How do you get potential customers to trust you? Big brands do it through slick design, logos and the power of ever-present advertising on TV, radio, print ads, seeing them everywhere you go. But how can your smaller enterprise get the same cachet?
Social proof is a well-known psychological phenomenon where people mimic the behavior of the group. How does this work in the context of your Web site? If you can show your Web visitors that many people trust you and your Web site, it’ll persuade them to unconsciously trust you and your Web site as well, making them more likely to believe in the quality of your services and products. Here’s several ways to do this genuinely and convincingly:
- Hit counters – Remember those old Web 1.0 hit counters with the simulated digital numbers listing the number of Web site visitors to your AOL home page? Tacky, but they served a purpose, showing people how popular your site was. Nowadays, there are better solutions, like Sitemeter. This free stats counter gives visitors a way to look at your stats without giving them access to your Analytics account. If you are selling advertising on your Web site or want to solicit guest blog posts, then you can direct people to your Sitemeter stats to verify you really have the pageviews you claim to have.
- Related Posts plugins – Since many great Web sites use WordPress, related posts plugins can add a counter widget in your sidebar that show your most popular content and convincing stats on the thousands of people who’ve viewed it. This also adds the extra bonuses of:
a) helping visitors discover more content on your site
b) offering a good internal linking option that search engines value
This article lists 5 of the best WordPress related posts plugins available as of 2013.
- Facebook widgets – Here’s another way to take advantage of that great social media community you’ve been fostering on Facebook through engagement strategies like photo contests, like ads and regular posts: have a Facebook widget for your WordPress site that shows:
a) the number of Facebook fans
b) pictures of those fans on your Web site home page
There are many, but my favorite is the Facebook Like Box plugin described in this article.
- Testimonials – Last but not least, the time-honored testimonial is very effective social proof. People trust your customers’ opinions about how good your services and products are much more than they trust your own claims, especially if you have:
a) your customer’s picture and their quote, and/or a
b) testimonial video
Pictures and videos add hugely to the credibility of a testimonial, so get them up next to those pleased customer quotes!
Some other great links to check out on the topic of social proof:
ASKING YOUR FEEDBACK: What other ways have you used successfully to show social proof? Have you customers told you about a piece of social proof on your Web site that earned their trust, like your testimonials?