Social Proof to Grow Your Business: Expert Insights

April 10, 2013


Social proof has become one the most important tools people use when shopping for just about anything.

Don’t believe me?

Over 75% of people today trust peer recommendations when shopping for a service or product.

More than 70% of people look at product reviews before making a purchase.

Nearly 63% are more likely to purchase from sites with product reviews and ratings.

In short, social proof that tells stories about your business and credibility is vital to converting prospects into customers.

Consider the following expert opinions about what to expect from different types of social proof, mistakes you might be making and getting testimonials that showcase client results.

The Power of Social Proof to Grow Your Business Infographic | Fiore Communications

On Outcomes of Different Types of Social Proof

There are many types of social influences, such as testimonials, user reviews, trust badges, authority recommendations, award badges and social network icons, that you can place on your website to increase conversion rates.

Although using social proof should be critical in your marketing strategy to shape a more effective buying environment, there is one problem: Each style has its own limitations. You must determine which form of social proof will resonate with your customers or it will not be effective.

Sujan Patel writes about the steps you should take to get social proof and how you should incorporate it into your website to generate the best results in his post, Harnessing the Power of Social Proof. The first steps are to learn about the different styles of social proof and the expected outcomes of each type, identify your business goals and then choose which kind of social proof will meet those objectives. Patel then goes into the various advantages and disadvantages of each kind of social proof you need to consider.

On the Right and Wrong Ways to Use Social Proof

User testimonials are one of the most powerful types of social proof. They let us connect with people similar to us and give us personal insight into the buying process. Testimonials allow us to relate to those who have already made the purchase and are satisfied with it.

Testimonials lead to higher conversion rates and higher sales. However, if your testimonials are not connecting with your audience, you could actually be losing conversions.

In his post, Why Your Customer Testimonials Are NOT Working, Steve Young focuses on customer testimonials as social proof and how you could be hurting, not helping, your business. One of the most important aspects of user testimonials is gathering appropriate feedback. Providing an answer to any objections your audience might have will show them you are prepared and have done your research.

Steve also advises us to make sure the person writing the testimonial will resonate with your audience. If they don’t connect with the writer, then they won’t connect with the message, and the testimonial is useless. Steve mentions the importance of authentic testimonials that show results and overcome objections.

Your audience doesn’t want to waste their time reading generic testimonials. They want to believe you. Posting a reliable, detailed testimonial that highlights some specific feedback will systematically break down the barriers that prospects have about doing business with you.

On Showcasing Client Results

Detailed and numbers-based results given in testimonials will be the best social proof on your website. Every testimonial should show where your client was before they worked with you and where they are after using your products and services.

Whether it is pounds lost, money saved, more followers or an increase in Likes on Facebook, encouraging your clients to leave these types of testimonials will pay dividends down the line.

In her post on keys to amazing testimonials, Christine Gallagher not only points out the importance of getting results mentioned in your testimonials, she also encourages you to ask your clients to leave testimonials that contain a recommendation to work with you. The combination of these two tips will lead to unforgettable testimonials.

Christine closes her post on an important note – make collecting testimonials a habit. Soon after delivering your product or service, ask for the testimonial and put a deadline on when you need the feedback to further the sense of urgency.

How are you currently using social proof in your business? What have your results been? Comment below to let us know!

Jeff Machado Headshot | Fiore CommunicationsJeff Machado is a content marketing strategist at Fiore Communications. Follow him on Twitter to ask your content marketing questions.



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