Why Your Business Needs More Social Proof

Gary Green
Jah Brown
March 10, 2020

Social proof is defined as the influence that the actions and attitudes of the people around us (either in real life or online) have on our own behavior.

Social proof was first popularised by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book Influence. You can read a bit more about Cialdini in our article on How To Be Persuasive On Your Blog.

In today's article, we'll explain how you can use Cialdini's concept to show prospective customers that you and your business can be trusted.

Social Proof - The Basics

Cialdini noticed that people are extremely swayed by what everyone else is doing (or saying). We are naturally "herd" animals, and we look to the crowd to give us cues as to what to believe.

Advertisers have known this for many years. It's why they are happy to pay celebrities millions of pounds to drive their cars or wear their watches. It's also why you often hear marketing slogans which are designed to trigger social proof reactions:

  • Everyone is talking about it
  • The most popular burger in the world
  • Over 10m downloads
  • 9 out of 10 cats prefer it
  • The world's favourite airline

Show Don't Tell

The whole point of social proof is to follow the rule: show don't tell. Marketing experts will always tell you that if a customer can see something, they are more likely to be persuaded than if you just tell them. Talk is cheap.

By using social proof, you "show" your popularity, your quality, your trustworthiness. After all, you're just reporting how other people feel about your brand. You're not bragging. It's your customers who say you're the best.

Right? Not quite!

You still need to remember to "show" rather than "tell", even in the context of social proof. The two best ways to do this are case studies and testimonials.

Case Studies

Case studies are a great addition to your website. They offer a range of benefits:

  • Demonstrate authority and expertise
  • Show prospective customers the kind of services you offer
  • Offer social proof in the form of happy customers
  • Increase engagement as people will often comment or ask follow up questions

The key to effective case studies is to tell the truth. Don't paint a rose-tinted, fantasy picture of the project. Admit when things went wrong (and how you handled it). Refer to tricky aspects of the brief. Let the reader know when you were forced to pivot or change direction.

A great case study allows readers to imagine themselves working with you. Try to write in your own voice (except when quoting customer feedback). Talk about your own experiences with the project.


According to Big Commerce, 72% of customers say that positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business.

They are the ultimate "show" sales technique. Not only are you showing that your customers love you, they are using their own words. It's the online equivalent of the holy grail of marketing - word of mouth.

If you want to be even more persuasive, don't worry if you have a couple of bad reviews in there. A string of 5* reviews just looks suspect. And you can use a negative review to respond with your thoughts and apologies. This shows you are on the ball and take client feedback seriously.

If you'd like to discuss how to generate social proof for your business, please get in touch.

Tell us about your project...
Fill in your details to get started and join over 50 businesses enjoying Key Business Marketing's expertise..
We adhere to strict GDPR rules and do not reveal or sell your data to any third-parties. For more, please read our Privacy Policy.
Latest Insights
September 13, 2021
9 Biggest Google Ranking Factors You Shouldn’t Ignore

When it comes to Google ranking factors, there’s a whole host of myths that you need...

September 2, 2021
Top SEO Trends Set To Continue In 2021 & Beyond

Ever since its inception, SEO has been a constantly changing beast that many specialists in the...

August 26, 2021
YouTube Marketing – A Beginners Guide

Starting a successful YouTube channel can be both a daunting and tiresome task. Here are some...

June 26, 2021
How To: Add Featured Images to WordPress RSS Feed Using Enclosure

WordPress has native RSS feed functionality, making setup extremely easy, but you may have noticed including...

May 10, 2021
Why Your Business Should Be Utilising Facebook Advertising

Facebook advertising is one of the most popular ways to generate leads and drive highly engaged...

October 26, 2020
Are Social Media Influencers Worth The Investment In 2020?

The influential power of Tik Tok teen sensations and Instagram lifestyle gurus has come into question...

October 10, 2020
Top 7 Tips for Creating a Successful Digital Content Marketing Strategy

Content is king. How your brand communicates with customers is paramount. Having a brilliant product or...

October 6, 2020
Google’s Upcoming Changes Could Be The Biggest SEO Shake-Up In Years

Webmasters and SEOs around the world are used to Google’s algorithm changes causing havoc to their...

September 23, 2020
How To Grow An Affiliate-Based Website & Increase Conversions

Affiliate marketing, when done right, is the holy grail for publishers and site owners who are...

View Our latest insights »
Get the latest digital marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox
We care about the protection of your data. No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.
02037 282 848
Mon-Fri 9am - 5.30pm
Digital marketing guidance at your fingertips
Copyright © 2021 KEY BM LTD Reg: E&W 11055943
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram