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7 social proof tactics for B2C brands

7 social proof tactics for B2C brands

Here’s the thing about consumer psychology: Once you learn it exists, you start noticing just how far it can go.

Take social proof, for instance. It’s a behavioral concept that states humans are more likely to follow the lead of someone they know and trust. Sounds simple enough, right? Yet, this one idea can be used in a variety of ways to show consumers just how credible your brand is.

We’ve created a list of seven different tactics for using social proof that can benefit your customers and your brand.

Background on social proof

When’s the last time you truly experienced a “blind buy”? The kind of purchase you make with no background whatsoever on the product you’re interested in? 

It’s probably pretty hard to think of a moment. That’s because humans care about what other people think. And it’s not a matter of insecurity either. It’s all about survival. 

We want to know the decisions we are making are smart ones that won’t cause us pain in the long run. So, even if we haven’t gotten the chance to smell a new perfume or eat at a new restaurant, we still feel a need to hear what other people have to say before we commit.

That’s what all of the following examples are — confirmation that purchases made with your brand are a smart decision.

Social proof tactics

1. Testimonials

When customers are looking for evidence that a brand is reliable, reviews and testimonials are often the first step in reaching a conclusion.

The number of stars or smiling faces from other customers tends to give great insight on whether a purchase is a sound investment or not. So do any words shared.  Is the packaging efficient? What’s the product’s longevity? How’s the customer service?

A good review or testimonial can be the difference between a customer choosing to continue in their journey with your brand or going elsewhere.

2. Referrals

If we asked you to think of who you trusted most in this world, you’d probably respond with like-minded people that know you better than anyone else. And if we asked you if you’d shop with their favorite brands, you’d probably say yes.

That’s the power of social proof and it works hand-in-hand with referrals. Many of the people you interact with have similar interests to your own, so when they refer you to a brand you immediately assume that it must be worth checking out.

3. Best sellers

Social proof works best when consumers feel like a product is safe and trustworthy, and best sellers are a brand’s strongest proof of that.

When consumers are trying out a brand or product for the first time a best seller can feel like a safe purchase because other customers have already vouched for it. Having a best-seller section on your website is like having free advertising that says, “Hey! Our customers love these products and you will too!”

4. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has grown a huge following recently, and that's partially due to social proof. Remember that whole part about people trusting those they know? It's easy to feel like you know an influencer.

Social media is a prime platform for uncovering new information and following what the people in your network are up to. When consumers are interested in following certain influencers, the products and services those influencers support become all the more attractive.

(Here’s more information on how to use social proof in your influencer marketing.)

5. Purchase recommendations

Online shopping gives consumers endless product options to choose from, but those choices can be a little overwhelming on occasion. Sometimes, taking a look at the products other people have purchased can make the shopping experience easier.

Let’s say a customer doesn’t know what items they should purchase. A small pop-up at the bottom or top of their screen (that doesn’t interfere with what they’re currently looking at) may pique their interest and convince them to check out that item. 

If the customer is deliberating on buying something, seeing other shoppers that are confident in their purchase decisions can push a hesitant customer to fully commit and complete the checkout process.

6. Awards

Accolades aren’t just given out to anyone; they have to be earned by brands, and the kind of brands that consumers want to shop with.

Your ability to win awards shows consumers that you are a top contender with award-worthy products and services. They can trust that you’re able to meet not only their standards, but the standards of industry officials. 

7. Expert endorsements

You don’t have to be a fan of one particular chewing gum brand to remember the following statement, “four out of five dentists recommend.” All that matters is how the statement makes you feel.

Sounds pretty trustworthy, right? Picking a brand to support is much easier when you know that experts are backing it. When a customer sees experts support a product, they trust that those experts are using their knowledge (and morals) to do so. Considering that experts often know more than the average person, it allows the customer to relax and feel confident in their decision to purchase from you.

Benefiting from social proof doesn’t start and stop as soon as you learn about it. You can use this psychology to elevate your existing channels that already support how great your brand is. 



Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.

Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.