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Sarah Brizendine
By Sarah Brizendine on October 28, 2014

What is Social Proof (And How Can You Use It)?

army-pants-and-flip-flopsIf I were to tell you AdVision is the greatest inbound marketing agency that ever was, there’s a good chance you’d just roll your eyes and write it off. It could very well be true (I’d like to think it is), but since it’s coming from me, it’d probably come off as being part of a self-serving agenda. Now say someone else (not associated with our company) told you how much he or she loves working with AdVision. It might be a different story.

Your company really could be the best in the world and you’re clearly going to want to convey that to potential customers. However, no matter what you say, people aren’t just going to believe it unless they hear it from other people too.

That’s where social proof comes in.

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is the positive influences created when one person finds out multiple people are all doing the same thing. It’s like when you walk by a restaurant and there is a line out the door. You automatically assume that it’s a place worth trying. 

When someone comes to your website or lands on one of your landing pages, they have no context to determine if what you’re offering is good. However, if they come to that same landing page and see testimonials, social shares, tweets, etc. from happy customers, then they are more likely to feel positive about it too—which can reduce anxiety and lead to more conversions on your site.

Ways to Use Social Proof

Social Shares

One of the lowest hanging fruits for social proof comes in the form of displaying social shares. They are easy to implement and quickly convey popularity and credibility for a certain eBook, blog post, or web page is.   The most common social share buttons are for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Depending on who your buyer personas are, it might make sense to include other social channels as well.


Customer Testimonials

Short quotes from satisfied customers can go a long way. Customer testimonials are one of the most common forms of social proof, used not only on landing pages, but also throughout websites. Some companies even go as far as to have an entire page dedicated to customer testimonials. Ideally, customer testimonials will include a picture, name, company, and job title along with the quote to help provide even more credibility. 


Number of Users/Downloads

Similar to social shares, showing how many people use a product/service or have downloaded an offer is another powerful form of social proof. This is best to use after you have already established a fair amount of customers and/or downloads.


Client Logos

If you work in a B2B industry, displaying the logos of other companies that have chosen to work with you can be a great way to show that you are a trusted service provider. This can work especially well if you work within a certain industry vertical and want to display your expertise in that industry.


Case Studies

Take your customer testimonials a little farther by turning them into a case study. Someone can then not only read a short quote from a happy customer, but actually discover the value that you were able to provide. In this example from Codeacademy, a short story is displayed. If a site visitor finds one of the stories to be relatable, they can then click through to read the case study. 


Have you used any other forms of social proof on your website and seen success? Let us know in the comments!

Published by Sarah Brizendine October 28, 2014
Sarah Brizendine