Let me just put this out there.
Social proof works.
Because people want to know what other people think. It’s pretty much built into our psychology as humans.
And, do you want to know what we love the most about social proof?
It helps drive conversions, promotes trust, and establishes your brand.
In this guide, I want to break down the how to use social proof, and how you can use it to build brand recognition and get conversions.
- Why Are Trust Signals and Social Proof So Important?
- Using Case Studies
- Trust by Association
- Keep an Active Social Media Presence
- Seller Reviews and Ratings
- Use an SSL Certificate and HTTPS
- Go Easy with the Trust Signals
- Provide Your Contact Information
- Key Takeaways
Why Are Trust Signals and Social Proof So Important?
You can’t really tell people to trust you.
It’s one of those intrinsic values that you really have to show people.
No matter how good your copy is, if they can’t find any corresponding or corroborating information about you, getting that trust is going to be difficult.
This is where trust signals and social proof come in handy.
These tools subtly tell people on your website that you have transacted with other clients in the past, and that you have delivered properly.
Trust is the foundation of a conversion, but it’s also one of the hardest feelings to generate, especially online.
By using proper strategies, you can help ease a potential prospect through your funnel and maybe get them to convert at the end.
Using Case Studies
One of the biggest ways to promote social proof is through the use of case studies.
This is why we have a whole chunk of our navigation dedicated to their use.
Case studies help show potential prospects exactly what you did to help another client achieve success. Instead of having them go through a bunch of material on how you can help them or having them try your product, they can see how someone else tried it and achieved results.
You see, most customers have an aversion to trying something new, but by showing them an example of someone who’s tried it before, they become more receptive to trying out your solution.
Here’s the other thing.
Case studies also indicate experience. If an organization is confident enough to publish the results of their work, then they’re people that you can trust.
Being scientific in nature, case studies also appeal to more logical decision makers who need a proof of concept before pulling the trigger on anything.
Here’s how you create great case studies:
- Choose three to five clients that you’ve worked with in the past in different popular industries. You want to pick industries that represent your target customer profiles, this way you can appeal to all your potential customers.
- Start getting the before-and-after data ready. If you’ve got records of the status of the status of their business before you started work with them, then that’s even better. You want to provide a detailed account of how you helped them get to their success.
- Start getting scientific. We’re not talking about showing the changes in revenue, we’re talking about real, measurable results. If you’re in digital marketing this could be improvements in bounce rates, rankings, efficiencies, CTRs, etc.
- Make sure you put in a message from the organization’s management as well to validate the claims that you’re making.
- Include it prominently on your website.
Trust by Association
Sometimes you don’t have to say much to build trust with your prospects and all you need to do is to “associate” your organization with already established brands.
These signals can come in the form of the logos of your clients or places where you’ve been featured.
Here’s why it works.
People patronize and look up to certain brands, they know that if they associate themselves with your brand, they also associate themselves with the brands that you work with.
It’s the “if it’s good for them, it’s good enough for me” mentality, and that’s a great thing for people building rapport with your prospects.
This a common feature even with big businesses because people are inherently curious as to who your clients are. The bigger or more successful your clients are, the more they are likely to work with you because they also want the services you give to your whales.
Client logos also work both ways because you can also show your bigger clients that you are proud to work with them, and this can improve your client relations.
Make sure you feature your larger clients. You don’t have to feature every single one that you have, that would take up too much space.
Getting featured in any major publication – whether print or digital – is a big deal.
Major publications are usually trusted sources of information, and if one of them picks up a biography of yours or a story of your brand, it is a critical indicator that even journalists are recognizing your efforts.
People still trust the press, and people also know that it can be difficult to be recognized.
And, you need that vote of confidence from journalism industry if you want to make a big splash.
If you don’t have major publications covering what you do or doing bios of your organization, then it’s probably time that you do some outreach.
“We’ve got an outreach guide coming up soon, so stay tuned for that.
Keep an Active Social Media Presence
The problem with websites is that they don’t usually show you how updated they are unless they keep a blog or if they rotate their products.
This is why keeping an active social media presence is important for any brand.
An active social presence is an indicator that you are still around to transact with your customers and that you won’t leave them hanging should something untoward happens with their transaction.
It’s a medium of communication and can be considered a touchpoint.
Also, having a presence on either Facebook or LinkedIn can also help with lead nurturing allowing you to guide your leads further down the funnel.
If you have B2B or industry influencers that you know, this can further help you create more trust for your organization.
Think of industry leader endorsements in the same B2C influencers work, they allow a product to carry the trust that people have for a particular endorser.
We like it because it does three things.
It builds trust, it allows you to use a B2B influencer to sell your product, and it also gives you access to that influencer’s audience.
Seller Reviews and Ratings
Of course, no list would be complete without seller reviews and ratings. They’re the ultimate form of social proof that almost every organizations uses.
Reviews tell your website visitors exactly how their experience with you was and it’s the ultimate form of social proof.
Make sure you also include the identity of the reviewer if you want to incorporate reviews in. Remember, not only do your prospects want to know about the company, but they’re also interested in knowing who said what.
It might be tempting for people who are just starting out to buy reviews, but don’t do it.
Not only can prospects read through them, but having too many “great” reviews is often considered a red flag by almost everyone.
Seller ratings are often based on the five-star system and if your review system includes ratings, you want that feature on.
Ratings are especially helpful for products on ecommerce sites, and this is why everyone from Amazon to Product Hunt features them.
If you want to grab a couple of your seller ratings and stick them in your profile, don’t just focus on the five-star ones. Remember, not everyone is going to be impressed with what you have to offer.
Use an SSL Certificate and HTTPS
A secured site is vital.
It’s a good trust signal to have on your website because it tells visitors that you care about their safety on the internet.
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, it ensures that whenever sensitive information is shared by two parties – you and your customer – the communication is secure and a third party can’t access it in transit.
You’ll know that your connection is secure if there’s a padlock next to the website URL on your web browser.
Say a prospect wants to buy a good or service on your website. Having a that little padlock icon gives them the peace of mind to know that they can transact on your site without having someone jeopardize the information.
You don’t even have to sell anything to have HTTPS and SSL on your site. Just having it there is enough to tell your prospects that:
- You care about their safety
- You take care of the little details
Plus, it’s affordable.
There are some providers that give them out for less than $25 a year.
And, here’s the final kicker.
Secure websites are actually considered to be a ranking factor on Google. This means by simply securing your website, you get incentivized with better visibility on SERPs.
Go Easy with the Trust Signals
We know trust signals work, but they’re not a replacement to a good offer, great copy, and excellent branding.
Think of trust signals as supporting elements that help you sell and not a crutch to rely on.
There are times where it’s easy to go overboard with your trust signals.
You don’t want your entire homepage dedicated to customer reviews or the logo of every single company that you’ve worked with (or for.)
Having too many trust signals at once not only looks shady, but it could come off as pretentious, boastful, and annoying.
Provide Your Contact Information
This is no-brainer for a lot of growth hackers who want to be bring in a lot of conversions, but somehow some digital businesses often forget that it’s always nice to have an address or multiple contact information.
Put in your office number, and while you’re at it, add another one.
Make sure you have a method of communication that’s open for a majority of the day – 24/7 if possible – even if it’s only through a chat helpdesk.
Adding an address gives potential customers the peace of mind knowing that they can always come over and talk to a real person should there be any problems.
Oh and don’t forget, make sure they can reach you on LinkedIn, too.
The biggest problem when you’re first starting out is convincing people that they can part with their money in exchange for what you have to offer.
This is where trust signals come in handy.
They show potential customers that you already have experience and that this isn’t your first ballgame.
You need that to be able to drive continuous sales.
But, it doesn’t end there.
Trust signals are also a way to showcase your company and your clients. Trust by association logos are a great section to have in your website because they’re a mini portfolio of what you can do.