People are reluctant to trust sales pitches or ads, especially when they’re coming from a company they’ve never heard of before. It’s easy to think you can throw together a slick website and be the next big thing online, but “you need more than that to be successful in eCommerce and lead gen.” – Convert4

You need your customers to trust you, and that means showing them that other people already trust you—and the best way to do that is with social proof. Let’s take a look at how it works and why it’s so important.

What is the Theory of Social Proof?

Social proof, also called informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in social situations where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

Social proof works to alter individual behavior, for example, when a consumer is considering buying a product or service. People are more likely to purchase if they see other consumers making similar purchases or find out how many others have purchased something.

Social proof has become increasingly important online, as research shows that online reviews and ratings contribute greatly to people’s purchasing decisions. In fact, according to a 2014 Nielsen survey, 94% of U.S. consumers read online reviews before purchasing products and services.

Businesses can use social proof to drive sales in three main ways:

  1. Increase perceived value of a product.
  2. Accelerate adoption.
  3. Speed up customer engagement.

Social proof serves as a sort of societal endorsement, reassuring consumers that your brand is reputable and worth doing business with.

How Does Social Proof Impact Sales?

When potential customers come to your site, they won’t necessarily know who you are or what you do. Social proof helps mitigate that risk by giving them some reassurance that your business is legitimate.

Social proof can be a powerful selling tool because it shows customers that other people just like them have taken advantage of what you offer.

That makes them more comfortable with purchasing from you and encourages trust. Using social proof consistently throughout your site will help reassure new visitors that what you offer is worth their time (and money). And once they purchase from you once, it becomes much easier for them to return for another purchase in the future!

How to Utilize Social Media in your Online Shop

One way to manifest social proof is by sharing your products on social media. You can use a photo app to snap pictures of your products, and then post them to Facebook or Instagram.

When you share photos of your items, you let people know that what they see is what they get—you’re making it easy for them to make an informed decision about whether they want to buy from you.

Plus, social media profiles help build trust with potential customers because they show off your business credentials: where you’re located, when you started in business, how long you’ve been around, and so on. They also help you network within your industry and connect with other sellers who are going through similar challenges.

Even if you don’t have a lot of followers yet, social media will be beneficial to establishing yourself as a reputable brand and driving sales over time.

Final Thoughts on Social Proof

Social proof can help you develop trust and rapport with your customers, and that’s essential to growing your business over time.

If you’re planning to start an eCommerce site, make sure social proof plays a big role in everything you do. Social proof doesn’t have to be complicated; it just has to be a part of your overall strategy.

You should incorporate social proof into every aspect of what you do online, from imagery all the way down to copywriting.