Social proof is a powerful tool for any industry but for ecommerce marketing, it is especially useful. Your customers are your biggest promotion tool. In the era of social media and transparency, your reputation can be greatly affected by the way current and potential customers see your brand. When you ignore the impact that word of mouth, reviews, and shares have on your brand, you run the risk of losing some of your reputation – no matter how hard-earned it may be.
When you invest in social proof, you will be able to leverage the way that the world sees your brand. Instead of trying to hide in the shadows, you will be able to turn customers into brand ambassadors, increasing your reputation in the process.
How does social proof work for ecommerce marketing and how can you go about increasing your store’s social proof? In this guide, we take a closer look and share some tips on how to leverage your social proof.
How to Use Social Proof in Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
In many ecommerce marketing campaigns, the focus lies on you telling potential customers why they should buy from your store. In social proof, the focus lies on customers telling other customers why they should purchase. The goal of this strategy is to make use of the trust that comes from personal recommendations, word of mouth, referrals, and consumer-to-consumer suggestions. Used as part of a broader ecommerce marketing strategy, this approach is designed to increase sales, drive trust, and build loyalty. It also boosts your existing efforts, resulting in a balanced ecommerce marketing strategy made to deliver results.
There are several different ways to make use of social proof within your strategy. Some of the most effective ways to get more from this approach include the following:
1. Display testimonials strategically
Testimonials are certainly not a new concept in ecommerce. These can be used in numerous ways and various parts of your site, from the home page to your store profile page and product pages. To get the most value from testimonials, use them strategically and choose them carefully. On your home page, they can be used to build trust by talking about your store in general or your shipping times or customer service. On your about page, they can be used to talk more about your key products, best-sellers or variety of goods. On product pages, they can promote specific products and share how they have been used by previous happy customers.
2. Enhance product pages
On the topic of product pages, these offer many opportunities for social proof. The most obvious opportunity is user reviews. Showing the rating above the fold, in addition to the number of reviews, is essential to help potential customers quickly scan products. Featuring reviews either on a tab or further down the page follows through by giving customer feedback on products. If you are concerned about negative reviews putting customers off, don’t be… these can be extremely beneficial in ecommerce marketing. Make sure that you respond quickly to negative reviews. This will show that you proactively act and that you listen to all customer feedback – even when it is not positive. Other ways to enhance social proof on product pages include showing the number of Facebook likes, the number of social media shares, the number of purchases, and similar product recommendations.
3. Bring in the experts
Experts take testimonials to a whole new level. Instead of finding any remotely famous or trusted person, even if they do not have much relevance to your products, find someone who has a genuine link to what you are offering. If you sell health or fitness products, you could invite a personal trainer to sample your products. If you sell women’s clothing, you could feature a fashion editor. Even if the expert is not famous, it is their expertise in your product type that makes them such a valuable asset. The goal here is letting customers know that experts endorse your products and that experts use products like yours.
4. Optimise category pages
Along with product pages, category pages can also be optimised. A simple yet effective way to achieve this is to use previous purchases in the category. You could show these visually to promote products that have been popular with customers. Another way to optimise category pages for social proof is to highlight best-sellers or popular choices in each category. You could also indicate products within the category that is almost sold-out, to encourage shoppers to act quickly. This can be done by adding labels such as ‘3 left’ on category page thumbnails as well as product pages.
5. Identify brand fans
While influencer marketing remains a popular tool, you have a large following of fans that can be every bit as convincing. Creating brand ambassadors has many benefits. The most obvious one is building trust for new customers. Another big benefit is building lifetime loyalty. There are a few ways to use the power of brand fans. You could consider a social media takeover, which lets customers share their photos of them using your products for a set timeframe – 24-hours or on specific days, for example. You could make use of brand-specific hashtags and encourage customers to share their purchases. These can be incredibly engaging and interactive, with the added benefit of adding more personality to your brand.
6. Involve your customers
You can involve your customers in numerous other ways, too. You can ask for feedback on order confirmation emails. You can share your brand hashtags and encourage them to share their new purchase on their social pages. You can ask for testimonials. You can incentivise word of mouth referrals with loyalty points or discounts. Unboxing videos are very popular on YouTube, and for good reason. Ask customers to share their unboxing moments and turn unpacking into something fun. Personalised email campaigns can be planned to provide excellent post-purchase service, too. Try emailing customers a day or two after delivery to find out if they are enjoying their purchase and combine this with upselling or cross-selling for even more value.
Add More to Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
A good ecommerce marketing strategy should be well-rounded, integrated and designed with customers in mind. Social proof is one of the best ways to ensure that your customers are at the forefront of your marketing efforts in a way that is authentic and built on trust. It helps you grow your brand organically, without the risk of over-selling or other aggressive tactics. It can also be a highly cost-effective strategy, with a much lower budget compared to paid campaigns.
Social proof should not be seen as a stand-alone strategy to use in place of other strategies. Instead, it should be seen as a tool within your broader digital marketing toolbox. For best results, use social proof alongside email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and lead generation. This will give you the best chance of growing your customer base naturally and simply. Investing in your brand does not have to mean spending a great deal of time, resources and effort on strategies that have little to no effect on conversion. Instead, it simply means using what you have to see genuine growth in your ecommerce marketing efforts.