Today's consumers are a wary bunch. Everywhere they turn during their time spent online they see, although usually ignore, countless scams and schemes peddled by unscrupulous advertisers. As such, it shouldn't come as any surprise that it often takes quite a lot of effort to ease their concerns when they're looking to offer their patronage to a new company for the first time.

Social proof has played an important role in advertising for as long as modern advertising has eAsted, but the digital age has upped the stakes enormously. Today, consumers are better informed than ever before, so brands need to make much more effort to instil trust and authority among their target audiences. By leveraging social proof in the right way, you'll be better equipped to increase conversions.

Expert Endorsements

An expert endorsement comes from a well-known and widely respected authority in your industry, such as a business leader or a prominent blogger. One of the most credible forms of social proof of all, you can seek out expert endorsements by having professionals review your products or services or interviewing leading influencers in your industry.

A closely related form of social proof is the celebrity endorsement, and they've long been a staple of advertising. Although celebrities often aren't experts in the things they endorse and, indeed, are usually paid to endorse certain products, celebrity endorsement is a tried-and-tested method that's sure to attract attention and show your target audience that you're well-informed about the here and now.

Social Subscribers

As any marketer knows,. the size of a business's following on social media is an important metric, since it shows how popular a brand has become. If you have a large and rapidly growing follower base on a major social network, such as Facebook and Twitter, then you should proudly display it on your advertising material, including on your landing pages.

Most consumers know that quantity doesn't automatically equal quality, but many lazy marketers actually buy Facebook followers to make themselves look more popular than they really are. However; your target audience will quickly see through the charade when they find that almost no one is actually engaging with your Facebook page. In other words, never buy subscribers for the sake of social proof.

Customer Testimonials

Quotes and testimonials can also be valuable, provided that they are genuine. Unlike an endorsement, which comes from a celebrity or other well-known figure and might be paid for, a testimonial is meant to be a personal recommendation in the form of a brief but positive review. However; you also don't have to look far to find obviously fake testimonials and, again, many consumers can see through them.

A typical testimonial comes from an average user of your product or service, someone who istypically representative of your target audience and who people can relate to. You can obtain testimonials by approaching your best customers and asking them if they would be happy to provide one. You'll also need to ask permission to use their real name and an image to lend credibility to the testimonial.

Telling people where you've been featured is still an effective and tried-and-tested tactic, despite it frequently being abused by scammers. As such, it's best to take a more unique approach to the concept, rather than simply writing 'As seen on...' and plastering a load of widely recognized brand logos on the page. You need to make a bit more effort if you want to retain your authenticity and credibility.

Listing where you've been featured could refer to a quote, a reference, a guest blog post, an interview or just about anything else. It's also important to stick to relevant references that are specific to your industry, rather than generic and far-reaching sources such as television channels (a favourite among spammers). There's no harm in looking for the big sources, but remember that relevancy is the priority.

Trust Badges

With so many online security threats, it shouldn't come as any surprise that your average consumer tends to be sceptical when buying something online from a company they're not familiar with. However, you can help alleviate their concerns by including trust badges, particularly at any email newsletter signup pages, checkout pages or any other page that asks for personal or financial information.

A lot of trust badges are associated with TSL security, since all websites that handle personal of financial information absolutely need a suitable and up-to-date security certificate. Generally, you'll be able to display relevant trust badges when you purchase a security certificate in the first place. Asfar as consumers are concerned, Norton, McAfee and Verisign offer the best sense of trust for online payments.

Personal Recommendations

Of all sources of advertising you have at your disposal, the most effective one is personal recommendations. After all, consumers are vastly more likely to make a purchase based on a recommendation of a friend. One of the easiest ways to implement personal recommendations is to offer a mutually beneficial referral system, typically one that gives an incentive to the referrer.

Thanks to social media platforms, you often don't even have to do anything to facilitate personal recommendations. For example, if someone on Facebook has a friend that follows a particular brand page, the friend's profile icon will appear if they visit that page. However, you can help encourage people to recommend you by adding social sharing buttons on your website.

Ratings and Reviews

Customer ratings and reviews are the second most trusted source of advertising. Go ahead, and rate the business you like and make a positive impact to some local founder who you believe has transformed your life with his/her examplary skills.

Thanks for reading. Stay motivated, Always ; )