6 Types of Social Proof You Can Use To Get More Sales

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What Is Social Proof

According to Robert Cialdini (the man who coined the term), social proof is “the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it”.
What this means is that people rely on other people’s opinions and behavior to make their decisions.
What does this have to do with making more sales?
Social proof speeds up the process of earning trust.
It will also make your customers feel comfortable enough to buy your products.

Why Social Proof Works

In these 4 principles we see why social proof works:
  1. Uncertainty – When looking to buy a product, we face so many choices. This makes choosing the right product difficult. The uncertainty this creates pushes people to seek recommendations from others. That’s why people read an average of 7 reviews before making purchasing a product.
  2. Similarity – People try to copy the behavior of those who are like them. It’s the same reason marketing certain cosmetic products can be gender-specific (e.g. men’s soap or face cream).
  3. Attractiveness – People listen to and copy the behavior of people who are attractive. You’ve probably noticed that advertisements often feature people who are above-average in attractiveness.
  4. Desirability – People are likely to engage based on how desirable a person’s qualities are. This is why fit people are promoting supplements.

Here are 6 types of social proof:

#1 Expert Recommendation

Honest Reviews Increase Sales

Getting recommended by an expert in your industry can do wonders for your sales.
Contact blog and website owners in your niche to get recommended by experts.
Ask if they’re interested in reviewing your products.
Smaller bloggers are willing to write a review in exchange for free products or services.
Most website owners will be looking to get paid for their work.
If you get a review from an expert in your industry, make sure to display it in a prominent place on your website. You can also post it on social media to let as many people as possible know about it.
You can use tools such as BuzzSumo to find bloggers and websites to pitch your products to.

#2 Celebrity Endorsement

Influencers Build Trust and Sale More Products

Social proof is often gained by celebrities or influencers endorsing your products.
This is the easiest type of social proof to gain. 
It involves contacting relevant influencers in your niche and arranging collaborations.
This will cost you money, but not an arm and a leg.
Influencer marketing is quite affordable when compared to traditional marketing.
Most micro-influencers charging $250 or less for a post.
If you look hard enough, you will find some influencers willing to do a promotion in exchange for a free product.
Also, you want to consider hiring certain influencers to be your brand ambassadors.
As ambassadors, these influencers will be in charge of promoting your brand.
You want to entice influencers to become ambassadors.
Offer monthly retainers or a commission on all sales your ambassadors generate.

Here are some qualities that you should look for when hiring a brand ambassador:

  • Relevant – Your brand ambassador needs to have an audience that is like your own.
  • Passionate – Look for influencers that will be passionate about your brand’s message.
  • Professional – Brand ambassadors need to understand the importance of their role.

#3 User-Generated Content

Reviews and recommendations create buyers

Customer reviews, testimonials and social media posts created by your customers.
This type of social proof is very effective at increasing conversion rate and sales.
70% of consumers also state that they would leave an online review if asked to do so. To get more user reviews, try the following tips:
  • Email your customers – Ask customers to share their opinion on your product.
  • Make the reviewing process simple – Your customers want an easy way to quickly leave reviews.
  • Offer discounts – Give discounts in exchange for a review to entice your customers.
A note on negative reviews:
Not all the reviews you get will be positive.
However, rest assured that even negative reviews are an opportunity to gain positive social proof.
You can do this by responding to all negative reviews.
Try to solve the customers’ issues to make them satisfied.

#4 Real-Time Proof

RealTime Social Proof

People are more likely to buy your product if a large number of people have already purchased it.
Here are some ways that you can take advantage of this to generate more sales:
  • Show sales in real-time – You can use tools such as Sales Pop to show recent purchases on your website. Seeing other people buy a product will make your visitors feel more comfortable buying it themselves.
  • Show how many products you’ve sold – Display the number of sold products on each product page. You can also combine this with showing the number of products left in stock to create a sense of scarcity.
  • Display social shares on product pages – Display the total number of social shares.
Your social media followers are also a type of social proof.
Having a large number of real followers must mean that your brand is doing something right.

#5 Friends’ Approval

People are four times more likely to buy a product if their friends recommend it.
A great way to get people to recommend your products to their friends is to create a referral program.
A referral program can help your brand get more exposure and sales.
Successful referral programs and positive social proof come from the following:
  • Happy customers – You need happy customers. If your customers aren’t satisfied, why would they recommend you to their friends?
  • Meaningful incentives – You need to offer meaningful incentives. Not just for your customers, but also their friends. If your business gets repeat purchases (e.g. you sell clothing or makeup), most of your customers will be happy about getting a discount for each friend they refer. On the other hand, if you sell products that people usually buy once (e.g. a mattress or a TV), you might want to opt for offering a cash incentive.
  • Program promotion – A referral program can’t be successful if you don’t promote it. Create a dedicated page on your website for your referral program. Next, email your customers about it and post about it on social. Try to get as many people as possible take part. Ask for referrals directlywhile 83% of customers are willing to provide referrals, only 29% of them do so.
A study of 600 companies showed that companies that use referral tools in their referral programs are three times more likely to improve referral growth and conversion.
Popular referral tools you can try using include ReferralCandy and Refersion.

#6 Certification

Add trust seals to your website to turn visitors into buyers

70% of online purchases are canceled due to a lack of trust, which leads to an annual loss of 1.9bn in sales.
Reduce the lack of trust by acquiring recommendations from authoritative figures.
These can be on your website in the form of trust seal logos.
Piggyback off the trust of these authorities.
Use these “stamps of approval” to let your customers know that you work with brands they already trust.
Make customers feel more comfortable about making a purchase on your website.
Add trust signals such as a “Money-Back Guarantee” or Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal seals of trust.


Social proof will help increase your credibility, answer objections and improve conversion rates.
Think about what objections your customers may have.
What would prevent them from purchasing?
Use social proof to counter those objections.
It might be tempting to use all types of social proof on your website.
But here’s the deal, you will need to test and see which type of social proof actually works best for your audience.

What type of social proof do you use?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I could make a commission from your purchase.

Drew has spent years building software, selling physical products online, and providing expertise to companies such as Disney, Paramount Pictures, and many more. Throughout his career, Drew has learned extremely powerful marketing and SEO strategies that have helped him increase traffic and acquire more customers.

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