The social standing of a website – in other words, how it’s viewed by others – is important if the owner wants to grow traffic and increase revenue. After all, potential customers will need to know that claims can be backed up before they move forward with a conversion. As a developer, it’s not only your job to develop your clients’ websites, but also make sure each site has a positive effect on its owner’s reputation.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to increase a website’s standing. One such method is to make use of social proof, or content showing that other people trust the site. By adding social proof to a website (with the help of coding, plugins, and even a quality WordPress theme), you can increase trust in the company’s products or services.
In this post, we’ll discuss what social proof is and why it’s important. We’ll then share five ways you can add social proof to your WordPress websites immediately. Let’s get started!
What Social Proof Is (And Why You Need It on Your Website)
In simplest terms, social proof is a psychological phenomenon based on the fact that people rely on others’ opinions to make their decisions. This is commonly seen among consumers, who look to friends and family for recommendations and reviews before making a purchase.
There are a few reasons why social proof ‘works’, but it mostly comes down to group mentality. When an experience or product is endorsed by others, it often seems more trustworthy. This is exactly why you want to feature social proof on any website you develop.
In addition, social proof can:
- Increase trust, which in turn drives sales.
- Build credibility, which is crucial for a website’s reputation.
- Enable you to leverage the power of third parties (such as industry leaders and customers) to encourage conversions.
Overall, social proof is a must-have addition to any website. Whether your client sells a product or service, this strategy can help build them up as an industry leader and put them above the competition.
5 Ways to Increase Social Proof On Your WordPress Websites
There are many types of social proof you can add to the websites you develop. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most effective options. Let’s dive in!
1. Use Customer Testimonials
As the name implies, customer testimonials are recommendations from those who have purchased a product or service. They are similar to reviews but don’t generally use a ratings system. The more testimonials on a site, the greater the odds that site has of converting leads. In fact, testimonials have the largest effectiveness rating (89%) of all the common content marketing methods.
To use this type of social proof to your clients’ advantage, here are a few tips to keep in mind. These techniques will ensure that testimonials are displayed in the best manner possible:
- Use a theme that offers testimonial functionality. A quality WordPress theme enables you to display client testimonials with ease. For example, OceanWP is an incredibly customizable theme that enables you to easily create a testimonials page or widget, thanks to its intuitive page builder.
- Include high-quality customer images. Images boost a testimonial’s impact, since potential leads will be able to put a face to the names. However, it’s important to choose the right image. We recommend Photofeeler, a tool that ‘grades’ images so you can determine whether they’ll be effective.
The fact is, more than 88% of consumers factor reviews and testimonials into their purchasing decisions. If you aren’t using them on the websites you develop, your clientele are missing out on an important marketing activity.
2. Highlight Customer Success Stories
Customer success stories come in many different forms, including case studies and interviews. However, they all have one thing in common, which is providing specific examples of how a product or service was beneficial to a consumer. This positive message can compel readers to seek out the same result for themselves.
The quality of these stories is important, but so is how you display them. While there’s no ‘right’ way to do this, here are some recommendations:
- Create individual pages or posts for each story. This enables you to offer more depth than a testimonial, but doesn’t take up space in other key sections (such as on product landing pages or the home page).
- Link to them when appropriate. For example, linking to success stories on your product landing page or in social media posts gives you a way to highlight them easily.
3. Boast About Key Numbers
Numbers – including social media shares, email newsletter subscribers, and product purchases – can influence readers in a big way. By displaying numbers on your website, you show visitors how many other people trust in a service or product.
When designing a WordPress site, you want to make sure any numbers can be put front and center. To make this happen, here are two suggestions:
- Use plugins that display the number of social shares. Examples of this kind of tool include Cresta Social Share Counter and Social Counter for WordPress.
- Use numbers in popups and lead forms. For example, use numbers to tempt readers to join a mailing list (“Join 40,000 other smart readers”), or to download the latest product.
Most importantly, remember to display key numbers prominently. For example, social metrics can be shared using counters, while download numbers can be added just below a Download Now button.
4. Leverage Endorsements and Associations
Endorsements and associations – the people and organizations your clients collaborate with – are an excellent addition to any website. These include any industry leaders, companies, or other entities that endorse their work and associate with the brand positively. For an example, check out Shaquille O’Neal’s celebrity endorsement of The General insurance.
By featuring such partnerships on a website, you essentially ‘borrow’ their credibility and/or popularity. When done right, this can result in positive returns for the business. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Incorporate endorsements as testimonials. While most testimonials are from customers, higher-level endorsements can also provide their own recommendations.
- Mention associations often. Your client can (and should) mention these key figures in product landing pages, blog posts, email newsletters, and more. This is a way to promote partnerships without putting them on full display on the home page.
You usually don’t want to build a website completely around endorsements, but they should play a supporting role. For example, use an endorser’s quote to back up key claims, or make a brief mention of an important partnership on the landing page.
5. Include Certifications
Certifications are professional acknowledgments that indicate a company’s proficiency in a certain area. They can be used to show that a website or service meets a particular standard and can highlight your clients’ professionalism and industry knowledge.
Simply having these certifications is important, but so is acknowledging them on your website. Here’s how to use them more effectively:
- Know which certifications are industry standard. These will mean the most to customers, and also help a company beat out the competition.
- Include them in the footer. Including an icon of any relevant certifications in the site’s footer enables your client to display these achievements prominently, without having them take up too much space.
Certifications are something to be proud of, so they’re worth boasting about at least a little. They’re especially important for more technical or heavily-regulated industries, including WordPress development.
There are many elements that contribute to a successful website. However, there’s nothing more important than the way readers and potential leads view the company in question. This is why social proof is crucial to success, and why you should be sure to add various types to the websites you build.
In this post, we’ve introduced you to the importance of social proof. We’ve also outlined five ways to add social proof to your clients’ websites (some of which require the help of plugins or a quality WordPress theme). To quickly recap, you can:
- Use customer testimonials.
- Highlight customer success stories.
- Boast about numbers.
- Leverage endorsements and associations.
- Include certifications.
Do you have any questions about social proof, or how you can go about adding it to WordPress websites? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.