When people are insecure, they turn to others for behavioral guidance. This is called social proof, which is a physiological effect that influences your decisions every day, whether you know it or not.
TO Demand curve and through our agency Bell curve, we’ve helped over 1,000 startups improve their ability to convert cold traffic into repeat customers. We have found that effective use of social proof can lead to up to a 400% improvement in conversion.
This post shares exactly how to collect and use social proof to help grow your SaaS, eCommerce, or B2B startup.
Surprisingly, we have seen negative reviews that help improve conversion rates. Why? Because they help set customer expectations.
How Companies Use Social Proof
Have you ever stopped to see a restaurant because it had a long line of people in front of it? That was not by chance.
It is common for restaurants to limit the size of their reception area. This forces people to wait outside, and the line tells people passing by that the restaurant is so good that it is worth the wait.
But for internet-based businesses, social proof looks a bit different. Instead of people lining up outside your store, you need to create social proof that resonates with your target customers – they will look for different clues to indicate whether doing business with your company is “normal” or “acceptable.” behaviour.
Social proof for B2B
People love to compare themselves to others, and this is especially true when it comes to B2B company clients. If your competitor can get a contract with a company that he has been promoting for months, he would be angry (and want to know how he did it).
Therefore, B2B social proof is most effective when it displays the logos of the companies you do business with. These signals to people who visit your website indicate that other companies trust you to fulfill their offer. The more noticeable or respected your site logos are, the greater the influence.
Social proof for SaaS
Depending on the type of SaaS product or service you sell, you will sell it to an individual or a business. The strategy remains the same, but the channels will vary slightly.
The most effective way to generate social proof for SaaS products is through positive reviews from trusted sources. For the SaaS consumer, that will be through influential bloggers and YouTubers who speak highly of your product. For B2B SaaS, it will be through positive ratings on review sites like G2 or Capterra. Proudly display these testimonials on your site.
Social proof for eCommerce brands
Ecommerce brands will generally sell directly to an individual through ads, but because anyone can buy an ad, you will need to show trust in other ways. The most common way we see ecommerce brands building social proof is by fostering an organic following of social media on Instagram or TikTok.
This tells new customers that you have the seal of approval from others like them. Having an audience also allows you to display user-generated content from your existing customers.
How to collect social proof
There are five avenues that startups can take to collect social proof:
- Product reviews
- Public relations and media won
- Social media and community
Here are some tactics we’ve used to help startups build social proof.