Social proof is a technique every WordPress business site owner should use. It’s a powerful tool for increasing buyer confidence and increasing conversions.
Human beings are a social species. We’re programmed by evolution and culture to value the opinions of other people, especially people who are similar to ourselves. Site owners can leverage that inherent sociability to provide leads with evidence that their products and services are valued by other people.
Many elements contribute to the success of a landing page or product page: a good product, persuasive copy, compelling images, incisive calls-to-action, but none has the same potential impact as positive social proof.
Given a choice between two competing products with similar features, buyers will overwhelmingly choose the option that provides social proof. Buyers who are hesitant to make a purchase will often be persuaded if a site provides evidence of past buyers who are happy with their choice.
In this article, I’d like to look at three leading strategies for bringing social proof to a WordPress website and offer some suggestions for the best way to implement them.
Testimonials are the simplest way to add social proof to a site. They can often be acquired via customer surveys or by approaching customers directly. There is always a temptation to simply invent testimonials, but I would advise against it.
Genuine social proof is more powerful, especially if testimonials are clearly linked to real people on social media.
Testimonials are especially powerful if they are given by someone who is perceived to have authority. In the image above of a testimonial for Genesis, the WordPress theme framework, Cali Lewis, a fairly well-known podcaster and tech writer appears, as do others with authority for those in the product’s target market.
There are several excellent plugins for adding testimonials to a WordPress blog, with some of the best being:
You can think of case studies as in-depth testimonials. They usually include a detailed description of a customer’s experience with a product or service, answering potential buyer questions like: “what value did you get from this product?” and “how has this product improved your life.”
Case studies are a great way to show leads exactly how your product or service is useful. As with testimonials, case studies of people with recognized authority are to be preferred.
WordPress is great for case studies. You can choose to publish them as posts on a blog, or dedicate a page to each case study. I advise that case studies are prominently linked to on a site’s home page.
In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of social media widgets on home and product pages. They are valuable for providing social proof, but they also clutter up the design and often negatively impact performance.
That said, if you feel your market will respond well to social proof delivered through social media widgets, there’s no shortage of ways to integrate them with your site. I’ve had good experiences with both Shareaholic and Mashshare, which overcomes some of the performance problems social media widgets can introduce with a clever caching system.
Social proof is one of the tools every business site owner should have in their kit. There’s nothing quite so powerful about selling as evidence of other customers’ satisfaction.