How To Use Kiasu-ness To Your Business’s Advantage: Do’s and Don’ts of Social Proof

Jasmine Toh

Previously, I wrote about killer client testimonials and why you need them. If you haven’t read it yet, you should click on that link.

Truth to be told, there are many other ways to use social proof. (Or what I like to call using kiasu-ness to your advantage).

Client testimonials are just the tip of the iceberg really. If you really want to be able to call yourself a true expert in social proof, you will have to finish reading this blog.

If used correctly, social proof can be a very powerful tool to increase the credibility of your business.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of social proof.

The Do’s

1. Use celebrities and expert endorsements

The best utilisation of celebrity endorsements will probably be South Korea. Walk along the streets of Seoul and you will see faces of Song Joong Ki, Lee Min Ho and other famous celebrities plastered on shops and television screens.

These are usually paid celebrity endorsements where an official contract is involved.

Here is an example from one of our clients, My Cozy Cot, they showcased some of their celebrity clients, Jeannette Aw and Shelia Sim on their landing page.


Natural celebrity endorsement is when the individual publicly approves of your brand/product without you paying them.

Find this dinosaur pouch familiar?

That’s right! It is the pouch that Ho Ching carried at the arrival ceremony at the White House.

Within hours after the above photo made its rounds online, Pathlight’s Art faculty website received overwhelming response for the product and sold more than 200 pouches in one day.

Previously, it took them four months to sell close to 200 pouches. (Wow, look at that difference.)

Industry experts are those with the knowledge and credentials to prove your product’s value from a technical perspective.

When you buy something that you are unfamiliar with, you would seek an expert’s opinion because experts know best right?

Going by that logic, if your product was reviewed and approved by an expert in the relevant field, credibility for your product in terms of quality and effectiveness will go way up.

An expert’s endorsement affirms that your product or service is good from a quality, health, medical and effectiveness perspective.

A great example of is the Ostrich Pillow, which has received medical endorsements from a sleep expert and a sports psychologist.

2. Use case studies

These are similar to client testimonials, except they are much more formal and in-depth.

Case studies are very comprehensive and will showcase the entire process and specific results. They provide higher authority social proof and will be seen as more reputable than client testimonials which are usually brief excerpts.


Hitachi Singapore uses this tactic where they documented the water problem in Sri Lanka and how they solved it.

3. Show media mentions and certificates

If your product has been featured in a reputable magazine, newspaper or tv series, show it off!

The French Cellar has all their media mentions on their website, represented by the logos of each media. The logos are also linking out to the publicity coverage which they have collected over time. In this way, it definitely increases the credibility of their product.



Certifications and badges come from a credible, 3rd party entity which certifies and proves that you are a knowledgeable, high-quality or trustworthy source.

If you are accredited, make sure you have it on your website.

We practice what we preach. If you check out our website, you will be able to find a section with our accreditations.


4. Show your customer base

The best way to show your customer base is to place your client logos on your homepage or landing page. Prospects will be convinced that your product is good, since other companies are already using it.

That’s right, we did this for our own website too.


5. Show social share count

These are essentially the number of social shares, they can be added to any page on your website (landing page or product page) but they are most often found on blog posts.


(Tip: only use this when you have high numbers of shares or likes)

6. Encourage ratings and reviews

Ratings and reviews are most applicable to e-commerce sites.

Chances are, consumers will buy something from your site if they see five-star rating from other people who bought it before.

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


7. Use urgency!

In general, people are scared to miss out on a good deal or opportunity. To use social proof with urgency, you have to unleash their inner kiasu-ness.


You could follow what this qoo10 vendor did by incorporating a countdown for the offer and/or listing the remaining units left in stock.

If a person was still having doubts about purchasing that tablet, they would cast it aside and buy it because they don’t want the offer to end or for it to run out of stock.

See what I mean?

The Don’ts

Don’t use negative social proof

The classic study on negative social proof was conducted at Arizona Petrified Forest National Park. A sign was put up to prevent theft of petrified wood. It read, “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, destroying the natural state of the Petrified Forest.”

What do you think happened?

It actually tripled the amount of theft!

Apparently, they got the message that stealing was okay since other people were already stealing.

If any of your pages have things like “only a tiny portion of our readers give” or “get your flu shot because 67% of your friends didn’t”, you should remove them immediately.

Moral of the story is, don’t use negative social proof. Never, ever.

Don’t use low proof

If there is one thing you need to take away from this blog, it would be this – no proof is better than low proof.

Visual Website Optimizer conducted an A/B split test and found that removing social media buttons with low social share counts significantly increased conversions.

Low social proof actually hurts conversions because it makes your stuff look unpopular.

So if you have very little social proof, be it in terms of endorsements, reviews or social shares, wait until you have a considerable amount before you start showcasing them.

To prevent yourself from making this mistake, consider Social Warfare WordPress plugin. This social media share plugin is great because they will only show the actual social share counts after they reach a specific number.

Tadah, problem solved!

P.S. If you need help, you can look for us.

When you arrange for a consultation:

- Our consultant will first drop you a call to understand your business needs better and see how we can help you.
- It’s not exclusive to social proof, you can ask us anything regarding your digital marketing strategy.
- They will then arrange for a quick face-to-face meeting to show what will be suitable for your business.

Consultations are free and will take roughly 15 min. We'd love to hear from you.