When you need to fight for sales and get around competitors, a variety of means are used: common and not so common. The former includes social proof, which is a multifaceted tool on the one hand and simple on the other. Therefore, everyone can use it to increase their reputation in the eyes of potential customers. Now let’s figure out what social proof widgets are and how best to use them.
What Are Social Proof Widgets?
Social proof widgets are not lead generation pop-ups that ask you to enter an email or phone number but small, unobtrusive pop-ups or view counters that gently push customers to decide. Simply put, this is a tool that increases conversions on product cards.
Often in an unfamiliar city, when choosing a place to dine, we go to a place with more people, especially locals. In online stores, widgets perform the function of a landmark: they let us know how many people are “located” in this store at the same time as us or how many there were in a week — to understand whether they “go” here at all. Widgets indicate that you may not get the product: “Now 19 people are watching this item”, “All things are in a single copy”. When unsure of a choice, customers often look to others, hoping they are more familiar with the store or product.
Widget numbers should be correctly taken from sales data and view counters. Often they are rounded off, and someone even puts them there by accident, but visitors can notice this and be indignant. If you see that in a sales text, a radio commercial, or other content, something is emphasized that proves that a person will not be alone in their choice, know that social proof is being processed.
Examples of Successful Social Proof Widgets
Below, we suggest some of the most popular types and examples of social proof currently used in conversion strategies.
1. Expert Opinion
The product receives the approval of an authoritative expert, for example, a well-known blogger. It could be a tweet or a blog post. Opinion leaders in a certain area are well known; they have an established reputation. Everything they take part in is perceived positively, so their feedback works.
For example, a fashion magazine article or blog post increased the conversion rate of the Rent the Runway website by 200% compared to contextual advertising.
Bloggers often become celebrities, which brings us to the next type of social proof.
2. Celebrity Opinion
A double-edged sword: a “correctly chosen” person can do wonders, while a mismatch will ruin your image. Customers view our possessions as a reflection of themselves, so goods are viewed through the prism of belonging to a group and marking a societal position.
Social proof is the natural human tendency to mimic the behavior of the people around us, especially those we respect. These people have the strongest influence on our behavior.
Influencers’ endorsements can be seen on nearly every book’s covers, jackets, and front pages. Author Chris Ducker showcased a testimonial from renowned author Jay Baer on his book’s webpage, Virtual Freedom.
3. User Opinion
Your product is approved by existing users. These are testimonials, cases, and reviews. This version of social proof is especially effective in a storytelling format. Customers tend to put themselves in other people’s shoes when they read or listen to a story, which is why they are more compelling and credible than statistics or general trends. Clients are attracted to specific examples because they can try them on themselves.
Reviews of goods and services are especially powerful when the opinions of large population groups are considered. Sephora, an online beauty retailer, collects and evaluates products.
4. “The Wisdom of the Crowd”
This type of social proof is massive: it shows that thousands, millions, and even billions of people have already made a purchase, subscribed, etc. It helps to attract new blog subscribers by mentioning that by doing so, you will join your 20,000 colleagues. This becomes an incentive, as it reminds potential readers they don’t want to miss out on valuable information that others are already getting.
Another common use of this social proof variant is on “closed” sites. For example, you must register to start shopping on One Kings Lane. This gives the impression that the site is so popular that you must wait.
5. Friends’ Opinion
This type of social proof is reinforced by the concept of hidden selfishness, according to which people like things that resemble themselves. Research shows that customers value the opinions of people who seem like them more. They tend to form friendships with people they have much in common with, which is why social triggers like referral programs and Facebook-like widgets succeed.
Sales site Rue La La encourages customers to refer friends and offers $10 off their next purchase.
Using social proof is easy. Start small: post customer testimonials on your website and mailing list, highlight the number of subscribers to your blog, and build relationships with experts in your field.
Often, social proof implies the possibility of harming your reputation: if you allow customers to leave reviews, someone may write a negative one. Commonly, not everyone will have positive things to say, but in any case, the best assurance for preserving a reputation is the high caliber of the product. Therefore, before declaring yourself publicly, consider the quality, and only then allow the buyers to speak. Evidence cannot be successfully sold.