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Why Social Proof Is So Bloody Important

Based on normative social influence, people will conform to others opinions. That’s the crux of it. Human nature.

If you see a testimonial from an industry expert you respect, or someone else whose opinion you value, that’s social proof.

If someone is already using the tool/product/service that you listen to, that’s social proof.

When you sign up for a demo because you see the tool solved the exact problem you have for a similar company or person, that’s social proof.

Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle Is The Way, offers a great summary of why it works.

“Of course it depends on what the landing page is for—and what the goal is. But generally, a better way to look at it would be: When do humans not want to see social proof?”

And that, is also an example of social proof.

6 Basic Types of Social Proof

  1. Case studies
  2. Testimonials
  3. Reviews
  4. Social Media
  5. Trust Icons (where else “it” is used)
  6. Data / Numbers

You won’t go far wrong if you drop all the above into your landing pages, as part of the “story” of the page they are reading.

Don’t wack them all at the top of the page, or all at the bottom – use them to break up the narrative and keep people’s attention.

Whilst adding that social proof at the same time.

For that reason, I’ve made it super easy to add testimonials to your landing pages on t4s.site. And then possibly move them around as your visitor heatmaps build up and you can “see” what they are “seeing”.

Don’t over use social proof

Studies have shown that too much is seen as pushing it down the visitors throat.

So use them wisely to back up what you’re saying – not as a blatant “here’s the social proof” tactic.

Use them as proof of your story, as implied social proof and/or activity social proof.

Here are a few of the elements of social proof that you should be constantly optimizing:

  1. The type of social proof. Try the six standard types, the three new spins and the dozens of other options available. Social proof works, but how you present it can be optimised for more lift.
  2. The content of social proof. Don’t stop looking for social proof once you have filled the three testimonial slots on your landing page. Always be mining for it so that you can rotate the content and test for the best results. Try testimonials that address objections, testimonials that talk about the benefits, testimonials that use your core keywords, etc.
  3. The placement of social proof. We’ve all seen the three testimonials at the bottom of the landing page design. Push back when your designer recommends hiding your social proof away at the bottom every single time. You want to be designing for conversions.

Angie Schottmuller, a well-known growth marketing expert, is literally writing the book on social proof.

Her model for grading the persuasion quality of social proof is known as C-R-A-V-E-N-S. Is the social proof credible, relevant, attractive (emotionally), visual, enumerated, nearby and specific?

To summarise

  • Support your copy or call to action
  • Counter objections
  • Use social proof strategically
  • Support the argument you’re making and the story you’re telling
  • Humanise your marketing with social proof (show who is “saying it”)

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