Social Proof Marketing: Why social proof is useless without customer proof at the top

Credibility Marketing: Why social proof is inadequate without having customer proof at the very Top ?

Enough has been written about Social Proof, and how it helps conversions and lead generation. Absolutely ! No doubts whatsoever. But how do you prioritize and what is a must-have versus nice-to-have among’st the social proofs ? where should you put your money ?

Firstly, lets start with what is social proof ?

In simple terms social proof is the power of a group. The inherent human psychology of ‘Follow the Herd’ mentality unraveled and applied to marketing in a very good way. Prospects and visitors to your website get influenced positively by facts and figures that assure them that they are in good company.

Now, what factors should you consider when you look at the various social proofs ?

There are 5 things you need to keep in mind in choosing the social proof you want to brag about .

1. Credibility

The credibility of the person or source of information is very important. There are 2 factors here –

A. Is the credentials of the person (or source) known or can be verified easily (eg. google)?

B. what is in it for the person who is vouching ? ( what is the vested interest, if any ?)

2. Quality (versus Quantity)

It is important to show volume numbers to showcase the wide adoption of your product or service, but it is much more important to showcase that what you are providing has been valuable to the people who matter the most – the ones who have been using your product or services in the past – your existing customers.

3. Buyer Persona (versus no persona)

People get influenced by what people similar to them say and do. You need to think what can help you to convince your prospects that people with similar persona as theirs have been using your services.

(to know more about buyer persona, see this informative post by Tony Zambito – What is a Buyer Persona? )

4. Storytelling

Presenting content in a story format has proven to be much more effective in engaging the audience. therefore you need to think what proof allows itself to be presented  in a story format.

5. Authority matters

According to Seth Godin, we always look up and pay attention to people who have the authority in the subject. Think who is in the best position to vouch for your capabilities as the service provider ?

(to know more about authority and why it matters, see this post in Copyblogger by Seth – Striving for Authority)

Finally, so what is the pecking order of priority in choosing your social proof ?

Based on the above 5 criteria, i would rate them in the following order.

1. Customer testimonials (quotes, photos, videos, case studies, logo, benefits metric, etc)

2. User reviews

3. Kudo tweets and posts in social media by customers

4. Endorsements by 3rd party (Influencers, Celebrity)

5. Media coverage (as seen in …)

Social Proof Marketing: Why social proof is useless without customer proof at the top - Top 10

6. Partners and awards

7. Trust and security seals

8. Social sharing stats (number of shares, re-tweets, likes, follows)

9. Product and service usage stats like emails sent, pages created, goods shipped, etc

10. Subscriber base voume stats like number of users, customers, followers,  etc

Of-course, if you can show all of these and more – should i say – go knock yourself out !

Summary: Customer Social Proof in the form of testimonials ( quotes, case studies, reviews, tweets, photos, videos, logos, endorsements, benefits metric, and more) must be on top of your social proof points showcase because they are much more effective in persuading your prospects to do business with you. Therefore it is in your best interest to make it a priority to collect them, and publish them all across your marketing.

let me know what you think ?

please share via commenting. thanks, anupam



Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts – Hosted Our-Customers Page

Get More Leads and More Conversions by Optimizing the use of Testimonials, Success Stories, Case Studies, Videos, Reviews, Customer Photos, Tweets, or any other Social Proof, in your Marketing.

Ask for a Demo today to see how it can help “Transform Your Customer Success Marketing”. OR Contact Anupam Bonanthaya via LinkedIn


see some best practices on usage of customer testimonials

1. Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, get more CTA conversions.

2. Content Marketing: Testimonials help increase blog conversions, and get more leads.

3. Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study pages for conversion

4. Best Practices : A-Z customers – examples of cool our customers page

5. Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials – Examples of Cool Home Pages

6.  Best Practices: Contextual testimonials – examples of features pages that rock

7.  Best Practices : How to keep testimonials real, and reasons why not to fake them

8. Content Marketing: Increase email newsletter click through and CTA conversions using testimonials

see other posts related to social proof

1. The Psychology of Social Proof & How to Build Trust in Your Business by Andy Crestodina at Unbounce

2. 7 Things You MUST Understand When Leveraging Social Proof in Your Marketing Efforts by Gregory Ciotti from Hubspot

3. Why You Must Have Social Proof On Your Blog by Julie Neidlinger at CoSchedule


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