4 Ways to Leverage Social Proof to Grow Your Business Online In a crowded online ecosystem, your business needs to stand out to see success.

By Jonathan Riff

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The online ecosystem is becoming increasingly crowded. The majority of adult consumers are shopping online now, some exclusively, and new brands are launching daily. Competition for consumer attention online has never been higher.

Brands need to use every competitive advantage they can to stand out and position themselves as the more favorable and appealing choice. One of the ways to accomplish this is by leveraging social proof.

The average consumer will trust the opinion and review from a stranger the same way they would if it was coming from a close friend or family member. Consumers also view brands that align themselves with popular personalities and are seen in trusted media outlets in a better light.

It snowballs from there, as the more people who purchase from a brand, the more likely others will follow, right behind them. Social proof helps your brand build trust, which provides you with incredibly powerful marketing leverage. Let's look at a few ways to use social proof to grow your business online.

Related: Why You Need Social Proof on Your Website

1. Publish case studies that showcase your product or service

Every product or service solves a problem, which allows you to showcase just how great of a solution your product is by creating a case study, trial or demo. This is great content that you can use not only on your website to convert more sales, but also share on social media and with your email list.

It doesn't matter if you are selling a product or service; case studies are a highly effective way to show potential customers that what you are offering delivers as promised. Demonstration videos can be very powerful in terms of converting sales.

A call-to-action that makes a claim is great, but one that also includes a video that allows the consumer to witness it will convert at a much higher rate. Video and graphics anything visual will outperform a traditional whitepaper written case study.

2. Display customer reviews in proximity to your CTAs

You are more than likely already focused heavily on collective customer reviews, whether it's on your Google My Business profile, Facebook page, Yelp profile, Better Business Bureau listing or ecommerce website.

Reviews are powerful, and you can even take all of the reviews you are already receiving and funnel them all to one dedicated "Reviews" page on your website. There are plugins and apps that can help you do this.

Incorporate some of your best reviews into your website design, placing them in proximity to your calls-to-action. An authentic review detailing how amazing your product is located right next to the "Add to Cart" button can help push consumers to the point of conversion.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Social Proof Is Essential to Building Your Brand

3. Showcase trust badges on your website to increase credibility

Take advantage of any opportunity you have to instill more confidence in your website visitors. The more confident they are in your business, the more likely they are to purchase from you or request additional information.

Trust and credibility create a more confident consumer. When the barrier of uncertainty is removed from the equation, there is far less friction between potential customers and your product or service.

Displaying trust badges on your website is a way to make your visitors feel confident immediately. Different industries will have different badges, depending on what professional organizations they belong to and what their conversion goals are.

For example, a D2C ecommerce website would want to highlight website security, fast processing times and customer service. They might include SSL badges and badges from their online-payment processor to instill consumer confidence as well as something along the lines of "Orders Processed and Shipped within 24-Hours" to highlight their speed and efficiency.

A local contractor or electrician could use the BBB seal if they are active members or their Yelp review badge to highlight their customer satisfaction. A local Chamber of Commerce badge or other industry-specific organization memberships are also good examples.

4. Publish testimonials in video format

Testimonials from your customer are very powerful, and in video format, they perform better than standard written testimonials. Why? Because it's coming from an actual person, and when it's genuine, the potential customer senses it.

Anyone can post up a written testimonial, and consumers aren't stupid they know some businesses write fake testimonials. If the video is recording in your office or place of business, even better, as it adds to the authenticity factor. Anyone viewing it will undoubtedly know it's an honest and genuine review.

Related: Need to Establish Trust With Your Audience? Leverage Social Proof.

Wavy Line
Jonathan Riff

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Principal Brand Architect & Experience Designer

Jonathan Riff is the founder of Captains & Cowboys, a boutique digital agency bringing a human-centered philosophy to everything it creates.

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