Social proof messages have shown incredible results when it comes to brand building and boosting sales for e-commerce sites. Why does social proof work so well? We break down the psychological process behind its success, so you know exactly how to implement social proof on your site to its greatest effect.
First, let’s look at the needs of our consumers:
- The desire for reliable information – Consumers seek information about product credibility, quality, and its unique strengths over competitor brands to make purchasing decisions.
- The desire to build an identity – Consumers buy into a brand because the products they carry form their personal identity. Convince consumers that your brand is what they want to associate their identity with.
- The desire to fit in and be accepted – Consumers conform with their peers and community, choosing brands that are socially approved.
These three main needs exist in all consumers, although to varying degrees. Understanding your consumer’s immediate needs, and matching it to your product will determine the ideal social proof messages for your business.
Social Proof for Information
When? For products and services that are novel or with novel features; unfamiliar and young brands; electronic and functional products.
What to use?
#1. Expert Social Proof
Top Strategies: Display certifications, badges, and trust seals near your products.
#2: Peer Social Proof
Top strategies: Reviews and ratings, testimonials
Taken from: Amazon.com
Bonus: Use Anecdotes
Go beyond generic reviews, and feature customer recounts. Think a heartwarming story about your product as a gift for their loved ones. Think a successful proposal with your product as the centre. Online browsing can be impersonal at times. Evoking emotions with personal stories both gains the trust and the attention of your online customer, encouraging them to buy into your brand’s legitimacy.
Social Proof for Identity
When? Best for for brand-building, in industries with strong competitor branding, especially for fashion e-commerce
What to use?
#1: Peer Social Proof
Top Strategy: social connections
#2: Celebrity social proof
Top Strategy: Celebrity social shares
Bonus: Use with Personal Significance for Customer
Customers seek your brand because they relate to its story and image. Enhance this effect by personally addressing your consumer with messages. Use buzzwords like “You”, “We”, “Your”, and remind them of the image they would embody when subscribing to your brand. This tactic not only attracts buyers, but creates brand loyalty.
Social Proof for Conformity
When? For products and services with strong competitor brands, brands with big consumer base, good for fashion industries
What to use?
#1: Social Proof of Numbers
Top Strategy: Social Shares & Counts
#2: Peer social proof
Top Strategy: Social Shares
Bonus: Use with Status Quo Bias
Customers who seek social acceptance and conformity tend to avoid risk-taking and socially deviant behavior. Reassure them that their purchase is the norm. A nifty trick would be to make their purchase seem like an action to keep the status quo. Instead of “Brighten up your skin”, try “Keep your skin bright and clear” instead.
Remember – these tactics work for specific consumers. Using them generically for your customer base will be a blunt tool. Target these strategies accurately to the intended consumer type, for maximum effect.