9 powerful real-life examples of social proof

9 powerful real-life examples of social proof

Gather inspiration from some of the internet's best social proof examples and use cases, plus how to effectively find, store, and use your social proof, according to the experts.

Your online reputation is your currency. Back in the day, professionals took a real "trust me, bro" approach to building relationships with potential customers. Now, people want references, verification, and evidence that you are a good person who knows what they're doing before forking over their hard-earned cash. This often comes in the form of social proof.

Social proof is a big part of how individuals and brands can build trust, demonstrate confidence, and showcase what they can do. Here is how to get social proof, how to keep track of it, and some of the best examples of social proof that we could find. Trust us, bro.

Table of contents

What is social proof?

Social proof is any content, quote, review, or referral from people outside of your agency. While it can take many forms, social proof is essentially the product of anyone who takes time out of their day to discuss your brand in a positive light.

You can use these quotes, videos, reviews, and snippets in your marketing efforts to show potential customers, "Hey! These people like us, you might too!"

Types of social proof

So we know that social proof is "people saying good things about your brand or product", but what does that actually look like? Here are just some of the many types of social proof:

  • Case studies of customers using your product or service in their personal or professional life
  • Video testimonials or text interviews of happy customers sharing their thoughts and opinions on your brand
  • Quotes from customers
  • Media mentions
  • Comments on forums and discussion spaces (Reddit, Quora, Facebook groups)
  • Honest-to-goodness direct referrals
  • Influencer sponsorships and unboxing videos
  • Reviews of your product or service
  • UGC ("user-generated content")
  • Examples of customers using your product in successful ways

This list is far from exhaustive. There are many other types of unconventional social proof that may not be listed. No matter what it looks like, the concept is the same: people saying good things about your product, sharing their opinions with others, and allowing you to leverage that in your marketing efforts.

If you simply can't wait for our list of examples, check out how Prezly leverages case studies with our happy customers to see social proof in action:

Top PR case studies & campaign examples

We believe Prezly can help your team produce better work with way less hassle, but hey, don't take our word for it.

How social proof fits into your PR and comms strategy

We at Prezly talk a lot about strategy and how it relates to public relations. If you're not thinking strategically, you're probably not doing it right. A good strategy is all about connecting with the public, current and future clients, the media, and the world at large.

Pictured: your audience.
Pictured: your audience.

Consider Gini Dietrich's PESO model: Paid, Earned, Social, and Owned media. The concept of social proof is a boon to pretty much every single type of media because it bolsters and reinforces anything you're claiming with the power of tangible, real-world proof.

Take earned media, for example. If you want to be featured in a newspaper or magazine, the ability to demonstrate to journalists that people love your products will reinforce the newsworthiness of your brand. This makes journalistic outlets more likely to feature you, which is, in marketing terms, "a good thing".

Another example is social media. If your social feed is filled with your marketing team constantly reiterating how amazing your company is, that's boring. But a testimonial from a third-party? People will pay attention to that far more than your big, lofty promises.

How to create a successful PR strategy for an uncertain 2024
How to create a successful PR strategy for an uncertain 2024

A solid strategy is the very basis of great PR, but much like New Year's resolutions, it can be tricky to stick with past January. Don't worry – Gini Dietrich & Laura Sutherland are here to help.

Stats around social proof benefit to brands

You're a discerning reader and aren't fully convinced as to the remarkable importance of social proof. I get it, and I respect it. Let me throw some statistics your way to change your mind.

  • 98% of participants read reviews for local businesses when considering who to work with, according to survey results from Bright Local
  • SaaS companies report that case studies are the biggest driver of sales, surpassing SEO, content, books, and more
  • 89% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know (a form of direct social proof), and 71% trust influencers, according to Nielsen
  • One study found that 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews before buying a product

Numbers are good. But intuitively, you know that the power of social proof is obvious. People trust those who are already trusted. They are more likely to go out on a limb and try your service if other people have done so previously. Which product are you more likely to buy: the one with no reviews, or the one with thousands of reviews and a 4+ star rating?


How to get social proof

Now that you're fully convinced as to the importance of social proof, how are you supposed to get this magic? Unfortunately, it's a pretty big ask. You are, essentially, requesting that somebody take time out of their precious day and do you a solid.

Don't worry, we're going to walk you through the steps.

Step 1. Set up Google Alerts

One of the nice things about the internet is that you don't always have to seek out social proof. Sometimes, people provide that for you organically in their everyday lives. Setting up a Google Alert will help you discover these precious little nuggets of mentions around the internet. Anytime a website is indexed mentioning your company by name, you'll get an alert in your email, and you can respond in a timely and appropriate manner.

Sometimes this will involve putting out fires, and other times it will involve collecting said positive mentions in your social proof database (which we will discuss shortly). Either way, it's always good to know what the people are saying, whether those people are on Quora or Reddit or whatever Elon Musk is calling his platform this week.

Even with Google Alerts set up, things will sometimes fall through the cracks. It's good to regularly (~every month or so) search on Reddit, X, TikTok, Quora, etc, to see what the people are saying and react appropriately.

The top 30+ digital tools for PR agencies
The top 30+ digital tools for PR agencies

The best PR agencies need the best tools. We scoured the internet (and asked some PR pros) to compile this beefy list of the top tools for PR firms.

Step 2. Set up your review profiles

There are three truths in life: death, taxes, and people reviewing things online. These reviews can happen almost anywhere, but the big ones are Google Reviews, Amazon, TrustRadius, Capterra, G2, BBB, Booking.com, Yelp, etc.

It all depends on your niche. Regardless of your industry, there will be a place for people to rate, review, and discuss your product or service. Wherever that place happens to be, so should you. This will help you to be proactive and reactive, not to mention collect valuable feedback to make your product or service even better.

What is crisis comms? A practical guide for beginners [2024]
What is crisis comms? A practical guide for beginners [2024]

Or, what to do with all those lemons.

Step 3. Ask your customers

There are many very good and very bad ways to ask your customers for social proof. We like to ask customers who are obviously happy with our product after a good interaction, such as when our amazing support team solves an issue or when we integrate a requested feature into the software based on customer feedback. We even have a friendly landing page for customers to "share the love ❤️" however they'd like:

[browser]

You can also tap the shoulders of happy customers and ask for case studies, interviews, reviews, and more. Maybe occasionally ask for social proof via newsletter (since they like you enough to subscribe to your newsletter!) or when chatting about other stuff.

Prezly – software for modern PR teams

  • Write & publish brand stories in an online newsroom

  • Send email campaigns, pitches & newsletters

  • Manage all your contact lists in a single CRM, with easy import & export

  • Measure performance to see who's engaging with your stories

However you decide to ask, do your best to reduce the friction between "asking" and "providing the social proof." People simply don't want to be bothered that much to help random brands, even if they happen to like said brand or the people who work there. Reducing friction can look like:

  • Providing links to review sites
  • Including sharing options to socials
  • Writing a stock editable template
  • Incentivizing reviews with gift cards and discounts (questionably ethical/legal)

Just make it as easy as possible for them. If you do an interview, for example, do it on their timeframe. If they do provide the social proof requested, be sure to hype them up! They did you a huge favor that will seriously benefit your brand. Make sure to shower them with gratitude and reciprocity when available.

When happy Prezly customers participate in a case study or video, we showcase the amazing work that their company does using our software. That way, it's a mutually beneficial experience: they get a nice video shout-out, and we get a nice series of quotes about how our software helps them do what they do best.

Step 4. Keep asking and never stop

Nothing undermines the credibility of a solid quote or recommendation like it being 3+ years old. Social proof can grow stale, and discerning customers may not trust an outdated recommendation. It's important to constantly be searching, inquiring, and compiling quotes and reviews from your happy customers.


How to store and catalog social proof

Having a place to put all your social proof is both incredibly important, and really difficult. Some social proof is video, some are text, some are on social media, and some are random reviews housed on a third-party website. These different formats can be really tricky to track and organize. However you decide to do it, make sure your catalog system is:

  • Searchable
  • Easy to update
  • Incorporates different media/file types
  • Can be accessed by everyone who needs it in your agency

The worst thing ever is when a C-suite or potential customer wants to see some social proof and you have to awkwardly cobble together a smattering of comments, tweets, and reviews from all around the internet. For us at Prezly, we keep our social mentions organized in a searchable Airtable spreadsheet, which works quite well for us.

Does it accidentally get pushed to the back burner and go a few weeks or months without getting updated until we need a fresh quote, and we don't have it because we forgot about the database? .… No, of course not. 👀


Examples of social proof

We asked some brilliant industry professionals for examples of their brand's social proof, and they were kind enough to share. Feel free to glean inspiration and motivation for collecting and sharing social proof in your marketing efforts from people who are already doing it fabulously.

Spotlight customer testimonials

Do you have quotes or videos from happy customers? Showcase them! Landing pages should be full of strategically placed testimonials. Lead generator Learo showcases happy customer reviews on their About page. When you click each one, it goes to a video of a customer testimonial:

What Learo's founder Scott has to say about their social proof:

In today's crowded online marketplace, trust is more than just valuable – it's the currency that separates good businesses from great ones. Savvy potential clients are bombarded with options, and they crave validation. They want to know they're making the right choice, and that's where social proof comes in. It's the difference maker, the bridge between skepticism and confidence. ​ The effectiveness of social proof is undeniable. It's not just optional, it's a strategic weapon. Studies show that positive social proof can increase conversion rates by up to 50%. At Learo, we've seen firsthand how showcasing our clients' success stories and industry recognition has fueled exponential growth. It's not just about patting ourselves on the back – it's about demonstrating to potential customers that we deliver real results, and that's a message that resonates deeply. ​ – Scott Gabdullin, Founder @ Learo

Host customer reviews on your site

As previously mentioned, there are tons of review sites out there where current customers can share their experiences on a neutral platform. You can, however, host reviews on your own site as well. This allows people to share their perspectives, give honest opinions, and let your brand and potential buyers know what they think. This is popular for e-commerce and online stores.

The only issue with having owned media reviews is that prospective customers may not trust the neutrality of the reviews as much. What stopping you from deleting bad reviews? Not that you would ever do that, of course. There is something to be said for allowing customers to have informed opinions and see both the good and the bad before purchasing or working with your company.

[browser]

Meg Hellerstedt shares how reviews on their site help Sylvane customers share their experiences:

Social proof is a must for businesses, especially for digital brands. Its primary purpose is to establish your brand’s legitimacy. It is the only way to effectively convince a stranger on the Internet that you are not some fly-by-night operation who will just take their money. ​ ​ As an e-commerce brand, we definitely needed to earn the trust of potential customers first before we could even get them to consider purchasing our product and head down our sales funnel. A strong social proof helped us build our credibility and reputation. ​ ​ When the hesitating user reads the positive experience of previous customers who were happy with our product, it helps to convince them of our legitimacy and the quality of our brand. A bad review is better than no review, because it just goes to show that your brand has real customers with real experiences and their own opinions using your product. ​ – Meg Hellerstedt, CEO @ Sylvane

Highlight review site ratings

Do people love you on Capterra? G2? Amazon? Shout it to the world. Niceboard.io, a tool to help customers build job custom boards, does exactly this on their main page:

[browser]

According to Niceboard's Growth Marketer, Hanna:

Social proof plays a crucial role for Niceboard, especially for all marketing activities from website copy to social media and beyond. It helps us build credibility and trust in our niche of job board software while providing examples of the product value. ​ In the B2B space, social proof in form of reviews is especially important, since third party review sites like Capterra or GetApp are a key part of the buying process for our customers and reviews dominate the decision process on these sites. ​ – Hanna, Growth Marketer @ Niceboard

Share on socials and engage with UGC

Part of growing in the digital age is actively engaging with your fan base on social media. Social is a powerful tool for connecting with new audiences and showing how your product or service can enrich your future customers' lives.

Maternity Center Oula shares client journeys on socials and does a brilliant and consistent job of capturing the midwife experience through the testimonials of mothers and families.

For one of our most recent Instagram posts, we focused on Britni and her story, a patient who switched to Oula during her second trimester. Her story and stories like hers connect us with other customers with similar experiences. In her post, Britni details some of the preferences she had that weren’t being met with other forms of care, things like Medicaid accessibility, relatable and judgment-free midwives, and being supported for using a doula. ​ These shared stories both highlight many of our customers’ values and our own resources and commitment to supporting our customers to have the type of pregnancy experience they envision for themselves. As UGC, stories like Britni’s help us show potential customers the possibilities of what we have to offer as well as someone real to reflect their own experience onto. Britni’s story gives potential customers a real-life look into our customers and the Oula experience – which many customers need or desperately want to see before committing to any brand. ​ – Joanne Schneider, CXO @ Oula Health

Showcase credible publication mentions

[browser]

Most of our examples so far have showcased social proof from a consumer-to-consumer perspective, but there are plenty of B2B social proof opportunities as well. You can share credible mentions in large publications if you've been able to garner that sort of press. What's more impressive than a Business Insider mention?

While this one is most impressive when utilized by things like digital marketing professionals, public relations agencies, and other comms experts, highlighting impressive media mentions can work for other industries as well. Ascendly Marketing uses publication mentions as part of their social proof to demonstrate the kind of coverage they can garner for their clients:

Social proof is a key driver for our brand's success. We leverage endorsements from credible publications as expert testimony, which not only showcases our knowledge and expertise but also significantly boosts our SEO rankings. This strategy has proven vital in enhancing our online visibility and credibility. ​ – Marshal Davis, President @ Ascendly Marketing

Show the results

The ability to visually demonstrate your product or service in action is a fantastic tool and should definitely be part of your social proof strategy if you have a visual product. That's what the team at HeadshotPros does with their dedicated wall of real customers:

[browser]

This is pretty fantastic social proof. Being able to show, not tell, what your service is capable of should always be the way to go.

Aside from the standard press coverage logos, we're most proud of our wall of real customer headshots. It's still a work in progress (we've just started adding customer quotes!) but we love how it's an overwhelming amount of social proof that shows the wide variety of people who use our product. ​ Social proof is worth its weight in gold to us, because the message just hits different when it's coming out of a customer's mouth. It's more believable, especially if it's accompanied by dozens of other testimonials like it. ​ A marketing strategy without social proof may be possible to pull off, but I don't know why you'd want to. We get 10–20 feedback submissions from customers everyday, and a healthy percentage of them decided to become customers because they (1) saw our social proof or (2) because they read a user review on the internet – which is natural social proof, if you think about it! ​ – Jamie, Marketing @ HeadshotPro

Display your biggest clients

This is obviously more for the B2B audience, but it can work for anyone. If you have an impressive roster of high-profile clients, show it! With their permission, of course. Some clients will not necessarily want to be featured in your marketing efforts, and that should be respected.

[browser]

We at Prezly appreciate all of our clients equally, but we also recognize the social power of brand recognition, which is why we highlight some of the big guns, like Ikea, Sennheiser, and Shopify, on our main page and elsewhere. It's good to let prospective customers know they'd be in good company.

150+ of the Best Press Release Examples from Real Brands
150+ of the Best Press Release Examples from Real Brands

Be inspired by more than 150 of the best press releases from the world's top brands, published with Prezly.


Let case studies do the work

Case studies are a terrific way of letting your brand's capabilities speak for itself. They are illustrative, engaging, and demonstrate your product or service in action.

[browser]

Digital marketing agency Promodoro uses case studies to get potential customers excited about what they can accomplish together:

Promodo uses social proof by showing our client testimonials and successful projects in our case studies section of our website. We get into the details of each case – the client's problem, how we identified the root problem, the solution we suggested and how we went about it, and the results from our efforts. Describing these case studies in detail is an authentic show of our capability. We also share our success stories on Facebook and Twitter. ​ Each of our case studies does more than add to a long list of project summaries. It tells the commitment and dedication we offer and serves as proof of guaranteed satisfaction if you choose to work with us. An hour ago, we shared our recent work with Glovo and MasterCard. Sharing this story on our Facebook and Twitter page shares our journey with our audience and invites them to be part of it. ​ – Valerie Lavska, CMO @ Promodo

Display your reviews on social

We already mentioned customer success and stories on social, but you can (and should) share reviews directly on social, too!

While your social media strategy should probably find a healthy balance between engaging, educational, and self-promotional content, if you do go the self-promo route, why not let happy customers do the work for you?

We use social proof everywhere, from our website to our social media presence. We think that when customers share their positive experiences, it’s more invaluable than any marketing message we could create. And when our messaging reflects those lived experiences, our brand rightfully earns that credibility with new potential users. ​ – James, DeLapa, Director of Digital Marketing @ Wrike

Embrace the power of social proof

Because social proof is your currency, make it work for you. Collect as much positivity as you can, organize it in meaningful ways, and share it liberally with potential customers.

If you're looking for a fantastic, all-in-one platform for your press releases, case studies, email campaigns, and so much more, why not try Prezly? Our free 14-day, no credit card trial lets you see if it might be the powerhouse you've been looking for 👇

Prezly – software for modern PR teams

  • Write & publish brand stories in an online newsroom

  • Send email campaigns, pitches & newsletters

  • Manage all your contact lists in a single CRM, with easy import & export

  • Measure performance to see who's engaging with your stories

 

Join 500+ PR teams already loving Prezly

Take the stress out of contact management and distribution with a dedicated outreach CRM that your whole team can use.

Made with