Not all areas of business and internet marketing are created equally.

The vast majority of internet entrepreneurs spend all their time focused on aspects of business that have a low chance of making them successful. 

This article is about one aspect of business you absolutely should focus on social proof.

Social proof is about being human. Human beings survive and thrive off of cooperation – it’s been that way for hundreds of thousands of years. We’re wired to be incredibly social.

This plays a HUGE role in buying decisions. And many business owners are finding social proof as the “missing piece” for their business. You can have a fantastic product and a great website. But if you’re missing social proof – if it’s clear that no one has tested your product out before, you’re going to have difficulty making a sale.

Of course, the opposite is also true. If you have tons of social interaction, gaining trust, selling products, and building a community will be considerably easier.

So how do you get social proof? Well, we’ll cover that. First, let’s talk about the two types of social proof: positive and negative!

Positive Vs. Negative Social Proof

Social proof is essentially, “other people feel this way about this product/service”.

So naturally, social proof, in and of itself, is relatively unbiased. It’s just information. It’s our job as business owners and marketers to put the definition on that data.

There are two ways we can do this. We can use social proof as a way to tell people what they shouldn’t be doing (negative), or we can use social proof as a way to tell people what they should be doing (positive).

Here are two examples:

Negative Social Proof:

1,000 People Leave Litter at the Park Everyday. This Ruins the Environment – Don’t Be One of Them!

Positive Social Proof:

Last Year, 1,000 People Pledged to Stop Littering at Our Park. This Year, Our Wildlife is Up 15% As a Result!

The points of these two statements is obvious: the person who made them doesn’t want people to litter in the park.

Real quickly, which one do you think would be more effective? If you said the second one, you’re dead on! But in order to really get into the meat of what social proof is, we have to dissect why the second result does much better.

It turns out we humans like “being in the club”. Therefore, when we look at social proof like this, our brains say “what are other people doing, and how can I replicate that?” So with the first example, the “club” is people littering.

Therefore, the first example actually increases the number of people littering!

Now, take a look at the second example. 

In this example, the club is people who pledged to stop littering. Our brains see this and think “if everyone else has stopped littering, I should too!”

Obviously, there will be exceptions in both cases. However, the vast majority of people will follow the “club” mentality. Therefore, it’s virtually always better to use positive social proof, since using negative social proof often leads to the exact opposite results from what you were intending!

Social Proof “Mediums”

Now that you understand the basic “in the club” mentality, we can get down to the practical stuff. 

There are many ways you can demonstrate social proof on your website or for your business. Since this is a blog, we’ll mainly be focusing on what you can use for your internet business.

Here are some of the best ways to display social proof:

  • Reviews
  • Social Media Badges (twitter, facebook, etc)
  • Comments
  • “Views” Display
  • “X number of people have saved/won/earned $X with our service!”
  • Display number of monthly readers


Reviews are INCREDIBLY important if you’re selling a product. Take a look at these two statistics:

According to CompUSA and an iPerceptions study, “63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.”

Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

If you’re selling a product and aren’t featuring reviews and testimonials, you’re literally losing money. People need to see that others have gained value from your product or service before they’ll think about giving you money.

Before we leave the topic of reviews, one quick note: don’t engineer fake reviews! In order to get maximum social proof and credibility, your reviews must be verifiable. Also, don’t delete negative reviews!

If you get negative reviews, respond to them in a way that everyone can see. So if you get a negative review, write a comment under that review (that’s clearly visible) correcting the issue the customer had a problem with. This deflects the negativity and, in some cases, can actually help you more than a positive review can! People don’t expect perfection, but they do expect value!

Social Media Badges

Another big one. And fortunately, something that’s very easy to add to your website. By now, you most likely have social media profiles for your business. If not, get on the immediately! Social media has made it MUCH easier to get social proof, but it can’t help if you aren’t utilizing it.

Display the number of Facebook likes and Twitter followers you have prominently. Be sure to include “like”, “retweet” and “share” buttons to every article you post.

Spend time actively building the amount of people you have on your Facebook page. How? Engage with the people that already like your page! Constantly share value to all your followers. Figure out ways to provide value to people on your Facebook page and you’ll grow exponentially.

Naturally, you don’t want to feature your social media profiles if you have hardly any followers or likes. However, once you get a decent number (over 200 is a good place to start, it really starts getting good over 1000), feature these badges in prominent locations!


Comments are another fantastic way to prove your site provides people with value. And, once again, they’re one of the easiest ways you can start getting benefits from social proof immediately.

Two ways you can increase the number of comments you’re getting:

  1. Ask a question at the end of your post.
  2. Respond to every comment.

If you ask for your audience’s opinion at the end of a post, they’ll be likely to give it to you. At that point, if you respond to each and everyone, your comment count will score, people will feel like you actually care about them, and they’ll post additional comments in response to the comment you just made.

Number of Views

If you have a video in your post or an image you feel a lot of people will click on, you can add to your social proof by posting how many people have viewed the video or image.

“X Number of People”

This is fantastic for a product or service that saves people money, makes them money, or saves them time. You can display a number (or better yet, a counter) that displays an average of how much money you’ve saved your clients, how much money you’ve helped them earn, or how much time has been saved.

Number of Monthly Readers

Lastly (in this article), displaying how many people read your website monthly is a great way to display social proof. To figure this out, you can either take direct traffic stats, or count email subscribers and social media followers.

Most people would much rather subscribe to a blog with “over 100,000 monthly readers” than a blog with no visible social proof on the page.

Is There a Such Thing as Too Much?

Absolutely. With social proof, it’s important to keep it limited to the bare minimum. And this is the same with a lot of web design or writing tips – in general, the simpler you can make things, the better!

Put social credibility indicators where they make sense. On your opt-in box for your blog, put “over ‘X number’ of monthly readers!”

Before and after your posts, add social media badges. 

If you have a product page, make sure the reviews are prominent. If you’re selling a product through a sales page, put testimonials front and center.

And remember – if you’re going to use social proof, make sure the “join the club” points towards something POSITIVE to your business, not negative!

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