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What Is Social Proof in Marketing? (+ How to Use It)

What Is Social Proof in Marketing? (+ How to Use It)

Written By: author image Stacey Corrin
author image Stacey Corrin
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the co-founder of RafflePress. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Do you want to learn the answer to “what is social proof in marketing”?

Social proof marketing can help you grow your business, and adding it to your website is an excellent way to increase conversions. It’s why big brands like Amazon, WordPress, and almost every other successful company use some form of social proof.

But what exactly is social proof, and how can it improve your digital marketing efforts? In this article, we’ll explain it all, so let’s dive in.

Click any of the links below to jump to the section you need:

What Is Social Proof?

Social proof is a psychological tactic where people take action based on the actions of others because they believe it’s the right thing to do. You can use social proof as a marketing strategy to reassure worried shoppers and encourage them to make purchase decisions.

If you’ve looked at customer reviews before buying a product, you’re already familiar with how social proof works. Often, the wisdom of the crowd will ease your fears and build trust enough to take the plunge and check out.

what is social proof in marketing? Product reviews as social proof

Research shows that 93% of online shoppers look at product reviews before making a purchase. More importantly, potential customers trust online reviews more than product descriptions and other sales messaging.

In other words, new customers want proof from satisfied customers and unbiased peers, not the companies selling the products or services.

What Are the Different Types of Social Proof?

There are 6 different types of social proof you can use in your marketing campaigns. The best approach is to start with the sources you already have, then work to get more.

The different types of social proof are as follows:

  1. Expert Social Proof: positive comments and testimony from industry experts relevant to your brand.
  2. Customers: customer testimonials and positive reviews from happy customers who use and like your products.
  3. Friends: people who are friends of your target audience, for example, “50 of your friends like RafflePress”.
  4. Celebrity Social Proof: endorsements from celebrities and influencers who have used your products or services.
  5. Certifications: credible awards and certifications from 3rd party entities showing you’re a trustworthy brand.
  6. Crowds: large numbers of people and statistics demonstrating social proof, such as “Join 1,000,000+ professionals who use SeedProd.”

Now that you know the types of social proof let’s look at some examples.

What Is An Example of Social Proof?

Below you’ll see some examples of social proof based on the different types mentioned above. 

Expert Social Proof Example

Expert social proof example

The medical expert’s page on the Hims website is a fantastic example of expert social proof. It harnesses a team of medical professionals and experts to back its products with real pictures of their MDs.

Customer Social Proof Example

Customer social proof example

Over at Smash Balloon, they use a scrolling carousel to display customer testimonials. What’s even more impressive is they use their own product to pull testimonials from Twitter to display user reviews on their website.

“Wisdom of Your Friends” Example

Wisdom of your friends social proof example

Skimm managed to boost its subscribers to 1.5 million in just 3 years with the power of social proof. They encouraged their audience to share their content on social networks for friends and acquaintances to see.

Celebrity Social Proof Example

Celebrity social proof example

This Instagram post from Neil Gaiman is a glowing celebrity endorsement of a talented artist’s online shop. With over 800,000 followers on Instagram, it gives the artist tons of exposure with all the benefits of a celebrity’s trust. This is influencer marketing at its finest.

Certifications Social Proof Example

Certification social proof example

MonsterInsights does an excellent job of highlighting its credentials with these 3 trust badges on its homepage. These badges show how many ratings it has on WordPress, that it offers a money-back guarantee, and it’s verified by WPBeginner, the most trusted WordPress educational resource on the internet.

“Wisdom of the Crowds” Example

Wisdom of the crowds social proof example

There are 3 ways that OptinMonster uses the “wisdom of the crowd” in this example. First, they display the number of people using OptinMonster to turn traffic into subscribers, leads, and sales. Second, they show several logos from clients that use the SaaS, and third is a timer counting up the number of monthly visitor sessions they’ve optimized.

So if you haven’t already realized, social proof is incredibly important in marketing. It helps you harness review sites, social media posts, user-generated content, industry experts, and your existing customers to convince shoppers to trust your business. As a result, you can boost conversion rates to grow your business.

How Do I Get Social Proof and Use It?

By now, you’re probably wondering how to get social proof for your business. Below you’ll find some of the most popular ways to get social proof with instructions on using it to power your marketing campaigns.

Run a Photo Contest

One of the easiest ways to gather social proof is to collect user-generated content (UGC) from existing customers. UGC is photos, social media posts, and customer testimonials.

For example, a photo from a happy customer using your product or service is UGC which shows credibility and authenticity. Potential customers are more likely to respond positively to it because it’s from a genuine user.

But how do you get UGC?

The easy answer is to run a photo contest. Ask customers to snap selfies using your goods for the chance to win a prize.

If you’re a WordPress website owner, you can run a photo contest easily with RafflePress. It’s the best WordPress giveaway plugin, allowing you to run any giveaway or contest without code.

RafflePress best WordPress giveaway plugin

The drag-and-drop builder makes any giveaway easy to set up, plus pre-made giveaway templates and viral entry actions can help you run a giveaway that meets your marketing goals. For instance, the Submit an Image action lets users upload a photo to qualify their entry.

Submit an image photo contest

You can also request social shares on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and use hashtags to expand your reach with viral word-of-mouth marketing.

RafflePress also includes the following features:

  • Follow actions for major social media platforms
  • Email newsletter action to grow your email list
  • Built-in giveaway rules generator
  • Giveaway landing pages
  • Random winner picker
  • User management dashboard
  • Giveaway design options

Get started with RafflePress today.

Add Customer Showcases to Your Website

Displaying UGC on your website is another excellent way to use social proof for your business. For example, you could add a photo gallery to eCommerce product pages showing customers wearing your latest fashion line with their star rating of your goods.

It isn’t hard to do either.

With Smash Balloon’s social media feed plugins, you can curate UGC from your social media accounts and display them anywhere on your website without code.

smash balloon social media feeds plugin

It offers feed plugins for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube and a drag-and-drop feed builder that lets you build the perfect feed.

smash balloon social media feed

For example, you can filter an Instagram feed to only display content with a specific hashtag and modify the posts to remove irrelevant content.

The best thing is you won’t need to update the feeds manually. Every feed updates automatically whenever you post something new on social media, saving you time and frustration.

Check out this guide to adding social media feeds to WordPress.

Display Real-Time Statistics

Adding real-time statistics, like the number of people viewing your products, or checking out, is an excellent form of social proof that evokes the fear of missing out (FOMO) in website visitors. Because they see other people doing something positive, they’re more likely to take action in case they miss that positive thing.

A great platform to help you implement this is TrustPulse, the best social proof tool on the market. It lets you show recent website activity in small popups to grab visitors’ attention.

TrustPulse social proof notifications

With this tool, you can display recent purchases, signups, registrations, giveaway entries, and more. Plus, “On Fire” notifications let you tell visitors when your site’s popularity is blowing up.

Use social proof to improve your traffic

It takes less than 5 minutes to set up TrustPulse, ultimately giving you social proof proven to increase conversions by up to 15%.

Get started with TrustPulse today.

Add Reviews and Star Ratings to Your Website

While review sites like Yelp, G2 Crowd, and TripAdvisor are excellent places to gather reviews from happy customers, adding them to your website is even more powerful. When interested users browse your website, a good review or star rating in the right place can be the difference between them leaving your site or making a purchase.

As mentioned above, Smash Balloon’s social feeds are a fantastic way to display reviews from social media. But if you want to add reviews, testimonials, and star ratings to landing pages, SeedProd is the best tool for the job.

seedprod WordPress website builder

SeedProd’s drag-and-drop page builder lets you create stunning landing pages in WordPress without hiring a designer or developer. Plus, its pre-made landing page templates make it super easy to get the perfect design.

seedprod website builder

This powerful plugin includes countless WordPress blocks for customizing your page.

For example, you can use the Testimonials and Star Rating blocks to display social proof on your landing page. You can also use urgency marketing elements like countdown timers to evoke FOMO, as well as share buttons, pricing tables, call-to-action buttons, before and after sliders, and more.

Check out this guide to add reviews and testimonials to your site with SeedProd.

Create Surveys to Gather Feedback

A powerful way to leverage your existing customers for informational social influence is to survey them and show the percentage of customers who would buy a specific product again.

This is what NakedWines did. The brand asked customers who bought their wine to rate it and say if they’d rebuy it. After gathering the results, they calculated the percentage and added it to their website as powerful social proof.

NakedWines social proof

If you need help, see this guide on how to create a survey to gather feedback.

Write and Publish Case Studies

Case studies are a great way to display in-depth social proof about products or services. Known as long-form social proof, they work because customers think longer, more detailed user reviews are more authentic and reputable than shorter comments. 

PushEngage, which offers users push notification software, has a dedicated case studies section where users can browse short testimonials, then click through to view the long-form reviews.

PushEngage case study social proof

We even have a case studies section here at RafflePress, where we show how our customers see fantastic results using our WordPress giveaway plugin.

Display Trust Seals, Logos, and Certifications

In one of the examples earlier, we showed you how MonsterInsights uses trust badges for social proof optimization. What you may not realize is that you can also use the following badges and logos to improve social proof on your website:

  • Payment processor logos
  • SSL verification
  • Client logos
  • Logos from media outlets you’re mentioned in
  • Certification badges from credible sources
  • Website security seals
  • Privacy certification badges
Trust badges social proof

When visitors see trust signals like these, they’re more likely to feel comfortable buying from your company.

Host a Social Media Takeover

Social media takeovers can help you broaden your influence to audiences that might be interested in but aren’t familiar with your company. During the takeover, an expert or influencer will take over posting on your social media accounts for a set time.

Takeovers are powerful for social proof because they leverage the expert’s relationships with their audience. But what’s better is they also get access to your audience, which helps influence them.

In this example from Calgary city, residents and ambassadors took over its Instagram account to highlight the great things you can do there. 

Life in Calgary social media takeover social proof

Show Social Media Share Counts

A super simple way to showcase social proof on your website is to display social media share counts within your content. Naturally, the more shares your content has, the more significant the effect.

Share counts as social proof

You can always turn share counts off if your content doesn’t have many shares until it has more. To improve social proof, you can also add share counts to your landing and product pages.

Similarly, showing your most popular posts or products is a fantastic way to show that other people are interested in them. Over at WPBeginner, they display popular posts in their WordPress sidebar.

Popular posts as social proof

You can do the same with MonsterInsights, the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. Its popular posts feature lets you display popular content anywhere on your website, including the footer, sidebar, or even within a post.

Additionally, you can display up to 10 best-selling products on single product pages.

Final Thoughts on Social Proof Marketing

As Dr. Robert Cialdini said in his book Influence, people copy the actions of others to emulate their behavior. So if you’re not already using social proof to increase your subscribers, leads, and customers, you should start today.

We hope this article answers the question, “what is social proof in marketing.” If you’re looking for more marketing tips, check out some of these posts:

If you liked this article, please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for RafflePress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

author avatar
Stacey Corrin Writer
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.

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