Part of your website’s job is to help visitors know, like, and trust you. Adding other people’s words to your site can increase that trust.
Every part of your website should allow your relationship with your reader to develop. So the social proof we are talking about here, whether on your website or in another corner of the web, should build that relationship too.
We are more comfortable engaging with people that others are engaging with. Some call it a herd mentality. I call it seeing proof that other people have had success increases my chances of success.
Add Social Proof to your Website
The easiest way to add other people’s words to your site is through testimonials. Quotes that describe your product or service in a specific way are more helpful than “It was great!”
A lot of people add testimonials to their site using a slider. That’s not my favorite way because most people won’t scroll to the other testimonials.
Also, some people animate them so that the slides rotate automatically every few seconds - and that drives me batty. I hate things scrolling away when I’ve read halfway through something. So please, if you use a slider, at least don’t animate it!
My favorite way to add testimonials is simple quote blocks. I like to add one or two to a Home page and one on the About page, as a separate section below the "About" content. I also like to have at least one on the services page and sometimes one on the contact page as well.
If there are testimonials about individual services, sometimes I will place those in the section or page about that service.
If you have more testimonials than I’ve described here, use them on social media or change them out on your website occasionally. I wouldn’t keep adding them to a giant list on your website.
Video testimonials are helpful, too, and should be carefully placed. One or two videos in strategic locations are probably all you need.
Sometimes landing pages have specific testimonials sections. They show screenshots of testimonials or comments about the product or service.
That can work well, too, depending on the design of the landing page. I wouldn’t do that on a main page of your website (Home, About, Contact, or Services).
Case studies are in-depth articles or videos about a specific project. Sometimes they include an interview with the customer or client.
Case studies give prospective clients a window into how you work, what your process is, and the results they can expect. These detailed descriptions of what you do can be a powerful tool to help people understand how you can help them.
A written case study might be a separate page or blog post on your website that you might link to from your product or service page.
You can add a video case study to your product or sge directly if you choose. Or it can be a separate page or blog post as well.
For e-commerce or online stores, you can let customers to leave reviews for items they have purchased. These reviews can help other visitors be more comfortable purchasing from you.
Customers tend to let you know when they have issues with something. But your response to their feedback can be more powerful than the feedback itself.
Depending on the website platform, you may need a plugin, app, or tool to allow customers to leave reviews.
Finally, your blog posts are a form of social proof.
Your viewpoints on various topics give people a window into how you will be to work with.
If you have published posts over a long period, it shows people that you have been in your industry long enough to gain expertise and experience.
Even if you are just starting, writing blog posts can show your knowledge and skill in your niche. And sharing what you are learning can give people confidence in your skills.
Also, your visitors can leave comments on your blog posts. Those comments can add to the proof that your visitors are engaging with you and you are safe to work with.
Public review spaces
Okay, let’s move OFF your website. These public places for reviews can have an outsized effect on your website traffic and your customers’ trust.
For any business, Google reviews on your Google My Business profile can help your online presence. They can increase traffic to your website and help people find your business online.
Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other public review spaces may be appropriate for you depending on your niche.
Making it onto a list or directory that’s appropriate for your industry is another way of gaining social proof for your business.
And usually, those directories or lists link to your website. These are great places to get backlinks (read the blog post about backlinks here.)
Social Media is Social Proof
I’ve said before that your website is your online home or hub for your social presence.
What you do on social media can bring your website more traffic.
Also, people are forming an impression of you and your brand when they encounter you on social or other spaces. That impression can affect their mindset and expectations when they come to your website.
If they are already getting to know you and trust you on social, then they will have that in their minds already when they come to your website.
Your website should support and continue that impression. If they have a positive experience on your social media but are disappointed by your website, that disconnect can hurt your brand.
Being active on social media shows people that you are still active as a business. It shows how you engage with other people, and the comments and reviews add still more social proof for your business and your website.
Common ones like Facebook and Instagram can bring interested visitors to your site. You can also use LinkedIn, Medium, Substack, and others depending on your marketing strategy and industry.
Podcasts or YouTube videos can also be a great place to engage with your audience and receive feedback, comments, and reviews.
Reddit, Quora, and other discussion or community sites can be a good place to engage with your audience as well.
Search engines track your presence across the web, so what happens on a social platform doesn’t necessarily stay there. Anything that affects your business and brand in one place can affect your website and your presence in other places as well.
Also, your website visitors are likely to engage with you in many places on the interwebs. That can be a way of giving them a sense of what it is like to connect or work with you.
Other People’s Websites
Finally, you can have social proof (and sometimes backlinks) on other people’s websites.
One example is a review post someone else writes about your products or services.
You have a good chance of a backlink from that post to your site or content. You can also post a link to that review on your website - and that’s great social proof.
Another example is guest posts you publish on other people’s websites. Again, it allows you to show your expertise in your industry.
You usually get backlinks from those posts, and you can add links to those posts to your website if you think it might be helpful.
A final example is comments you make on other people’s blogs (or social media, YouTube videos, etc.).
These comments add one more place for people to see you interacting with other people and get a sense of who you are.
Pro tip: choose one or two of these ideas that fit you and your business the best, and put those in place. DON’T try to do all of these at once!
The bottom line is that we are social creatures and we want to know we can trust someone.
Other people’s experiences with that person help us decide if we can trust them to solve our problem.
Adding social proof to your website or online presence can help people know what it will be like to work with you or buy from you.
Building that relationship with the members of your audience is the goal.