Social proof is a critical component of a website.
It creates essential trust with your prospects. It backs up the claims you’re making on your site. There are lots of ways you can show social proof, some are harder to gather, and some are more effective. But what are the best uses of social proof that can step change your website's conversion rate, and where should you be using it?
In this episode of Websites Decoded, Phil breaks down the most effective ways you can use social proof to increase website conversions.
What is social proof on websites?
Social proof is anything that shows your website visitor that your product, service or solution is being used and enjoyed by other real companies or people.
And that's a very powerful thing to have on your website, because it will increase the amount of if done well, if done properly, it will increase the amount of trust that visitors have in the claims that you're making elsewhere on the site.
If it's backed up to some degree by real businesses, real customers like them enjoying the results that you promise to give, or having some sort of success with your offering.
So social proof is a really important part of a B2B website which if you can get it and you can get it in front of your visitor, it's worthwhile doing for a lot of reasons.
Types of social proof
There's a wide range of social proof types that you can use to build trust and credibility with your visitor and to some degree it will be determined by what you can gather.
But it ranges from third party aggregated reviews. Those systems and platforms exist to collect from large customer bases, ratings and reviews. And those can be very effective on a website where appropriate.
You could simply use the logos of the companies that are using your offering, product, service or solution.
The issue with logos on their own is that they can be, visitors can view logos with a little bit of scepticism because let's face it, anybody can get a logo and slap it on their website.
It isn't, in truth, a definitive indicator that said company is working with the provider. So it's always really good to help the visitor believe those logos.
One of the best ways to do that is with a simple copy line which explains not just who is using your product, but how they're using it and what benefit they're getting from it. Because that increases the likelihood that it's a serious user use case that's happening there.
If you can, you should go beyond logos and go to testimonials from individuals at the companies using your product.
That's a great step up.
And one step further, again, is to gather full robust case studies about the challenges those businesses face, the reasons they chose your solution and the benefits they're seeing as a result.
And case studies like that are, I suppose, the ultimate form of social proof that you can have on your website.
Accreditations and awards
Another form of social proof could come in the form of positive sentiment and or accreditation from third parties.
So you might have awards you've won, or certificates you've achieved, badges you've received, or simply statements from partners, suppliers, vendors, people in the industry and those can have a positive impact and are worth showcasing.
But I think if we're being honest, they're unlikely to have the same amount of impact in building trust that customers see benefits when they work with you as those customer or user-led social proof points.
There are a couple of things where it makes clear common sense to show proudly that you've got a certain certificate.
For example, ISO 27001, it's not easy to get, it's vitally important and it's worth showcasing and it should impact trust.
But your partners, your vendors, your industry at large, it's going to be your customers that give you the highest impact social proof.
Where to put social proof
You can use social proof in a lot of places to good effect on your website. It's normally wise to think about what social proof you can include on your homepage since so many of your visitors will see that page.
So it's very common to see customer logos occasionally testimonials and or links and excerpts from full case studies on a company's homepage.
That's a very good starting point, but also look for other opportunities to position social proof in context alongside other content. So I think if you can cherry pick pieces of social proof to support specific products and or features, then it's really good idea to include them on those pages.
And it's also been shown that social proof on those high-intent conversion pages where buyers express their interest and convert at the bottom of the funnel, social proof in those locations can really increase the completion rate of those very important pages and forms on your website.