What is social proof?
In marketing, social proof is evidence that other people or businesses use and like your product. This encourages people discovering you to sign up and pay for your product.
There are many different types of social proof including testimonials, client logos, quantifications, and expert endorsements.
This blog is focused on social proof for SaaS businesses. It will give you a strong understanding on how social proof can help you grow your business, and how to collect and share it.
What are the types of social proof?
There are lots of different types of social proof. I've created a visual guide to summarise the 15 key types. Within each key type of social proof there are a few different concepts and formats, which I've detailed too.
I've tried to capture as many as possible, and explained each type in more detail below.
Types of social proof explained
I've listed the key types of social proof below, explained each one, and added specific examples.
What are testimonials?
One of the most common types of social proof and are used by the majority of SaaS business to drive interest, sign ups and upgrades. Here's some examples of SaaS testimonials. And here's three places to use testimonials. Here's my complete guide to landing page testimonials.
Awards and certifications
If your SaaS has won awards, these are a type of social proof. They show that experts or other customers believe you have a leading product.
Case studies are stories of your customers' success. You can think of them interviews with customers. Usually they start with life before your product, explain the setup or integration process, and describe the outcomes / life after implementing your product.
Here's three examples of SaaS case studies.
Reviews and ratings
Reviews and ratings are objective opinions of your business from customers. There are many platforms that collect reviews and ratings about SaaS companies. You can showcase these ratings on your website.
If your SaaS has been covered in a podcast, on a news report, or in an article, you can highlight media mentions on your website. These are 'as seen on / in' and lend credibility to your product.
What's happening in your product right now? A live activity feed demonstrates customers are currently using your product to achieve their goals.
Wisdom of friends
This is showing the visitor to your website that their own network of friends or colleagues is already using the product.
Family and friends word of mouth
This is similar to wisdom of friends, but with word of mouth, your customer is referring a friend or colleague. The fact that this invite comes from someone they recipient already knows is a form of social proof.
This is a type of social proof based on affiliation. If your product integrates with other well-known SaaS products, showcasing this acts as social proof. It tells people that your SaaS is 'in good company'.
User generated content
This could be a video or picture 'review' of your product or service. You can showcase this on your website and in your marketing materials.
Celebrity and influencer endorsements
These are a type of testimonial but they are from someone well known. This could be a celebrity, something that is common in the ecommerce space.
For SaaS however, it's more likely to be an influencer of your potential users, for example someone who is popular on Twitter or runs a well-known podcast. This may be similar to media mentions.
One way to showcase influencers can be as well known users on your landing page - 'used and loved by'.
The majority of SaaS landing pages include client logos, around 75%. These can be included as a banner of logos, or can be showcased next to relevant testimonials.
Quantifications are a type of social proof that use numbers to evidence outcomes from your product, or usage of it. For example, you could showcase the number of new sign ups las week, or average usage by customer.
Does a well known expert have an opinion of your product? Showcase their expert opinion as part of your social proof. This is similar to influencer proof, however experts have knowledge and credibility rather than a large audience.
Has your business received accreditations? Great. This can also be considered a type of social proof as they affiliate you with the awarding-body and build credibility and trust.
About this list of social proof types
This list is quite exhaustive, and some of the ideas here may not be considered exclusively social proof. However it's a good kick off to get a high-level understanding of the most common types of social proof.
How do I use social proof in my SaaS?
There are lots of different ways to use social in your SaaS businesses. Here I outline some common SaaS business objectives, and show how social proof can be used to help achieve them:
Increase landing page conversion
Onboard and activate more users
Close more sales deals
Get more upgrades from free to paid
Here's an example of using Hotjar to encourage free users to upgrade to a paid account. In-product upgrades are supported with social proof in the form of testimonials. This is a unique way to use testimonials, and should help turn more free users into pro users.
Alternatively, you can include image testimonials or a Wall of Love in your emails to users about upgrading their account.
How do I collect social proof?
You can use social proof software like Senja.io to collect social proof. Depending on the type of social proof, there are different ways to collect it - read on it for the best ways to collect different types of social proof.
How do you share social proof?
Social proof can only help grow your business if you share it in the right way and at the right time. A few key ways to share social proof are:
- Testimonials as widgets on your landing pages, for example as testimonials
- Testimonials a Wall of Love, for example in your sales flow
- Testimonial as images, for example across your social channels
What social proof software can I use?
Different types of social proof can be collected or support with different types of dotware. Here are some of the key types of social proof and the software you can use.
Testimonial collection software
If you want an all-in-one tool for collecting, managing and sharing your testimonials, you can use testimonial collection software like Senja.
Case study collection software
- Platforms like Reviews.io and Trustpilot allow customers to leave objective reviews.
- For SaaS businesses, platforms like Capterra and G2 allow customers to review your software.
- If you want to collect reviews of your software, there are dedicated platforms to do this. Consider using X, Y and Z.