Anyone with an eCommerce site will tell you that it’s all about conversions. It’s nice to have lots of traffic, and a high click-through-rate is better still. But in the end, it’s sales that really matter.
There are a lot of marketing tactics that you can do—and should do—to increase your conversions rates. Tweaking your ad copy, streamlining checkout, and finding upsell opportunities are all part of the game. There’s another much simpler maneuver that you can perform in about 20 minutes that can bump your conversion by up to 40%. This “secret” ingredient is nothing more than social proof.
We all know what social proof is in daily life; the restaurant with the big crowd, the nightclub with the velvet rope, the latest luxury car with a six-month waiting list. These days we also observe this same phenomenon online in the form of Facebook Fans, Twitter Followers, and YouTube Subscribers.
It’s really no “secret” that these numbers influence our opinions, and ultimately, our behaviors. This includes purchasing products and services online.
The smart brands recognized this long ago and started doing two things to exploit social proof in their favor: first, they acquired a huge social media following; second, they displayed their impressive numbers of fans, followers, shares, and likes prominently on their websites, blogs, apps, and emails.
Building a social media following can take a lot of time and effort. Or not. Certainly, you should always be working hard to make real-life connections—and these have a tangible value of their own. But the “mysterious” value of social proof can be acquired much quicker and easier.
The exact priorities will vary slightly depending on your industry or niche, but one thing that every online (and offline) business should have is a strong Twitter presence. Twitter offers many opportunities to connect with customers for everything from brand awareness, to customer service, to direct promotion.
The first step is to increase your number of followers. Beyond your networking and outreach efforts, it makes good sense to buy some followers, too. This is the equivalent of the doorman at the velvet rope who denies entry to customers so that the number of people out front makes the club appear more crowded (and therefore more popular) than it really is. Every nightclub in the world does this every single night. Social proof.
Another means of increasing social proof is boosting your retweets and favorites on your tweets. You can do this by purchasing retweets on demand for important tweets such as a link to a new product or blog post (which increases the actual tweet count of those web pages), or to all of your tweets using an service for automatic retweets. With more retweets and favorites, increasing your social proof is just the start – you gain more exposure, increase traffic and the search ranking for your tweets and content.
Finally, you need to show off this popularity in any and every way possible. Beyond your Twitter profile page, the obvious place to start is your own website or blog. There are a number of Twitter plugins for WordPress sites that can shine a bright light on your Twitter stardom for all to see. Of course, you’ll also want to connect your Twitter account to your other social media platforms, too. A huge Twitter following will also help you gain more organic followers due to the same effects of social proof.
While we used Twitter as an example, the same concept works with Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and even LinkedIn. In fact, to truly see the effectiveness of social proof on your website conversions it’s recommended that you do this for more
The great thing about this technique is that it’s fast and easy. It doesn’t do all the work for you, but you’ll have the social proof that you need in about 20 minutes, and for very little money
Some people have spoken out against this method of displaying social proof, and that’s understandable. Things that are easy are always looked upon with suspicion. But what they fail to realize is that buying Twitter followers is the same marketing technique that has been employed throughout the history of modern business practices. Just ask the bouncer the next time you go to a popular club. Besides, it’s only one tool in your toolbox for an ambitious entrepreneur who wants to get a jump on the competition.
Once you have the social proof, you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t take advantage of it sooner.