Using Social Proof to Engage Visitors

“What is social proof? Put simply, it’s the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. It’s also known as informational social influence.” 

aileen lee

According to a recent Trustpilot study, an average of 66% of customers said the presence of social proof increased their likelihood of purchasing a product.

“Social Proof” is a term coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1987 book, Influence.  Social Proof is one type of conformity, or social influence, where a person looks to other people to validate (or invalidate) a decision or theory.

So how can social influence engage your visitors?  This type of social influence comes in many different forms.

  • Celebrity Endorsements
  • Testimonials
  • Customer Reviews
  • Number of Products purchased
  • Number of people looking at this product

Social Proof will validate a person’s actions by the actions and recommendations of others.  Social proof capitalizes on the fear of missing out.  Fear of missing out (FOMO) is described as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.” This social anxiety is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.”

FOMO is a real psychological phenomenon.  A recent CBS News MoneyWatch article explains that FOMO is what helped drive up stocks during a time when the stock market didn’t rebound as expected from a Federal Reserve interest rate cut.  The rate cut was made in an emergency move to attempt to protect the economy against the newly identified coronavirus.  FOMO is also one explanation as to why toilet paper purchases are on the rise in Australia and elsewhere as part of a wave of coronavirus panic buying.

Social Proof

By exposing social proof, you can capture the curiosity of your audience by piquing their interest to view other products or pages so as not to miss an opportunity that someone else is interested in.

How do you add Social Proof to your website?  Try some of these ideas:

  1. Add Customer Reviews:  Adding reviews to your website can be accomplished in many ways.  Most websites are built on frameworks that already allow for reviews.  You can also embed Google Reviews on your website or can utilize trends/widgets to expose spotlighted reviews (such as most current or most helpful). 
  2. Highlight Live Interactions:  Social proof can also take on a different look and feel by exposing live interactions such as;
    1. Live visitors to a page (10 people viewing),
    1. Live sales (8 purchased in the last 48 hours),
    1. Live inventory (only 4 left)
    1. Live actions (100 people registered today).
  3. Display Trending Products:  Highlight the most popular products in real-time such as products people are viewing, purchasing, or even talking about on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Debbie wears multiple hats at SiteVibes, including writing and researching awesome topics to share with customers, partners and just general site visitors. When she isn't doing day-to-day SiteVibes work, Debbie enjoys volunteering with nonprofit organizations, digging into a new book, and going for walks.