Marketing | 12 min read

Apr 2, 2019

What Social Proof is in Digital Marketing and Some Examples

After you get your business online, the next step is to make it get to the top of the search results. The trick to do that is not just to use the right keywords but to keep your visitors engaged, and know how to convince them to take action.

That’s where social proof comes in, helping visitors trust what you’ve to offer, so that they make the purchase.

Marketing Traditionally versus Digitally

Growing a business no longer mean having to spend two or three times your investment, or waiting weeks or months before seeing results or the return of your investment (ROI).  

The internet has dramatically changed the way we get our message across the globe and exponentially increased commercial revenues. How many customers you are able to retain over a longer period of time, depends on how satisfied they are – and that’s what digital marketing focuses on. 

With the right strategy, you reduce your overall marketing costs, and boost sales.

Digital marketing vs. traditional advertising nin the 21st century.
Digital marketing vs. traditional advertising nin the 21stcentury.

While marketing experts advise using a combination of traditional and online strategies for optimal profit-making ventures, recent SEO statistics show that the first 5 results of an organic search in Google, for instance, receive about 70% of user clicks.

The question for your business is:

  • How do you get your local business to the top amidst all that search traffic,
  • How do you keep visitors landing on your page convinced about what you are selling them?
  • How do you convert their curiosity into an action?

This is where Social Proof comes into the big picture.

Organic searches via Google alone account for 2.3M searches per minute while other search engines like Baidu (13%), Bing (7%) and Yahoo (5%) have their share.


What is Social Proof in Digital Marketing?

Social Proof is one of the few online marketing strategies that are effective.  To social proof your business is to show that your clients and customers trust what you offer. New prospects see the quantity and quality of site visits, your followers, shares, and reviews, as well as your social interactions, to name a few. 

With a digital marketing strategy, you are probably already creating websites, investing in content marketing, creating banners and advertising on Google ads, so why not add in social proof tools to the mix?

There are a few things you need to know about Social Proof though before you jump the wagon. For one, there is something known as negative social proof too. It has the effect of convincing people to do what you actually don’t want them to do or believe.  Consider the campaign phrase of a local bank, “Eighty-five percent of (the working class) don’t have a retirement plan”. 

What this quote does is ineffectively endorsing retirement plans by stating that the norm is not to get one and effectively implying you will benefit if you get one.

On the other hand, having positive Social Proof tools be strategically placed on landing pages can help customers make quicker decisions top purchase.

Since Social Proof metrics are better with pictures or photos, you can benefit more with a service like TrustActivity. It helps make customers more confident about your product r service, and helps them know they’re on the right track.

How to Implement Social Proof in Your Marketing Strategy

You can get your social proof from a number of sources. You can, of course, display the traffic and sales statistics on your site, but some things can boost your social proof like nothing else. Let's check out some of the best approaches that can support your marketing socially:

Approach People Who Are Famous

Do you feel encouraged to buy a product that your favorite celebrity uses?

Sure, we all do! Endorsing your products by celebrities is one of the oldest tricks in the realm of social proof. You can, too, influence your prospects by getting a celebrity to speak about your product.

However, you don't always need a Hollywood star to feature in your social proof. An Instagram post by a celebrity or a tweet can go a long way to generate trust and brand awareness.

Ask the Serious Experts

Have you seen how toothpaste ads always say, "9 out of 10 dentists recommend our brand?"

That's the power of expert social proof! People are more likely to believe an expert rather than an average person. So if you sell combs, you can get a hair specialist onboard to promote your product.

Maybe a Facebook post with a few lines from the expert and a pic of your product are enough to do the trick! You can also count in social media influencers among celebrities.

Following the Crowd

This is a simple trick to woo your potential customers.

We are wired to believe in the wisdom of the crowd. That's why we read reviews and visit restaurants where most of the town eats. Businesses also know this for a fact and use the technique to the fullest.

You must have seen the following phrases on many websites:

"Serving 50,000 customers around the world"

 "70,000 units sold worldwide"

"45,000 clients across the world place their trust in us"

These simple sentences show how your product or service is popular with so many customers. People believe these social proofs and place their trust in your brand.

Make the Most of Users or Customers

The users of your product or service are the best to promote your brand. People also trust them highly, as they have actually used the product.

Many marketers share user generated content to create social proof. Let's say you sell inflatable pools. One of your customers buys your pool shares a picture of his kids splashing around with your pool.

This gives you the perfect opportunity to show your prospects how your customers are enjoying your product. You can share the picture on your social media accounts and connect instantly with a broader audience.

User generated content is more relatable and creates strong social proof.

Go for Credits and Certifications

You may need to put in a bit of work to get noticed using this method. Certifications or approvals like a verified social media account or blue tick beside your twitter handle generate considerable social proof.

People will be more likely to select your brand and place trust in what you say.

You can get creative and invent new ways of getting social proof. Just let us know in the comments so that others can also benefit!

The Top Social Proof Examples

If you let your customers speak about your products and services, it means you have succeeded in helping crease your own social influencers. You can do this in different ways.

  1. Customer testimonials. Testimonials or reviews are by far the most effective way to sway your visitors to go the ‘purchase now’ direction.  As simple as a line, a short narrative or an anecdote when presented at the right time can effectively persuade the hesitant and doubters to take action.
  2. Case studies. Usually presented in a readable format such as graphs, tables, infographics and research heading screenshots, case studies uses logic to appeal to consumers.
  3. Number of likes or shares. Perhaps the most widely-used Social Proofing strategy, social media shares and likes are the easiest to monitor as well because of the convenience on the part of what users need to do: Click the Like or Share button, no typing, no photos necessary.
  4. Embedded social media posts. The beauty about using social media is that posts are almost always interconnected to other posts. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and even Google+ can all be linked and you have a network of Social Proof tools on one site.
  5. Press mentions. You must have seen companies proudly displaying media logos on their homepages. Any mention in the press or coverage by the media is something people eat up like anything. Needless to say, it also goes a long way to establish social proof and trust.
  6. Number of followers or subscribers. Subscribers are money on platforms like YouTube. Additionally, they can also serve as strong social proofs. You can count this example among the "following the crowd" approach we discussed above.
  7. Client logos. Like press logos, client logos also generate social trust. Let's say you sell raw materials to Coca Cola. Surely, this is a big thing, and you want people to know. This is the reason many companies out client logos on their websites.
  8. Share achievements. Achievements of milestones are great tools to create social proof. Share how your company achieved its objectives or even surpassed them. Examples of milestones can include- "Achieved 10,000 app downloads," or, "reached 20,000 subscribers," or, "completed 25 years."
  9. Share shout-outs. This can be considered a type of user generated content. Many times your customers will leave a shout-out on social media. Maybe you have donated some money in the times of COVID-19, and a customer showed appreciation by putting up a status. You can easily share these shout-outs on your social media to influence your prospects. Also, consider including them in your content or blog posts.

All of the above examples depend on engagement. Make all efforts to engage and interact with your audience. Then nudge them with social proofs to help them make the purchasing decision.

There are countless more channels to Social Proof your site.

How Does Social Proof Tools Increase Website Conversion?

Robert Cialdini coined the term Social Proof, also known as social influence,in his book Influencepublished in 1984. He defines it as an occurrence where people want to copy another’s behavior and action in a given situation.

Picture a movie theater with a long queue on a premier night.  People are in line not because they had no better movie options to watch but because they know and believe that they will be seeing a blockbuster film. 

How do they know that they are not busting their money on a low-quality production?  They came with their partners, friends or colleagues who recommended it or at least read about the story plot, or how the actors played their roles.

It’s how Social Proof works.  More information about a product helps customers make the buying decision.  It’s also why you just cannot leave out a call-to-action on your landing page.

Positive Social Proof is done through presenting facts, data, and confirmable claims to help create high demand, by letting customers know that they product or service meets their specifications or stated needs.

With a better conversion ratio, you get more ROI and sales. shows current visitors concurrent booking activities with hotels and properties, influencing them to reserve a room with this popular accommodation.


The Best Social Proof Software - Trustactivity

TrustActivity, among the best social proof tools out there today, can be installed on any website. The comprehensive social proofing tool lets users know about the site, including real-time traffic data and other customer reviews.  For instance, tourists looking into booking their room can actively see how many more of the same accommodation is available and the number of customers who are looking at the same page too.

As a web owner, you can install TrustActivity on your site with just one piece of code. The 7-day trial means you can try it out first, to see if it suits you.  

It works just about everywhere, from iPad, smartphones, desktop to laptops and there are plenty of customization features available as well. You can set all the things your customers can see, including the timings, the language, and live visitor counts.

Combine that with the 24/7 support service, and you’ve a winner  It’s easy for both you and your customers to trust TrustActivity with your site, since all data is true and accurate, in turn helping build a safer place online.


Greg Hickman