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  • How To Utilize Social Proof In Your Marketing Strategy, The Ultimate Guide

How To Utilize Social Proof In Your Marketing Strategy, The Ultimate Guide

Jun 18 2022 | Debutify Guides
guide image
Let's start this guide by having a mini-quiz!
 
The question is: When customers are online shopping, they're looking for...
 
A. Product features and benefits
 
B. Shipping and delivery options
 
C. Price of the products
 
D. Product reviews from customers
 
E. All of the above
 
Of course, the answer is E. All of the above.
 
Customers want to know the product features, shipping options, pricing, and what your existing customers say about you.
 
The latter is very important.
 
Why? Because before purchasing your products, they want to know other people's experiences with your products.
 
And before we deep dive, let me guess why you're reading this guide right now...
 
You are receiving a lot of customer feedback, but you don't know how to use them for your marketing campaigns.
 
You are collaborating with influencers, but you're unsure where to use their posts about your products.
 
You want to gain more customer feedback, but you don't have a proper system and process in place.
 
Well... good news! Because that ends now.
 
That's what this guide is about today. You'll learn...
 
  • The different kinds of social proof.
  • How to set up your game plan.
  • How to gain more social proof using different techniques.
  • What options are available for you to automate your process.
  • Where to display your social proof.
 
If these topics excite you, let's get down to business.
 
Shall we?
 

What Is Social Proof?

Social proof refers to the act of copying another individual's behavior in a given situation as a psychological and social phenomenon. 
 
Robert Cialdini introduced this concept in his book Influence: Science and Practice in 1984.
 
For example, a person is at a social event. That person will then observe how others act.
 
If the other guests pour a glass of champagne in the same manner, the person observing might also adapt it.
 
This is the same for marketing.
 
Look at this illustration.
 
Social Proof
 
Let's create an illustration similar to this like there are two phones or products. one with 0 star. one with lots of 5 stars. and there is a crowd going or walking to the phone with stars.
 
As you can see, more people are going to the phone that has reviews compared to the other one.
 
That's exactly what social proof is.
 
More people are walking towards the phone with many reviews because they know that your eCommerce store has a lot of satisfied customers.
 
They can see what the experiences of your existing customers are, and they're using those insights to decide if they'll purchase the products, too.
 
So, if you also want a lot of customers flocking to your eCommerce store... you need to have a social proof marketing strategy in place.
 
Now, are you wondering why it is so important? Here's why...

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The Benefits Of Social Proof In Marketing

Social proof has many benefits for your eCommerce store, but let's discuss the three main reasons you need it.

 

1. It Can Build Trust And Strengthen The Credibility Of Your Business

As I said above, more people will purchase from your eCommerce store if they see that a lot of people are also doing it.

In fact, online reviews are influencing the purchase decisions of 93% of consumers.

For consumers, it's not easy to trust an eCommerce store immediately, especially if it's their first time hearing about the brand.

They have many concerns, but social proof can ease their worries.

Let's suppose their concern is a delay in shipping.

Once your happy customers leave positive reviews about your shipping and delivery methods, they can see that others have never experienced that in your eCommerce store.

This proves the importance of social proof.

When they see that others love your product, they'd be willing to try it even if they're first-time buyers!

Aside from building trust and credibility, another benefit of social proof is...

 

2. It Can Help You Increase Sales

Want your sales to boom?

Well, social proof works.

Because once you gain the trust of your potential customers, it will be easier to sell your products.

I'm sure you want to continue expanding your business.

So, if that's the case... you need to utilize social proof for your eCommerce brand.

But wait, there's another benefit...

 

3. It Can Enhance Your Online Brand Presence

After you find the best social proof strategy, you can take advantage of your customer feedback to the fullest.

And that will enhance your online brand presence.

Imagine this...

Your customers create content for you, like videos unboxing or reviewing your products.

Or influencers are promoting your products...

You can use their content on your eCommerce website and marketing materials!

BAM — enhanced online presence!

Okay, I'm sure you already want to get the ball rolling...

Let's jump right in!

Step 1: Know The Different Kinds Of Social Proof

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Before you can take advantage of your social proof, it's essential to know the different kinds of social proof first.

The first example is...

 

1. Influencers

Influencers are people on digital platforms with a significant number of following.

Sometimes it's enormous. Sometimes it's not.

But the best thing about influencers is... they are trusted in their niches. They are considered "experts."

For example, a beauty influencer can have 2,000 followers. But 500 of them are genuinely engaging with that person.

And they trust her when it comes to anything related to beauty.

Now, let's say you sell a beauty product. If that influencer posts about your product, whether a paid ad or not, they can trust their recommendations.

As a result, they might also purchase your products because a trusted person is endorsing them.

The next one is...

 

2. User Generated Content

Newsflash: Ordinary social media users can also post about your products, and you can consider them as social proof!

Yep, content creation is not just limited to influencers.

And it's important for your social proof, too.

Why? Because consumers trust the recommendations of the people they know more than advertisements.

Product photos are great for your website. But some customers want to see user-generated images because they are the actual, unedited photos of your products.

So, user-generated content is also game-changing social proof for your eCommerce business.

Another type of social proof is...

 

3. Website Reviews

Of course, website reviews are one of your primary sources of social proof.

This is where you will show the reviews you're receiving from your customers.

You can have a review form where your customers can quickly leave their feedback.

Or, you can also have a separate page for it.

If you want to learn other ways to display your social proof, keep reading!

The next type of social proof you need to know is...

 

4. Third-Party Reviews

Third-party reviews are feedback outside your website.

It can be through popular review sites. Like Google Reviews, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, or Trustpilot. It depends on where you choose to list your business.

You can list your eCommerce business on these platforms and showcase the reviews on your website (with permission and source, of course!).

That's not all...

 

5. Celebrity Endorsements

Celebrities usually have selling powers because of their massive fan bases.

I mean, let's look at the social media power of the Kardashians. They don't have hundreds of millions of followers for nothing.

And of course, if your potential customers see their idols using the same products... they'd want to purchase them, too!

That's why celebrity endorsement can sell out a product!

This just shows how impactful celebrity social proof is. If you choose the right one, they can help you increase your sales massively.

But wait, there's more...

 

6. Testimonials

Testimonials are statements about your eCommerce brand.

These are customers or industry experts testifying for the efficiency of your products.

This is another great way of social proof because they are talking about how amazing your products are.

And an expert opinion can validate the quality of your products or services because they are knowledgeable in your industry.

And you wouldn't expect the next one...

 

7. Media Features Or Press Mentions

Yep, these are also social proof!

If your eCommerce brand is featured in reputable magazines or publications, it's easier to gain the trust of your prospective customers.

You can use their logos and display them on your website!

They'll know that these trustworthy publications notice your brand by doing this. And they can trust you, too.

Another one is...

 

8. Numbers Of Users

What does it mean?

For example, you can show many people are using your products or services!

Once they see that you have many users, it's easier to convert them into paying customers.

Why? Because if they see that many people are using your products or service, they'd think there is something extraordinary about your product.

And again, social proof means taking inspiration from others' actions. So, they might purchase, too! This is an excellent form of social proof.

Now, we're down to our last two!

 

9. Followers Count

There are eCommerce brands that use their followers as social proof.

When you see a product you like on Instagram, and they have hundreds of thousands of followers... does it affect your purchasing decision?

Apparently, it does.

Because again, social proof is a psychological phenomenon. If they see that hundreds of thousands of people follow you, they might think your brand has something special.

So, some businesses showcase the number of followers on their website!

And lastly...

 

10. Star Ratings

Star ratings indicate how many "stars" customers give your business based on their satisfaction.

Usually, five is the highest.

And you can display your star ratings on your website or if you have product listings on other eCommerce platforms.

Now that you already know the different kinds of social proof, let's...

Step 2: Prepare To Set Up Your Game Plan

guide step

This is the time to prep everything you need to gather more social proof.

First, you need to...

 

1. Identify The Ways To Get Reviews

There are different review sites to list your eCommerce business and get reviews.

It's essential to identify which one you'll be using first because there are different uses for each review site.

So, to set up your game plan, you need to know first where you'll get the reviews.

Here are some options:

 

💡 Third-party review sites

These are review sites or platforms where users can leave genuine reviews about your products or services.

But take note, each of them has different uses.

For example, TripAdvisor is mainly used for travel reviews and recommendations.

And Yelp is for reviewing and sharing information about local businesses.

If you want to gain reviews from these platforms, you need to figure out how to start, create an account, list your business, and learn if you can export and use the reviews on your eCommerce website.

Another way is...

 

💡 Review forms

Yep, you can also gain reviews by having forms on your website.

Of course, this is easier and more accessible for your customers because they can quickly leave reviews on any part of your website.

You also need to be strategic about where you allow them to leave their reviews other than your website.

It can be through email, social media, one-on-one interviews, etc. The point is that they need to have options.

Speaking of which...

 

💡 One-on-one interviews

Want a more detailed testimonial? You can conduct one-on-one interviews with your customers!

You need to be strategic with this method to get the most definite answer from them.

After that, you can ask them for permission to use their feedback. And you can also use their insights to improve the quality of your products and service!

You see, if you don't know where to get reviews, you won't figure out how.

So, that's a crucial step.

The next step to setting up your game plan is...

 

2. Find The Right Influencers

Okay, so you want to collaborate with influencers and use them in your social proof marketing...

One way to prep is by finding the right influencers.

You need to have a checklist before reaching out to them!

Here are some things to remember...

 

✅ Influencers should be within your niche.

As I mentioned above, if you are selling beauty products, your influencer should be posting about beauty.

This will help you maximize the potential reach of your campaigns because they have a following full of beauty enthusiasts.

 

✅ Influencer needs to be aligned with your brand mission.

If you are pushing for sustainability, would you want to work with an influencer that doesn't practice what you preach?

Working with an influencer that aligns with your brand's mission is one way to amplify it.

You need to work with people who can support your cause.

 

✅ Influencers must have a good engagement rate.

Want the best ROI (Return On Investment)? You can work with social media influencers with a strong following.

A less than 1% engagement rate is low for some social media experts. While above 6% is very high.

You can check your desired influencer's engagement rate using third-party sites.

Once you already know the influencers you want to work with...

 

3. Set Your Budget

Okay, this is not just limited to influencers.

Remember the different kinds of social proof? Once you find out which one you want to take advantage of the most, you need to set a budget to achieve it.

For example, if you want to get featured in prominent magazines, you might need to hire a PR agency or Public Relations Specialist to help you.

Or, you can hire a social media expert to strengthen your online presence to get the features for free.

And what if you want to collaborate with an influencer or celebrity? Depending on their online presence, you also need to pay for them.

If you want to get reviews from third-party sites or platforms, you might need to set your budget because some review sites and apps aren't free.

Setting a budget is a necessary process when creating your game plan.

This will determine what your business is capable of and how you can achieve your goals.

Either you can make the most out of what you have or go all in if you have the means!

Here's another one...

 

4. Gather All The Data You Need

You need to compile all the relevant numbers if you want to use them as social proof.

For example, if you're planning to showcase your community, you need to compile all the number of followers from different platforms you're using.

You might also need to put all your customer testimonials and feedback in one file.

That way, it will be easier to go through them when you need to use them on your marketing materials or website.

You can also take a look at your customer base if you want to showcase how many people are using your products.

Once you have all these ready, you can now...

Step 3: Get Your Social Proof

guide step

After prepping your data, budget, list of influencers, and possible platforms... it's time to set up a game plan for getting your social proof!

This depends on what kind of social proof you want to get.

So, I'll try to cover each one of them.

 

1. Connect With Influencers And Celebrities

Influencer and celebrity marketing is huge.

That's why I understand if you want to collaborate with influencers and celebrities to help get your brand out there.

To get your social proof from these public figures, you can start by connecting with them on their social media platforms.

These are different ways to collaborate with these personalities depending on your budget and campaign.

The first one is by sending them a PR package.

If you're not paying them monetarily, some of them might just unbox the products and post them on their Facebook or Instagram stories.

Because if you didn't pay them, it's not actually required to post photos of your products unless you have an agreement.

Another one is by paying them to talk about your products.

This will require them to post about your products and review them. But this also requires a proper disclosure that their post is a paid sponsorship.

And the next one is to make them your brand ambassadors.

If you are a huge and established eCommerce brand, you might have the means to get celebrities to endorse you.

But if you're still making your way to the top, social media influencers are also helpful.

Brand ambassadors are usually long-term. It's not a one-and-done posting.

They are the ones representing your eCommerce brand, and you have to sustain that relationship.

You might have to give them a free PR package if you are releasing new collections or their own referral codes.

After connecting and closing a deal with them, you can now use them as social proof!

So, let's go to the next one...

 

2. Import Reviews To Your Website

What if you already have reviews from different websites... and you want to get and keep them in one place to display on your website or use in your marketing endeavors?

If you have product listings or have been using different review apps, it makes sense if you want to switch to one review app.

Fret not!

Because this is where Debutify Reviews comes into play.

It's an upcoming review app to make your life easier.

You can import your reviews effortlessly using Debutify Reviews from different review platforms.

You can use them on your website even if you already have existing reviews!

But hey, you can also use the reviews from sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Google, or any other review site where you listed your business.

You just need to use a quotation and state where the review came from. If necessary, you can also ask for permission from the posters before you can reuse the reviews on your website.

The more reviews you have, it means the more customers you can encourage to leave reviews of their own.

Another technique to get social proof is to...

 

3. Take Advantage Of Public Relations

What is PR or Public Relations?

It is the public's relationship with any company or public figure.

Public Relations can help you shape how the public will perceive you, and it's one of your social proof.

So, if you want to have a positive brand image, working with a Public Relations Specialist is a must... if you have the budget.

Because if you work with a PR agency or specialist, they are also in charge of connecting with media companies, digital publications, and the likes.

They will help you make your business known to the public.

If you're not yet ready to pay a sum for these people, you can also prepare a business kit in case you want to pitch your business to media outlets.

If you want to showcase your social media presence, another way is to...

 

4. Grow Your Social Media Following

So, you're thinking of displaying how many followers you have on social media and selling using the platform.

To achieve this, you need an optimized social media strategy.

Here are some quick things you need to take note of:

First, you need a strong brand identity online.

An online brand identity is one way to make your brand stand out.

Why? Because that will help your potential customers remember you. Once they see a particular color, logo, or photo, they'd know it's you wherever they're browsing.

And that's how you can increase your social media following.

But that's not everything you need to do.

You also need to create a content strategy.

Your content marketing strategy includes what to post that will attract more followers.

It can be entertaining content on TikTok or educational posts about your products on Instagram.

It depends on the platform you're using and your target audience.

And lastly, you can also collaborate with influencers.

Yep, influencer marketing... again.

One way to quickly grow your social media reach is by having an influencer help you promote your business.

Why? Because they already have an established online presence and following.

And once they promote your business, that's already social proof!

Next is...

 

5. Set Up Your Email Marketing

You can also get social proof through email marketing.

Once your customers purchase from your eCommerce store, you can email them asking for feedback.

So, how to set up your email marketing? Here are some tips for starters.

First, you need to find an email marketing tool.

You need something that caters to your needs and suits your budget.

Next, you need to create an email marketing strategy.

This includes how you'll write the email, the feedback form, and the Key Performance Indicators you'll set for your emails.

And lastly, you have to find a schedule for sending emails.

You can send the feedback request a day or two after they receive your orders. Or, you can send a reminder after a week. It depends on what you come up with!

Now you're ready to get your social proof!

After that, it's time to...

Step 4: See The Results

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After getting your social proof, it's time to see which one worked well.

You can measure the success through these analytics:

  1. Reach. This is how many people you reach through a specific post on social media.
  2. Impressions. It means how many people have seen your post.
  3. Link clinks or website clicks. How many people clicked on your links or website?
  4. Referral codes. How many people used a certain celebrity or influencer's code?
  5. Influencer engagement rate. Ask the influencers for the insights of their post about your products.

These are just some of the insights you can use. And for more in-depth analysis, you can take advantage of your Google Analytics to deep dive into the performance of your campaigns.

Or, you can also ask your customers how they heard about your eCommerce brand through Debutify's Order Feedback Add-On!

Order Feedback Add-On

You can customize the options and add your own. For example, you can include social media, referrals, influencers, celebrities, or third-party platforms in the possible options.

But before anything else, you also need to look back on your goals and the KPIs you set.

Then you need to ask yourself...

  • Which one brought the most followers?
  • Which social proof helped me achieve my goals the most?
  • Who brought the most sales? Influencers or my existing customers?
  • Which avenue or platform didn't bring in results?
  • Did I reach my goal and KPIs or Key Performance Indicators?

Once you have the answers to these, you have to fine-tune your social proof strategy to continue gaining reviews, collaborations, and features.

For example, your goal is to increase your website traffic. You tried utilizing influencers, third-party review platforms, and user-generated content from social media to achieve this.

By the end of the quarter or during your monthly review...

You noticed that user-generated content and reviews from third-party platforms bring more traffic to your website.

You're going to level up your content marketing to get more relevant feedback from your customers on social media and other platforms.

You also need to identify some loopholes in your influencer marketing strategy.

You're probably thinking this is the end of utilizing your social proof... but nope! Because you need to...

Step 5: Keep Your Social Proof Coming

guide step

As they say...

Want more, do more.

So, to enjoy your social proof benefits more, you should come up with ways to get more.

Wondering how?

Keep reading!

 

1. Optimize Your Website And Make It Easy To Leave Reviews

Leaving reviews on your website doesn't have to be similar to an 8-step skincare routine.

It has to be convenient and straightforward.

So, what are you going to do?

You can put a review section anywhere on your website where it's accessible by your customers. It can be on your product pages or a standalone page dedicated to reviews.

This will encourage them more to leave reviews because it's easy to do so.

You're probably wondering... how?

You can use a review app and integrate it with your eCommerce store. There are review apps that even allow you to customize the review forms and widgets based on your preferences.

And Debutify Reviews is one of them!

It allows you to customize the looks of your review widgets to suit your brand. Because we know how important it is to maintain a consistent brand identity. 😉

Another way to keep your social proof coming is to...

 

2. Automate The Process

Newsflash: You don't have to do everything manually to get social proof!

There are a ton of ways to automate the process—from asking your customers for review to managing it.

It doesn't have to be hard!

You need to automate processes to ensure the coherence of your overall business system.

Wondering how?

Debutify Reviews can help with your problem!

It lets you send review requests to your customers and remind those who haven't left feedback yet. And yep, they're all automated!

Again, you can even customize the email templates to match your brand.

Automation can make your life easier, so make sure to grab Debutify Reviews once it's available!

And to encourage more customers to leave reviews, you can also...

 

3. Give Incentives For Every Review

Who doesn't want to get some discounts or freebies, right? 🤩

I'm sure your customers want this, too!

So, to encourage them to leave more feedback... you can offer them incentives every time they leave reviews.

But wait, here's the good news...

You can automate this process, too!

With Debutify Reviews, you can offer incentives and select the amount that works for your business.

And once the unique discount code is ready, you can also alert them via email!

See? Such a fantastic way to encourage more customers to submit their feedback.

And that's not all... because you also need to...

 

4. Nurture Your Business Relationships

Your connections don't just include your customers.

It also includes your influencers, brand ambassadors, celebrities, PR, and media relations.

If you want to gain more social proof in the future and have a solid digital presence, you need these people in your business.

You can send them some of your products when you release a new collection.

Or, you can also personalize! You can send them gifts on their special occasions.

Nurturing your relationships with people who help make your eCommerce business booming will be fruitful in the long run.

So, you're now ready to go all out in utilizing your social proof!

But wait... to make sure you are making the most out of it, let me show you some ways to display them strategically!

BONUS: Step 6

Where To Display Your Social Proof?

guides bonus step

You may have received a lot of feedback on your eCommerce store...

And content creators and customers are tagging your products on social media...

But if you're not using them correctly, they might go to waste!

You didn't go through all these steps to just let them vanish into thin air.

So now, we'll talk about where you can use and display your social proof!

 

1. Create A Reviews Page

There are different ways to display your product reviews on your website...

But you can create a separate and entire page for it, too.

This will be helpful for your potential customers who want to see all the reviews on one page.

You can compile all the user-generated content, testimonials, customer feedback, photos, and videos in one place.

So that means your customers will have no trouble finding what they're looking for.

What's next?

 

2. Highlight Reviews On Your Home Page

You are doing your potential customers and business a favor by displaying the most relevant reviews on your home page.

When scrolling on your eCommerce website, they don't have to navigate elsewhere to see what your customers say.

They can easily find it as they scroll!

Here's an example from MFMG Cosmetics.

Highlight Reviews On Your Home Page

You can see on their home page that they display their customer feedback and how many stars the customers gave them.

And as I said, this is very convenient for potential customers because they don't have to navigate here and there to find what they're looking for.

Another way to display your social proof is...

 

3. Repurpose Them Into Social Media Posts

If you want to showcase your customer feedback and reach more people off your website, repurposing them into social media posts can help you.

Let's see an example:

Repurpose Them Into Social Media Posts

When I searched for customer feedback on Instagram, here's one of the top results.

As you can see, Dynamic iMarketing shared their client's testimonials on their Instagram account. This is a great way to show their social media followers the efficiency of their services!

But remember...

You need to ask permission from your customer or client.

Some of them value their privacy and probably don't want their name out on your social media accounts together with their feedback. Or, you can tell them that you'll blur their name.

The point is, ask for their consent before sharing and using their feedback on your social media.

You can also...

 

4. Use Them On Your Paid Marketing Materials

Have you ever seen an influencer or celebrity talking about a product on paid ads?

If you collaborate with internet personalities or public figures, they create digital content for you.

And boosting the posts or using their content for your paid ads will help you increase your eCommerce store's reach, site visitors, and other goals you set for your campaigns.

I know it sounds good.

But here's the thing...

You need to make sure you have an agreement with the influencer or celebrity.

They have rights to their own content, so you need to secure an agreement with them that they permit you to use their content as your marketing materials.

Some of them might demand a monetary payment. You need to allot a budget for it.

Another social proof you can use on your marketing materials is the numbers...

By numbers, I mean how many people use your products or services.

For example, you can say "Trusted By 500+ People" on the image of your paid ad. That's also enticing for prospects.

And lastly...

 

5. Use Them In Your Email Marketing Efforts

Email marketing is also an efficient digital marketing strategy for your eCommerce store.

And the best part is that you can also showcase your social proof through your newsletters.

Here's a great example from Bossbabe:

Use Them In Your Email Marketing Efforts

You can see how they mentioned that this masterclass helped them grow their followers to over 3.6 million.

This is a huge number that can really attract prospects who want to achieve the same thing.

Not only that, but it also strengthens their credibility through these numbers.

So... are you ready to implement these tips?

Utilize Your Social Proof Properly To Achieve Your Business Goals!

 

Let's have a quick recap, shall we?

In this guide, you learned how to...

  • Know The Different Types Of Social Proof
  • Prepare To Set Up Your Game Plan
  • Get Your Social Proof
  • See And Measure The Results
  • Keep Your Social Proof Coming
  • Strategically Display Your Social Proof

Let's be real... being an eCommerce brand owner is not easy.

Stepping up your game is always required if you want to get the best results.

But as they say, nothing is impossible!

Sometimes, you just need to find the best strategies and tools to help you achieve your goals.

And for social proof in digital marketing, Debutify Reviews is the app you'll need.

It will let you collect, manage, and display your reviews in just one app. If you want this for your eCommerce brand...

 

Use Debutify Reviews and elevate your eCommerce brand!

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