eCommerce Made Easy

Boosting eCommerce Sales with the Power of Social Proof Strategies

March 12, 2024 Carrie Saunders Episode 45
eCommerce Made Easy
Boosting eCommerce Sales with the Power of Social Proof Strategies
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In a world where customers have endless options, how can your business stand out? The secret lies in something called social proof. It's a powerful tool that builds trust and credibility with your audience.  Today we’re diving into Social Proof, what it is, why you need it and how to maximize it.

From customer reviews to industry recommendations, you can make your business shine and attract more customers through effective use of social proof. Let's discover how social proof can take your business to the next level!

Find out more information about the Business Visibility Made Easy Course at www.ecommercemadeeasypodcast.com/bvme

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Carrie:

You may have heard of the term social proof and wondered what it means. Or maybe you've heard of it but want to make sure you're fully leveraging it. As an online business owner and entrepreneur, you want to make sure you're providing the trust potential customers need when buying from you. That's where social proof comes in. Join me as we dive into what it is, why you need it and how to build it up.

Carrie:

Welcome to the eCommerce Made Easy podcast. I'm your host, k Saunders. When we started this business, all I had was a couch, a laptop and a nine month old my main goal To help others. Now, with over 20 years in the eCommerce building industry and even more than that in web development, I have seen a lot. I love breaking down the hard tech and to easily understandable bits to help others be successful in their online business. Whether you're a seasoned eCommerce veteran or just starting out, you've come to the right place. So sit back, relax and let's dive into the world of eCommerce together.

Carrie:

Welcome back to the eCommerce Made Easy podcast. Today we're diving into social proof what it is, why you need it and how to maximize it. So let's imagine this You're schooling your favorite social media platform and some product that you see in your feed sparks your attention. In fact, as you read a little bit more about it, it solves a particular problem that's been bothering you. You click on the comments of the advertisement and start to read. Next thing you know it's been five minutes. Where did the time go? You got lost in reading all the comments of others who purchased this product, as well as any responses from the company. Does that sound familiar? I know to me it totally sounds familiar. I've totally done this myself. But why do we do this and how can we take advantage of it as business owners?

Carrie:

For those new to the term, social proof is a psychological concept that people are influenced in their decision making by others and others opinion. When we're talking about online business, it specifically influences purchasing and really creates some great purchasing power. So, in simple terms, consumers look at other consumers' reviews, praises, comments, likes, shares, etc. To determine if your product or service is reliable, reputable and worth purchasing. It really greatly affects your conversion rate. So, now that we know what it is and why we need it, how do we maximize our social proof? What are the means that we can do this by?

Carrie:

So there are many places that consumers can consume and provide social proof for your products or services. I'm going to break them down into where you typically find them and give you some examples about them. Okay, first off is your website, and it's also the place that you can control this the most. It is a perfect place to have your social proof and I highly recommend you have some form of one of these on your website. The first and most obvious one is customer testimonials. So if you have an application where you can either add on or turn on a feature where you can collect customer testimonials, I highly recommend you doing this on your website. And then you wanna make sure that you're displaying them on your website too. So I know that when I go to a new person, whether they sell products or services, I want to look at what other customers are saying about them. I want to get a good vibe for the company and how other consumers really like it. So customer testimonials are very vital, especially if you're selling services. Now, if you're selling products that are physical goods or maybe even digital products you could do this with, although customer testimonials would apply for that too. User ratings or reviews on the specific product or service is super important. I know when I'm looking at a new product that I have never considered before, or maybe I've considered it I really want to look at the ratings or reviews, and I particularly look at the top ratings of five stars as well as the one stars. That kind of gives me a good gauge for the product, because you can kind of tell the type of person or the type of people who are reviewing a product by looking at the top ratings and the lowest ratings and you can get a good feel as to whether the product is a great fit for you.

Carrie:

I also recommend case studies. So let's say, you don't sell digital or physical goods or services products. You can do case studies instead. So you're a service-based business only, so you can do case studies on your clients and talk about the befores and the afters and how you transformed their business or whatever you're transforming, whether it's their life, their business, their emotions, their relationship, health, their physical health, their mental health. Talk about these case studies. You can create these as blog posts. We talk a lot on the podcast about how new posts, at least minimum once a month, is what I recommend. It's great for your website from a search engine's perspective as well as for your consumers, and something like case studies is something you can do on your website regularly to help have that regular content that's going to boost you both for search engines as well as for consumer trust. So case studies is something you should look into if you haven't yet.

Carrie:

Also, trust seals and certifications. Now, this is only gonna apply to a portion of you guys, because not everybody or every industry has trust seals or certificates. But let's say you are a business coach and you have taken specific courses to help you be a better business coach and you have some certifications from that. Then for sure you want to display that on your website. Maybe you are selling physical products to people and you wanna make sure that people understand that your website is secure unless you're a reliable business. So you could put up the Better Business Bureau. If you're in America, that would be an appropriate one to put up over here to show that you are a verified business, and you could put up things like secure certificates and PCI compliance certificates or anything like that that you like that you have, and I recommend putting those towards the bottom of the website. Those usually aren't needed up in front, unless you're talking about professional certifications that would help you sell your products or services. Okay, so those are some of the things you can control on your website, and I do wanna do a little bit of a tangent here. Let's say you don't have any customer testimonials or a way to put customer testimonials or receive them on your website.

Carrie:

Another thing you can do is screenshot reviews and testimonials that are off your website, say on social media or another website. You can take screenshots and put that on your website. So, even if you don't have the way to collect them on your website, that's another great way to display social proof, and I recommend screenshots because we recognize what Facebook looks like, we recognize what Instagram looks like and many of the other external websites. So when you do a screenshot it looks more real. It looks like you aren't just copying or typing up some bogus review or testimonial. So doing the screenshots a really great way to build further that social proof.

Carrie:

Okay, so now let's switch gears to social media channels. They also provide a place to have social proof, and if you hear some rustling in the background, the cats are going a little nuts tonight as I'm recording this, so you might see them on the YouTube video. All right, so back to where we were Social media channels. They are a great place to have social proof. Obviously, it kind of seems like that's where I was gonna go originally, but our website can also provide social proof.

Carrie:

So one of the things people really look at with social proof is the number of followers, so the number of Instagram followers, maybe the number of Facebook followers, the number of connections on LinkedIn, et cetera. Now, some people think that this is really important, and I, for one, tend to say that it is somewhat important, but it's not the most important thing at all. When you're on a social platform, just because somebody has a bunch of followers, likes, et cetera for their profile doesn't mean that they're actually trustworthy, and a lot of people already know this intuitively. So they're not only gonna look at the number of followers. They're also going to look at how people react to your posts and whether they comment, whether they like them, whether they heart them depending on which platform they are, as to whether what reactions are appropriate and available. They're also gonna look at the comments on your social posts as well as your responses to any of those comments.

Carrie:

So one thing we wanna make sure we do on social and I mentioned this on other episodes is we don't wanna post in ghost. Basically you don't wanna post something and if you get comments, never comment, never like, never respond to that consumer. So you wanna make sure you are spending time every day or every week, depending on how often you get comments or reactions and making sure that you're coming back to those and responding to them. That makes it look like you're a human and that you care about what your consumers think about. So remember that you need to make sure you comment back to any comments on your posts. And then they're gonna look also to the reactions to social posts so how many people liked it or how many people loved it, or just generally, how many people are reacting to it and they're engaging with it. So not only comments, but also just simple reactions too.

Carrie:

Social media mentions is also another way for social proof. So once you get your name out there as a company in this business whether you sell products or services many people are going to want to mention you when they think about you, so say you really love this one person's product and they sell a bunch of your, let's say, cat issues. They entertain your cats when you're recording your podcast. Right, and you wanna tell your other podcasting friends? Hey, this great tool helps entertain your animals whenever you're wanting to be busy and do a podcast, for example, if we're to mouth, like that is super important for social proof and if you're on the YouTube video. We got Bre over here, hi, actually, no, that's Mac, that's not Bre. I didn't look at him long enough. So, if you're listening on our podcast, jump on our YouTube video when you're done with it so you can see our beautiful orange kitties that we have in our office. Anyway, let's get back to where we were. So social media mentions is very important and this is something you should reciprocate to. You know we get what we give. So when you're out there on your social, don't just be selfish. I feel like a lot of you are not selfish, but I just want to put this out there Consciously.

Carrie:

Think about where can you share some of your favorite people or products while you're already there on social. You know, maybe you want to mention your favorite, I don't know toothpaste. That was the first thing that came to mind. Maybe you have a favorite toothpaste you love because it doesn't have certain things in it. For me, I have to have toothpaste that's gluten-free and celiac, as well as polyethylene glycol we think I'm allergic to. That's kind of an important thing to me. I would recommend a specific toothpaste, say if it's on my mind. Somebody's got a question. You know, hey, I'm looking for a good gluten-free toothpaste. I would have a recommendation for it, right? So, naturally, recommending the products and services you already use is going to bring that karma back to you and bring people you know doing the same thing back for you too. So not only will you want to hope for your own social media mentions, but go ahead and do that for some other people too. It'll come back to you tenfold.

Carrie:

Also, reviews directly on the social platforms are very important. So I know Facebook provides a way to review business pages, for example, so you might want to encourage your customers to do reviews there. There's other places you can collect reviews just, such as Google. You can do Google business reviews and have people post there Yelp, if that applies to you as well, and you can, even we can go back to our website. You can screenshot those reviews because they're public already. They're on a public website. You can screenshot them and put them on your website for an additional social proof. That's right there on your website. Okay, so we've covered many of the basic places and ways you can have social proof. So let's next go over some more advanced ways to create social proof and keep in mind, as we went through the ones we just talked about and then these more advanced ones, don't feel like you need to do them all. Pick what is easy for you to do right now. Okay, so affiliate programs is a great way to provide a bit more advanced social proof. So once you get going in your business even more let's say you're new and you're not quite ready for this yet but once you get going even more, you can have affiliate programs.

Carrie:

For us at BCC, we had back when one of the softwares that we worked for worked with not really worked for was super popular, when Xcar was super popular, we had other agencies that were doing similar things to us and we actually would refer each other to each other for our products and services when they weren't a good fit, when the client needed wasn't a good fit, we would refer them to these other ones. And affiliate programs is a great way to bring in some income. That is not necessarily. There's called passive income, so it's not active income, where you're working to create the product or the service and you're getting in a bit more passive. Obviously you've got to do a little bit of work with affiliate marketing to get the information out there to the consumer, but it's a bit more passive income. So affiliate programs can be a great way you can be a part of somebody else's and somebody can be a part of your affiliate program.

Carrie:

Also, user generated content this is a brilliant way. Once you're really good at social media, this is a brilliant way to really maximize the social proof on social media. So what do I mean by user generated content? This is where and this works, especially if you have products or services that other people are using and talking about. So let's say, you sell you know dog treats and you have a special diet dog treats for, let's say, diabetic dogs that need to be green free let's get really specific here and you're selling treats for this and you have you encourage and have your consumers tag you on social media with their puppies, with their treats and how happy they are and things like that. So you can then use those user generated photos, memes and videos etc and repost them on to your social platforms. So that then gives a bit more, even more in-depth social proof, because a consumer created the post and then you're sharing it on your social content. So you didn't generate that content, somebody else gave you the good word for you. So that really magnifies your social proof using user generated content.

Carrie:

Also, industry expert recommendations. So let's say you are a business coach and one of the, say, bigger or higher up than you business coaches or a peer really recommends you as a specific type of business coach. But that person's very industry recognized and industry expert. That's going to really boost you and bring you up even more when another industry expert is recommending you. So working your networking as a business owner and making sure you're creating these great business connections that are genuine so that you can get referrals from other industry experts.

Carrie:

Also, social media mentions on other big websites. So we want to and we've got a cat in the window, cat in the view again we want to make sure that we are putting ourselves on other people's websites and we want to make sure we're getting media mentions and even social media mentions. It's kind of two different things Somebody else's website or somebody else's social out there and having those point them back to you is a great way to provide social proof. Let's say you get it to post an article on entrepreneurcom. It's a very popular magazine for entrepreneurs. I'm sure you probably already heard of it, but for you to have an article on there is great and having it link back to you, that's a great way of doing social proof. And then you can post on your other website Check out our article on entrepreneurcom and that's going to boost your reputation and worthiness because you're now on this external large website as well.

Carrie:

Let's say you have some big clients that you work for. Having those client logos or not, you don't even have to be big websites, it could be just client logos. Having those displayed on your website as social proof is also really great. It really boosts other people's confidence and lets them see that you're just not hot air and you actually work for some other people. So that's very important. Also, the number of customers or clients you've served over the past, however many years you've been in business, especially if you're a service provider or a coach or something along those lines can really help boost your potential customer's confidence on you.

Carrie:

Now you can also do if this is appropriate to your industry, a before and after. So, for example, for us we could do a before and after on a rebranding or a redesign of a website or a replatforming of a website. We could do a before and after and describe the things that we help the client do and achieve and things like that. You can also do a before and after. If you are a coach and you are helping somebody learn how to speak better, you can do a before and after, say on how they were speaking before and how comfortable they felt. They can use their words and give you some feedback that you can use for a before and after, and then they can describe how do they feel now that they've had your coaching services on speaking publicly, and how much better they feel and how more confident they are, and things like that. So before and afters are also great.

Carrie:

Okay, so, as you can see, there are many ways to get and display social proof. If you're just starting out, like I said a little bit ago, I recommend you start with a few of the ways that are easy for you and that you like best, really want to make sure you pick things that you enjoy keeping track of and doing because you're going to be more successful that way and just pick three to five and run with it and just do your best with it. Progress is much more important than perfection here and I'm saying this to myself as well as to you guys, because I need to hear it too. I'm a recovering perfectionist and I will definitely admit that. Also, create a task to come back to this list in about six months time and add another one or two more and repeat that until you're happy with a variety of social proof mechanisms you have.

Carrie:

Again, I encourage you not to do all at once or you'll feel overwhelmed. They likely all won't apply to you as well. So all the ones that elicit you probably won't apply to you. That's why we want to just pick the ones that you think apply to you and that you think are doable for you and you think will be fun, all right.

Carrie:

So we want to hear from you what is your favorite social proof mechanism as a consumer yourself? Do you look at reviews, mostly Social media posts and interactions? Drop us an email at podcast at bcsengineeringcom and let us know. All right, so that's it for this week's episode of the eCommerce Made Easy podcast. If you're watching on YouTube, be sure to hit that subscribe button and I hope you enjoyed the few views of the kitty cats on this episode and if you're listening on the podcast, be sure to subscribe so you don't miss out when we release new episodes. As always, we appreciate your feedback and ideas. You're welcome again to drop us an email at podcast at bcsengineeringcom. We would love to hear from you and we will see you next week.

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