Today’s article on How to Reach Your Customers Using Social Proof is brought to you by Jake Rheude Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment.

Let’s welcome Jake in our blog, and learn from his invaluable experience!

Writers are often told, “show, don’t tell,” to create a more compelling story. Well eCommerce brands, social media is your “show, don’t tell” moment. It’s the best way to prove you’re awesome and make a claim trustworthy, but only if you let someone else do the talking.

Social proof is essentially showing leads and potential customers that other, real people have made a purchase or used a service with a public broadcast. In this sense, the broadcast will be something like a testimonial, a review on your website or third-party services, social sharing of content, or even a video or photo of them using your products.

Back in 2014, there was strong research showing that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online product reviews. About 85% of people trusted these reviews on the same level as a personal recommendation — in traditional marketing, personal recommendations have long been the most successful and trusted way to grow your customer base.

The trust level of online testimonials has stayed roughly the same since. What’s changed is how many services and competitors have testimonials.

While it may have originally been a competitive advantage to have this social proof on your site, and especially at the bottom of those product pages, it’s now a must-have. You’re less relevant and less competitive if you lack these purchase signals.

Think of it this way. If you went to buy something online and it had no reviews available, what would you think about it? We bet that you’d either think no one has tried it yet or no one likes it.

Do you want your customers to think that about you?

Adding Social Proof for Better eCommerce Results

Now, let’s get you ready to become the most trusted eCommerce site in your niche. We’re going to reach that through the power of social proof. Your best jumping off point is learning about the different options available to you and how they can positively impact your business.

Reviews and Testimonials

Short, simple ways for people to say they love it or hate it. Testimonials are easy to understand, and people tend to write about the biggest concerns.

The great news about eCommerce shoppers is that their reviews touch on what’s most important to them, and what’s most important to one is often that for many. So, you’ll see a lot of clothing reviews and testimonials talk about how well something fits. Tools and electronics will often talk about durability.

Review and Testimonials

Even niche items, like a record player, will have reviews that focus on durability, sound, and how easy it can be to use.

There are a few important things to note about having these on your site:

  • Add a ranking to reviews and share the average so people can scan easily — often you’ll see these as a certain number of stars out of five.
  • If you only have 5-star reviews, it can look a little bit like you’re getting rid of bad ones. Leave negative reviews alone but respond to them whenever possible.
  • Allow people to provide personal details — such as name, location, and purchase date — to make things feel more authentic.
  • Grab your favorite set of testimonials or longer reviews and add them to the footer of your pages or make them the focus of a landing page. Social proof here can easily turn into purchases.

Case Studies

Case studies have a limited use in eCommerce but can be a big win if done right. Think of it as a much longer testimonial. You want to take space to set up the problem, show why you were picked as the solution, and then highlight the results.

You’ll see these in a lot of B2B sites. However, they can be amazing in B2C too, especially with large purchases.

If you hate washing the car but must do it anyway, you’re probably not going to read a lot of reviews on scrubbers or cloths that make it easier. But, if you hit a landing page that said it could shave 30-45 minutes off every wash and kept you from getting wet, you might be inclined to click.

Having that click move to a case study instead of a small testimonial gives the claim more credibility and allows you to tell that lead exactly how you save them time. When you have a large promise or need to make your case in a longer way, these are a perfect tool.

Activity Levels

Did you know that 10,000 people read this article in the last 20 minutes?

Okay, maybe not. But, if you saw that note at the top of the page, you’d instantly think we were pretty smart and knew what we were talking about. Your eCommerce store can do the same thing with lists and counters for visitors and purchases.

It puts pressure on people to join the crowd that already knows something they don’t. Plus, it can introduce scarcity when you pair it with a message that says, “only 20 left in stock!”

activity levels

These are gold. And, Beeketing actually offers an app that can specifically add this type of views and purchase social proof to your store. Click that link and scroll down to the bottom. You can see that they use some of these types of social proof, which is a great sign that it works.

Another way many brands do this is by having their social media feeds in a window on the side of their landing page. That way you can see who is talking about them. It’s great if you have a following, especially if you’ve found a hashtag that you can dominate.

Three Elements to Consider

Now that you’ve got some ideas on what types of social proof to use, it’s time to get started on your own. Choosing between these items can be a little tough, so here are three quick ways for you to figure out what you can create and where to start.

  1. Type: Start by figuring out what you already have and can use. So, if your social feeds are quiet, save those for later. Got great reviews? Start sharing them! And if you find you don’t have any, or if you have multiple options, move on to the next step.
  2. Goal: What do you want to accomplish? Are you trying to get people to learn more, make the first purchase, or take advantage of an upsell? Goals can direct you because the higher they are in your funnel, the more education they’ll typically need to make the next step.
  3. Location: Where are you going to put your social proof? If it’s at the bottom of your page, you don’t want something extremely long because it may draw too much attention and time away from that “Buy” button at the top. A landing page for a new product, on the other hand, has a lot of room for social proof and is best utilized by having more than just five gold stars on the side.

Ask Your Partners for Help

While much of the data and social interactions come directly from your customers, there’s another source of proof and positivity you can use: your fulfillment and other business partners.

If you’re working with a specialty eCommerce fulfillment service, they’re well-positioned to help you get orders out on-time and know how much you can promise. That’ll take a huge worry off your mind, and many vendors like you will just set it and forget it.

However, it pays well if you don’t stop there.

Reach out to your partner and get hard data on the orders they fulfill for you. How many are on-time? How many are returned as inaccurate or damaged? How soon does the average order take to arrive?

If these stats are bad, it might be a sign that you need to find a new partner. If they’re great, then you need to splash them on your product pages, shopping cart, and checkout process.

Again, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If you saw a shield with a “100% of orders delivered on-time in 2017” emblazoned across it, would you feel better about buying from that company? What if they guaranteed that every order would arrive in two days or less?

The coup de grace: pair that promise with a testimonial or review talking about how great the delivery of the package was. Now you’ve got a promise and a customer saying you lived up to it — it’s hard to beat that kind of social proof.

We feel honoured to have Jake’s insights featured in our blog, and we are incredibly thankful for the knowledge he has shared with us.

Author bio here

BioJake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others

guest postreachsocial proof