What's in this article
It’s Friday night, you’re in a new city and you could do with a pint. You don’t know the area, so you walk down a busy street filled with bars and peep through the windows until you find one you like.
What's in this article
You look at the price, the style, the music and the atmosphere. But there’s something else. You check to see if it’s busy.
Why? Because we’re all influenced by a psychological phenomenon known as social proof. And this very human trait drives people to buy (or not) from businesses as diverse as bars, restaurants and your online store.
Social proof explains why a few good reviews dramatically improve your product sales and why eCommerce sites struggle without them.
But hey, you knew that already! You’re here to learn something new. So, in this post, we’re going to look beyond reviews to four other ways you can use social proof to boost sales on your eCommerce website.
Press mentions are everywhere in 2021… except small business websites.
While brands used to squirrel them away in dedicated ‘Press’ or ‘Media’ pages, they now place big-name mentions at the top of their ‘home’ page.
This powerful form of social proof highlights the biggest names that have mentioned your store in the press or on their own website.
Relevant logos are showcased below subtitles like ‘Featured in’,‘Loved by’, or ‘Trusted by’.
Press mentions can be a more powerful form of social proof than consumer reviews but probably not for the reason you think.
Recent studies suggest that as many as 46% of reviews in certain eCommerce product categories are fake, and consumers are wising up to this reality. Which means your potential customers are more wary and less trusting of your site.
What does this have to do with press mentions?
Well… it’s pretty hard to fake a mention from a big industry player. One authoritative press mention can build as much trust in your brand as tens of consumer reviews. Plus, they can make those seem more credible too.
You can build brand mentions in one of two ways:
Let’s be honest, influencers are the Marmite of the marketing world. But as much as some of us despise the idea of giving our gear away to people whose job it is to be popular online, the right influencer is a valuable brand asset.
The important thing to remember here is that the brand-influencer relationship is much like any other. If your brand was a person (*digs out brand personality notes*), who would they go for a pub lunch with? Hold that thought… would they go to a pub at all, or are they more of an up-market wine bar sort of gal.
The fact is, people across generations trust the opinions of influencers. And they trust them more than your advertising and expensive celebrity endorsements.
One well-matched influencer is worth tens of consumer reviews. Especially if your eCommerce store targets consumers aged 40 and below.
Credit: Foraged By Fern
For example, Aelder Elixir (a maker of wildcrafted liqueurs) and Foraged By Fern (a foraging influencer) are the perfect influencer-brand match because they share a passion for wild ingredients.
There is considerable debate around the best way for brands to match up with influencers. Some use match-making agencies (yep, they’re a real thing) and others contact influencers themselves after cultivating a genuine relationship with them online.
We suggest picking the tactic you’re most comfortable with.
We’re talking ‘ethical eCommerce brand of the year’, ‘Certified B Corporation’, ‘INSPIRE business award winner’ and so on.
Most eCommerce brands display certifications and awards at the bottom of their site, alongside any funding awards, partners or sponsors.
The most effective certifications and awards for social proof are those that mean the most to your audience. For example, Toms shoes have built their brand around ethical and sustainable business practices. So, their B-corp certification is highly relevant to their audience, most of whom will have heard of this initiative.
In the UK, ethical consumers might look for the ‘living wage employer’ award or a ‘Fairtrade’, ‘Rainforest Alliance’ or similar certification.
The bigger and better known the awarding body, the greater weight it lends to your website’s social proof.
Each award or certification scheme has its own criteria. Start by identifying important awards and certs in your industry. You can do this by checking the websites of regulating bodies and top brands in your space.
From there, it can take anything from a few weeks to a few years to get an award or cert, so this is a strategy for the long-term.
Social proof notifications are website pop-ups that give people information about what other customers are up to.
eCommerce websites most commonly use social proof notifications that highlight stages in the purchase journey. For example, ‘28 people have this T-shirt in their basket’ or ‘Joanna from Rotherham just bought the Tree Tales print’.
You don’t need to cultivate relationships, do outreach or jump through a year’s worth of applications and hoops to get social proof tools. Which makes them the quickest and easiest way to add more social proof to your eCommerce website.
Most good website builders allow you to use third party plugins and most social proof tools are just that. Simply choose the right tool for your website and add the plugin via your builder or CMS.
You might need to play around with the settings (e.g. timing and type of pop-ups) to figure out what works best for your brand. So expect a little trial and error.
Now, you better put ‘much larger wallet’ on your Christmas list for 2021 because, with these four powerful forms of social proof, you’ll be raking in the big bucks in no time.
Author bio: “Jodie is a Conversion Copywriter and Content Strategist working with bold B2B SaaS and tech brands. Before founding This Copy Sticks, she spent a decade selling the toughest value proposition around and raised £2 million for charities before her 25th birthday. After 10 years in fundraising, Jodie now helps tech-mad trailblazers grow their businesses
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