The use of social proof in website design has its roots in social psychology. The concept of social proof says that people are more likely to do business with you if there are clear indicators that other people are also doing business with you (and that doing business with you is safe).
There are a variety of different types of social proof you can place on your website or landing page to increase conversions.
Testimonials are a very strong form of social proof because they clearly say to the visitor “a person like you is using my product/service successfully.” When using a testimonial as social proof be sure to include the person’s name and also a picture if you can.
If your customer(s) have privacy concerns regarding using their full name on your site, you can always do shorten the names down to something like “Bob A.” or “B. Applesmith.”
If your customer(s) consent, it is also a nice touch to be able to add a picture of the person next to the testimonial.
If your testimonial is from a company (because you’re a B2B brand), use the company logo in place of a headshot of the person.
2. Trust Badges
Trust badges like those from “TRUSTe,” “McAfee,” “VeriSign” and the “Better Business Bureau” are really important for e-commerce sites. They indicate to visitors that online transactions made on your site are safe and secure.
Many people today still distrust websites and shy away from online spending because of this. Trust badges help calm those fears and encourage spending.
3. Press Logos
If your brand is not very well known, displaying press logos on your website helps build up credibility for your company. This is especially true (and powerful) if those press logos are from trusted news sources like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal or CNN.
Trusted online news sources also work well and include sites like TechCrunch, Mashable and BusinessInsider.
4. Customer Logos
If you’re in the B2B space, displaying well known customer logos is a great way to instantly boost your credibility. If you count WalMart, Disney, Facebook, Pepsi or other well known brands as your users, let the world know (provided you get approval from the company’s first).
Displaying customer logos lets other company reps know that your product or service is good enough for these big companies and therefore is likely good enough for their company as well. Or at least your product/service is worth exploring more to see why these companies trust you.
If your social network channel such as Facebook community and/or Twitter community is large (or at least larger than your competitors), displaying that number through a widget could easily boost your credibility. Again, it shows that a lot of people like and trust your brand.
You probably don’t want to place social widgets on your landing page(s) since they can be distracting and introduce a competing call-to-action. However, social widgets are great when used on Websites – especially the homepage and about page.
6. Award Badges
If you have won any individual or company awards you should showcase the award badges on your website. These indicate to visitors that you are exceptional at what you do – better than others in your industry who have not won awards.
What types of social proof are you using on your website to increase conversions? If you’re not using any, be sure to start incorporating one or more of these elements onto your website.