Published by: Jameela Ghann

You and I are like every other eCommerce store owner. We’re all trying to sell as much as possible!

One of the best ways to sell more is to improve your conversion rate by adding social proof.

Social proof from things like photo reviews or the number of customers watching a product is a powerful way to drive sales, but only if you use it properly. 

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is the force that compels shoppers to recreate the choices of others. This can be anything from adding a popular product to their cart to buying a product that is almost sold out.

Human beings naturally act like pack animals, both in real life and online! 

When it comes to social proof online, you can show shoppers that enough people are doing in a specific event and they are likely to take the same action.

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When Social Proof Goes Wrong

While you can use social proof online to encourage shoppers to take an action you want, using social proof incorrectly can promote unwanted behavior. 

This unwanted behavior is called negative social proof.

Responding To Negative Reviews

Examples of Negative Social Proof Include

  • Zero reviews on a product page
  • Reviews that don’t match the product
  • Low viewer counts
  • Low social shares
  • Testimonials from people who aren’t in your target market
  • No “About Us” page

If you want to know how to avoid these like the plague, keep reading!

Zero Reviews

If you have products that have no reviews, and you show that on your product page, you’re showing negative social proof. 

You are telling people a few things about your product:

  1. No one has bought it
  2. It’s not worth reviewing
  3. There is no point in being the first to review

How to Fix This

If you are using a product reviews app like Fera Product Reviews, you can 

  1. Hide the reviews widget when there are no reviews
  2. Show reviews from similar products 

This will be the best course of action for you if you want to avoid negative shopper behavior. 

Irrelevant Reviews

Sometimes you will choose to show reviews from similar products, but you’ll forget to correctly group your products. 

That means that you could be displaying reviews for storage boxes under the stationary products if you are an office supply store. 

This will put people off, so be sure to avoid this type of negative social proof!

How to Fix This

Make sure that you have grouped your products properly in your reviews app!

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Low Viewer Counts

There is so much power in displaying social proof events like “50 people added this to their cart” or “10 people are viewing this product, and there are only 2 left.” 

Things go wrong when stores display low viewer counters like “1 person watching” or “6 sales - 2 weeks ago”. 

How to Fix This

To fix the issue of low viewer count, you can:

  1. Not include the count at all
  2. Set a more extended lookback period (in Fera, the max look back in 8 weeks) 
  3. Raise the minimum count to a certain number before the widget displays

Remember, low social proof counts will make your shoppers think your product is of low quality, or worse, not popular!

Low Social Shares

Just like the low viewer counts, low social shares are negative social proof. 

Those social media buttons that proudly display your 26 followers do nothing but hurt your credibility and trust. 

Negative Social Proof Social Media

How to Fix This

I always advise stores to remove social sharing plugins. Not only are they distracting, but they are also hurting your credibility. 

If you don’t want to get rid of these buttons, wait to add them until your numbers grow.

Testimonials From the Wrong People

Is there anything worse than getting advice from someone you know doesn’t have the same life experience as you?


Your customers feel the same way. 

How to Fix This

When you get a testimonial, make sure that it is from someone that resonates with your target market or is in your target audience. 

Show off a testimonial from a customer that truly represents your ideal customer.

No About Us Page 

Social proof is all about trust. Without an about us page, it is pretty hard for people to trust you. 

It’s not enough to have a page with a paragraph or two of your brand story. 

You need to convince people what they should trust you.

And they can’t trust you when they can’t see you or get a feel for your personality. 

Blank Page

How to Fix This

Change your 'About Us' page to show more personality, and add a photo of human beings (preferably the founder) in there!

Turn a Negative Into a Positive!

Negative social proof is just as powerful as positive social proof.

Do your best to follow the tips above to push shoppers to buy - not click away. 

Try Fera to add positive social proof to your store today!

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