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How to Lift Conversion Rates with Social Proof

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I kicked off a fun couple of days at Adobe Summit last week by attending a session from Skullcandy and Under Armour about the “social selling” platform they’re using, called Needle. Needle is a cool idea: It combines social proof and customer support, using your existing fans (social proof) to answer your customers’ questions (customer support). It’s a really neat way to integrate social proof into your website.

Jeremy Andrus from Skullcandy and Beau Kemeys from Under Armour shared a little bit about their models and brought up a couple of their fans/customer support reps, Nick and Katie. It was fun to meet the “Needlers” and hear about the process straight from them.

Jeremy and Beau also shared some other ways to use social proof. Here are some take-aways that you can implement for your customers:

1. Show your culture.

Skullcandy makes an edgy product for an edgy bunch of people: snowboarders, skaters, bikers, DJs… And they want to show that the people who work at Skullcandy are their customers. They have a “powder rule” in the office: six inches of powder means everyone hits the slopes and work starts late. They rival Brooks Bell with their sweet office set-up including a mini skate park in the reception area. (Even we don’t have one of those.) And they don’t make a secret of this stuff! It’s all up on their Facebook page and Twitter feed for anyone to see—giving them a little street cred with their customers.

2. Know your customers.

Under Armour is a brand for college-age, totally ripped, fitness freak athletes, right? Well, partly. Under Armour actually has a pretty big segment of customers that are 35-ish-year-old moms looking to get back in shape, or into better shape. They can still market to beefy college guys, but they’re not ignoring their other segments, either! Katie, the super-fan, fit much better into the 35-ish mom demographic, and could speak with a lot of shared experiences to that customer base.

3. Tie your social channels in to your website.

Social is all well and good, but does it really make a difference? It does to Skullcandy! A significant number of Facebook “likes” on a product can increase conversions on their website by 10 percent! Of course, that means you have to have your page built out so that your Facebook likes show up on your product pages. Get on that! Try it out and test it—a possible conversion lift like this makes it totally worth it.

4. Facilitate one-to-one conversations.

Whether it’s through social media channels or platforms like Needle, those one-to-one interactions are key. Get your fans and customers talking to each other! Under Armour sees a 27 percent conversion rate from customers who talked one-on-one to a Needler, as opposed to the usual single-digit conversion rate. You can’t argue with the numbers: it works!

It was so much fun seeing Skullcandy and Under Armour sharing their insights and introducing their super-fans, Nick and Katie at Adobe Summit. I came away with a much greater appreciation for the importance of social proof!

How are you integrating social proof in your conversion process? What other ways might you get conversations started on that gold-standard one-to-one level?

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