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How to Effectively Use Social Proof to Grow Your Customer Base

OptinMonsterdefines social proof as “the psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.”

While you may not conform to what everyone does, it’s a little bit more difficult in the online shopping realm. Since you can’t visit the physical store or get a sample of a tangible product, you rely on the opinions of past customers to determine the product’s quality and business’ reputation.

Even if you like the physical appearance of the furniture, your opinion can change based on other people’s thoughts and opinions. So, how can you win the social proof game? Here’s what you need to know:

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Reviews (and Testimonials): Wisdom of the crowds

Reviews and testimonials are guaranteed to skyrocket your conversion rate.

In fact, one study found that having 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. Similar studies discovered that  63% of customers are more likely to purchase from an online store with a number of reviews.

Not surprisingly, reviews help determine a business’s credibility, reputation, and product quality. It helps them determine the pros and cons of purchasing a product – and the negative experiences of customers.

Amazon products are guaranteed to have reviews, which is why it’s one of the most popular retail sites.

How to effectively use Social Proof to grow your customer base

Interestingly, customers understand that no product is perfect. In fact, 52% of buyers will trust a business more if they see a few negative online reviews of their products. Having too many good reviews could be a sign that a store has sponsored reviews or deletes negative feedback from customers.

A testimonial or recommendation from celebrities and industry experts can also do a lot for your sales. For example, an endorsement by Oprah Winfrey can turn a virtually unknown business into a million-dollar company. Her talk show has helped launch the career of Suze Orman, Gale King, Nate Berkus, and Dr. Phil.

How to effectively use Social Proof to grow your customer base

You don’t need to get a famous celebrity interested to make testimonials. Just simply ask your current customers about their experiences.

Slack – a team collaboration tool – has a testimonial page that lets potential customers understand how they help their clients get organized and work smarter.

How to effectively use Social Proof to grow your customer base

Referrals & Loyalty: Personal endorsements

Referral marketing is one of the most efficient ways to make more profits, and the numbers don’t lie.

ReferralCandyreports that people pay 2x more attention to recommendations from friends and 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. Did you recently visit a restaurant thanks to a good word from a friend? When was the last time you asked for a recommendation about online stores? I bet it was not that long ago.

Referral marketing is so successful because it is built on trust. Referrers are trusted brand advocates by their friends and family.

Businesses like Critical Pass—a brand that sells flashcards to Bar Exam takers—attribute their referral program for 10.42% of revenues and 10.05% of orders.

How to effectively use Social Proof to grow your customer base

Another way to continuously make sales is to retain loyal customers through loyalty programs.

Not surprisingly, most people who buy your products are those that have bought from your store in the past. They liked your product, so they keep making purchases.

For example, Apple’s sales are primarily from 87% of their customers who are loyal to the brand. This means that they’ll continue to buy Apple products in the future.

Chick-Fil-A’s loyalty program has gotten 13 million active users. It gives the members 10 points for every $1 spent. They also offer freebies, offers and birthday gifts to boost membership.

How to effectively use Social Proof to grow your customer base

Other customers also viewed: Fear of missing out

Have you ever seen a discounted product and thought, “If I don’t get it today, then I’ll never get it at this price ever again?” or “I need to buy it now or it’ll be sold out.”

This is FOMO- the Fear of Missing Out.

Marketers like to use words like “Limited Time only,” “Last 24 hours” or “Till stocks last” to trigger customers to purchase fast.

Of course, impulse and instant purchases are great for businesses. Because customers feel that they won’t get the product or deal for a long time, they make an immediate purchase.

Now, how do you trigger FOMO? Here are some examples:

Amazon leverages FOMO by showing a countdown timer for their daily deals. They also show the percentage of stocks left based on the number of people who claimed their product.

How to effectively use Social Proof to grow your customer base

Creativelive’s email tells customers “don’t miss out” on their 50% off sale. They also have a CTA on their landing page that makes it easy for customers to make a purchase.

How to effectively use Social Proof to grow your customer base

How will you use social proof to make more sales?

Social proof can help make your business seem credible and convert more customers, but you need to do it right. Get reviews and testimonials from your customers, and make sure this content is optimized for social media, so more potential customers can learn about you. Create referral marketing and loyalty programs that reward brand advocates for repeat purchases and successful referrals. Make limited-time offers to incentivize customers to make instant purchases.

How do you plan to use social proof to attract more customers? How will you make your business seem more credible for first-time customers? Let us know in the comments below.

About the writer

Monique Danao is a writer for CandyBar and ReferralCandy.

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