post and plan your content strategy accordingly
    • Have an original domain name that aligns with your business operations 
    • Make it easy for your viewers to search and land on your site by using various search functions available online
    • Provide contact information on your website so that customers can connect with you without any hassle
    • As mentioned above, keep your content precise and to the point so that it grabs the attention of your audience
    • Use a presentable tone that keeps the viewer intrigued about your content
    • Update and re-evaluate the content on your site regularly to understand what can be done better

Furthermore, this form of content where you tag, repost, and interact with the person that has originally posted about your brand or product online convinces, motivates, and satisfies the customer to explore your brand further. 

Through blogs

Blogs written by industry experts and other third party entities regarding your brand helps in increasing engagement, the number of views, and also helps you rank better on the internet. 

If at all you have a blog section within your website, having an interactive tool like a CTA button allows the viewers of your blog to like, comment, share, and ask any questions as well. 

How to show proof on your blogs:

  • Create a page that is dedicated to your user testimonials where you can share their thoughts on the landing page and get to know about any corrections to be made accordingly with the help of various plugins available online
  • Display content like ratings, engagement numbers, similar blogs, etc that impresses your viewer on the landing page of your blog. The idea is to keep them attentive and motivated to check out your whole blog and page
  • Show the popularity of your blogs by viewing the number of likes, comments, views, shares, etc you get on them
  • Show some relevant information like associated brands, company badges, media logos, etc on your footer in case your viewer scrolls down. Since the footer is not that appealing to people, having some information down there might interest the viewer to see more 

This helps you get a better understanding of what can be improved on your site too, and it also gives a sense of assurance to your new and existing viewers that you actively interact with your existing audience and make them feel valued.

Conclusion

To conclude, social proof is a form of advertising where you witness your customers promoting your brand or product voluntarily, because of their sheer likeness towards it. It involves the sale of your products through authenticity, reputation, and reliance.

Since big e-commerce businesses have dedicated strategies that leverage social proof, you too should find out a blueprint to do the needful. In addition to this, the use of the right shipping strategy, along with a software that cuts down your return to origin costs will surely help scale your e-commerce business to a new level.

We at Razorpay Thirdwatch, can help you with the smooth handling of your delivery needs by flagging high-risk orders, detecting cash of delivery (CoD) fraud, sending pre-pay CoD payment links to convert your risky CoD orders and so much more!

Get started with Razorpay Thirdwatch and scale your business like never before!

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