The 4 Mistakes That Are Killing Your Social Proof Strategy

Written by Helena_Andrade

On July 16, 2020
social proof from airbnb

Social proof should be a marketer’s favorite tool to convert more online.

I never get tired of saying that. The reason being social proof is one of the best ways to alleviate friction and overcome objections. Its powerful results speak volumes:

  • People trust other people 12x more than they trust marketers
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • User-generated content in product pages can improve conversions by up to 6.4%

Although there are different types of social proofs, case studies and testimonials are often the most valuable and effective. Nonetheless, conducting validated case studies and trustworthy testimonials require going beyond simple compliments. 

You have to go for building a deeper rapport; but how can one know if they are doing social influence right? Let’s find out by analyzing the mistakes below.

The 4 Most Common Mistakes Companies Make When Using Social Proof

1) Your social proof only focus on the results

I know how flattering it is to receive great testimonials such as: “We loved it!” or “This product is amazing!”. At the end of the day, getting good words from customers is all that matters, right? Not really! When clients don’t mention any details on why they enjoyed your product, you end up with an empty testimonial. It won’t deeply connect with your customers’ reality. 

Customers need to relate to what other customers say. The closer to a real scenario that they can quickly picture in their heads, the better the social proof.

Can you notice the difference between these two reviews:

social proof

The golden rule here is: testimonials have to be believable and compelling. They have to be real. In the information economy, customers crave realness.

2) Your social proof doesn’t picture your prospects

Imagine that a customer who is the owner of a new, very small clothes website is looking at your product and sees a testimonial from Farfecth. They get the feeling that your product might not be for them since Farfetech is such a huge and established company. This is an example of a negative selection in social proof.

Negative selection means that you are picturing clients way too distinct from your prospects. By doing so, you are not taking advantage of one of the greatest advantages of using social proof: allowing customers to self-select. Ultimately, this helps you to convert more because it takes customers to a secure emotional state (read more about it here).

3) You are asking YES or NO questions during interviews

When interviewing customers, we tend to have a script with straight-to-the-point questions. Very often, our questions are so direct and close that they don’t enable the interviewee to provide details about her/his perceptions. To craft an interesting case, always ask an open-answers question instead of closed ones:

social proof example

Try to keep it conversational and unscripted. Follow the structure “before, during, after” and you should be just fine to write an amazing final study cade.

4) You want to get rid of your negative reviews

– Can you help me get rid of the bad reviews online?

Marketers get that question all of the time. I get why negative reviews worry companies so much: they impact 67.7% of respondents’ purchasing decisions, according to this research from Moz’. No one likes being criticized, especially knowing how influential reviews are.

On the other hand, what if I tell you that negative reviews are frequently overestimated? It is OK to have a few bad reviews because it makes you look like a real brand.

68% of people trust reviews more when they see both good & bad scores. They don’t look at reviews in isolation; they notice – and become suspicious – if there are no bad reviews. (Reevo Blog)

Therefore, if your website got a few bad reviews, don’t worry try to get rid of your bad reviews. We have to humanize our brand because not even the most popular products in the world are not unanimously loved. Your reviews should be honest, plentiful, and increase trust. Details bring additional credibility as well. 

Important: the ideal scenario is that you get a balanced amount of both negative AND positive reviews. If you get primarily bad reviews, loads of them, then it might be time to reevaluate your offer and product.

Conclusion: More and more, social proof will be seen in different marketing efforts. It’s up to us to leverage it in a smart way, influencing how your users interpret information and make decisions.

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