The purpose of social proof is to communicate to your target market the value you offer by showing how you’ve helped others. It’s very powerful in helping people make the right purchase decisions. But the wrong kind of social proof can have the opposite effect and actually drive people away from your offer.
Here are the 7 deadly sins of social proof that you need to avoid at all costs.
1) Fake Social Proof
Don’t get your employees or friends to write fake reviews for you. It’s incredibly easy for someone to find out through a Google search that your reviewers aren’t real customers. Social proof only works if it’s authentic, so get real content from real people.
2) Testimonials Without Pictures
The smiling face of the real customer is what actually sells your testimonials. You need to show that the customer is real, not just someone you made up. Images are also helpful because they draw attention and give people something interesting to look at.
3) The Wrong Influencer Endorsement
Influencer endorsements are very helpful in selling products and services, but you need to choose the right person for your endorsements. If it’s someone unrelated to your industry or unknown to your market, it won’t work its magic. Even worse, it could be someone they find untrustworthy. When considering potential influencers for endorsements, start with people your target market already knows and trusts.
4) Focus on Discounts and Deals
It’s okay for a testimonial or review to mention your low prices but remember that it’s value you want to drive home. It’s much better if you can show how your offering helps people save time or headache and improves their lives. Never use a testimonial that mentions you giving them a discount as this doesn’t help to demonstrate your value at all.
5) Linking to Bad Reviews
Before linking to a review site and encouraging your visitors to have a look, check to make sure it’s not full of bad reviews of your products. You may have to do some damage control before you can use online reviews or leave reviews out of your social proof strategy altogether.
6) Just a Testimonial Page
It’s great to have a testimonial page where user after user leaves a recommendation of your products or services, but don’t only put them on one page. You should use testimonials on every page of your site, especially those where people are making purchase decisions.
7) Not Putting in the Time and Effort
It can seem like a great deal of effort to develop and implement a social proof strategy, but the benefits can’t be overlooked. People rely a great deal on the feedback of others when making buying decisions. Put the time and effort into social proof, and it will pay you back.