6 Tips to Take Your Social Proof to the Next Level in 2023

The fundamentals of social proof are the same from Robert Cialdini’s definition to today’s marketing term “social proof.” In a nutshell, we observe other people’s actions and believe that if an entire crowd puts their trust in a certain product or brand, that’s where we should place our trust, too. 

Last year, CXL published an article in which they asked nine experts for their thoughts and experiences with social proof. While their perspectives differed, they all agreed on one point: social proof is essential if used correctly. 

But what exactly does it mean to implement social proof correctly? 

Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe, but there are some best practices to guide your efforts. The science of psychology provides the answer to the question of why social proof is so powerful, and if you want to implement social proof on your website properly so that it helps build trust in your brand and boost conversions, you’ll want to understand the psychology behind these best practices.

So, led by psychology, we will go over five tips with you, analyze why they are successful, provide examples, and assist you in implementing them yourself. Let’s get started.


Show Real-Time Sales Notifications

Now, you’re probably thinking – How is this social proof? 

Look at it from the perspective of a shopper. You’re browsing websites, looking for a specific product to buy or even just a way to solve a certain pain point, and you notice a pop-up in the corner that says, “John near you just bought this product.” 

For most consumers, the first thought is going to be something along the lines of: “Someone else is shopping here at the same time as me. There are other customers on this site, and they are buying. This must imply that the product is of high quality.” And there you have your social proof.

However, that’s not the only selling power of real-time sales notifications. Their effectiveness is amplified by FOMO – the fear of missing out. As a shopper, you will now feel compelled to purchase that product as soon as possible because it’s obviously selling well, so you start fearing that it might sell out if you hesitate too long.


Dress Forms USA reassures potential customers that they’re at the right place by showing them purchases made by other customers just like them. They inform visitors that someone purchased something from them using pop-ups that catch attention but aren’t flashy.

Source: dressformsusa.com/

How to Make It Work for You

You can basically attach real-time notifications to any kind of conversion, including:

  • general product purchases 
  • specialized product purchases 
  • when someone registers on your website
  • when someone signs up on your website

To capitalize on creating a sense of urgency, you can use an “on fire” notification to inform visitors when a product in your store sells extremely quickly. 


Humanize Your Reviewers

According to Nielsen’s study, 70% of shoppers will trust a referral from someone they don’t know. This is one of the reasons why practically every website has a review or testimonial section.

However, if you want exceptional outcomes, having testimonials in the form of a quotation on your website is simply not enough. Aside from the quotation, it helps to include a photograph of your customer, and if you’re in a B2B industry, you’ll also want to include the reviewer’s job title and the name of their company. And why is it the case? 

According to research, seeing a human face along with a statement from that human makes the viewer more trusting and more easily persuaded in the accuracy of that statement. As for B2B instances, the psychological principle of similarity is used to evaluate the job title and company name. When we see a testimonial from someone in a similar job position as ourselves, we are more likely to like and trust them – simply because they are similar to us. 

Of course, the decision-making process in B2B companies is more complex than in B2C, but the fact remains that showing reviews written by professionals from other companies helps boost your credibility. 


Pictures, job titles, and company logos, as Kissmetrics discovered, provide legitimacy to their testimonials. Why don’t you take a look for yourself? Which image do you believe is more convincing, the first or the second?

Source: www.kissmetrics.io/

How to Make It Work for You

First and foremost, consider your target audience. Who among your current customers will have an impact on them? 

If your future clients can relate to your testimonials, then testimonials matter a lot. Give credibility to a testimonial by giving it a face and providing related details, and a potential customer will be more inclined to believe it and like you. 


Combine Reviews with User-Generated Content 

Take your social proof a step further by showcasing UGC (user-generated content) on your social media channels and even your website. 

People talking about your brand and products on their social media profiles – especially when nobody asked them to in the first place – is more convincing than any kind of review you, as a brand, would vet and post. After all, these satisfied customers obviously have no ax to grind, and you certainly do. 

Another great thing about UGC is that it shows your product in a real-life setting and from various angles, sometimes even in use. In this way, the product comes closer to the customer’s imagination. And if you’re offering a service, a photo from a satisfied client shows a genuine experience.


Preset Love offers free Lightroom presets on their website. To boost the persuasiveness of their reviews, they’ve included their users’ artwork. Visitors not only get to see authentic reviews but genuine art created with the very tool that the brand is offering and that they’re checking out.

Source: presetlove.com/

How to Make It Work for You

Begin by adding an image upload option to your reviews. Most people will need more convincing to post their photo, so you can offer them a discount or a (modest) gift in return for an image. 

You can also add a photo gallery next to your reviews so that interested shoppers can see all of the photos others have taken of that product. If you’re looking for e-commerce site inspiration, this type of gallery is frequently found on Amazon.


Tell Customer Stories with Case Studies

Case studies are also known as the long form of social proof. They are data-driven and statistically based. However, it’s important that you do not rely just on numbers solely when creating one. Look for an enticing narrative instead. The numbers and stats are necessary to make your case, but you also need to tie them in with a compelling (and human) story of overcoming a challenge. 

Talk about the partnership between you and your client and how you solved a specific problem together. Random numbers became impressive if you were able to draw your reader into the story. Readers need to picture themselves in your client’s shoes, achieving incredible outcomes for their company. Finally, you want them to read everything and to want to work on your next big project.


Sprout Social has done an excellent job with its case studies. They’re not just intriguing and engaging, but they’ve also included a video of their client talking about their journey. Some people enjoy seeing these videos more than reading the case studies. Not to mention that by using a video, you are putting a face to your client and giving the case study more credibility.

Source: sproutsocial.com/customers/

How to Make It Work for You

Ask your most successful client for collaboration. You need a complete overview of your customer’s journey when you use case studies. So, ask them about:

  • the challenges and pain points that drove them to look for a product or service like yours 
  • what inspired them to choose to work with you
  • the roadblocks they encountered on their route to a better outcome
  • how you assisted them in overcoming these challenges
  • the moment they experienced a transformation
  • how life has changed since then

Showcase Your Prestige Customers

The reason social proof is such an important part of modern marketing is that it speaks to the reasons that people feel hesitant to convert.

Very often, these reasons involve fear of risk. The last thing prospective customers want is to commit to a relationship with a new service provider where they’re not getting what they’re paying for.

One way to set a potential customer’s mind at ease is to make it very clear that your brand is already doing business with one or more reputable, established companies.

Shining a big, bright spotlight on your most prestigious customers is a great way to earn credibility for your brand because, in the mind of a customer, these large organizations are very unlikely to do business with a fly-by-night.

And, they’d be right. While it’s certainly not true in all cases, larger organizations do tend to be more discerning when it comes to choosing service providers. They also tend to have the means to choose vendors based on performance, rather than price.

This principle was researched by ComScore, who found that including a recognizable customer logo on their website increased incoming leads by almost 70%.


Voices.com go all-in on this approach to social proof, showcasing an impressive selection of customer logos right beneath their homepage’s hero-header.

Source: www.voices.com/

Giving this section such prominence is a great way to put the visitor’s mind in a positive space as they browse the rest of the site. Throughout their journey, they’ll have the notion in the backs of their minds that the brand can be trusted because it’s already being trusted by a number of highly reputable companies.

How to Make It Work for You

There are a bunch of thighs to bear in mind when applying this form of social proof.

  • Be truthful. Don’t place a brand here if they are not an actual customer of yours.
  • Best practice dictates that logos be displayed in grayscale rather than color. This helps the logos not overwhelm your own branding.
  • Obtain permission from your customers first. If you don’t do this, you could land up in quite a bit of legal trouble.


Don’t Forget About Customer Service Reviews

Customer service is vital to 96% of consumers when considering whether or not to stay loyal to a brand. So, unsurprisingly, customer service reviews provide potential buyers with some much-needed reassurance. When making a purchasing decision, people want to feel protected, knowing that if they have an issue, you will be there to assist them.


Rain or Shine Golf did exactly that. They even have a tag labelled “service” that allows you to filter reviews based on whether they mention customer service.

Source: Rainorshinegolf.com

How to Make It Work for You

Encourage your customer service employees to kindly ask for a review once they’ve completed their work with a customer. Compile these reviews frequently and post them on your website. 


Final Thoughts

There’s a world of opportunity out there when it comes to using social proof to boost your business. Of course, you can adopt simple fundamentals and be done with it, but your audience simply won’t be so compelled to trust you. Putting in more effort, on the other hand, will definitely pay off. 

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