What is social proof?

Social Proof is a phrase coined in 1984 by author Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. It is the idea that people try to emulate others by doing things to mimic their behavior. In marketing, social proof relates to a similar idea. Social proof is one of the principles described by Robert Cialdini in his groundbreaking book. It works on the principle that an undecided person makes a decision (sometimes adopts a view) the same as the majority of the group.

Using a simple example, it looks like this: a person faced with the choice between an ice cream shop with people and an empty one is more likely to choose the one where there is a queue.

shopping mall

When people shop before committing or ordering the first purchase, they look for a review, recommendations, and how others had used the product. This is why online stores are so hard at getting people to review products to increase the number of people making a purchase.

Why is social proof important?

Social Proof is important in any strategy. Social proof can improve your business sale rate too. Social proof can also increase your sales. It can make your business grow and sell quicker.

If you want to learn about other psychological effects important for marketing check out our dedicated article about marketing psychology.

Sources of social proof

  • Customer – Social proof generated by your customers in the form of reviews or testimonials.
  • Experts – Recommendation from an expert in a particular field.
  • Certifications – When you were given approval by an organization or company with authoritativeness and trust, e.g., “FDA approved”
  • Crowds – A large number of people who used your product, e.g., “Million copies sold.”
  • Celebrities – Social proof generated by celebrity or influencer endorsements or mentions.
  • Friends – Recommendation from friends and family.

How to use social proof in marketing?

There are three primary ways to most effectively use social proof in digital marketing of customers with your marketing strategy to display your satisfied customers to prospective customers. You know that people were happy with your brand and products or services before this is an easy marketing tactic.

Here is a video illustrating social proof theory

Reviews

Customer reviews are typically very short snippets of descriptive text written by customers about products. You can ask for reviews via the Product Page or contact your consumers via email to request their feedback. By including microformats, you can easily see the reviews in the Google results. You’ll add more content to your site to give more value to your product, and if you incorporate the micro formatted, your reviews will even be displayed in Google search results.

Testimonials

To get a testimonial, you have to give some breakout service or build an excellent customer relationship. You need a good amount in order to get one. Since their intensives are more difficult and more complex to receive but they also are more powerful to potential customers. Testimonials are similar to reviews in that they are built by your customers to submit.

User-generated content

Including a branded hashtag encourages users to share their engagement with your brand and can be featured on your social pages. You can share UGC on your brand’s account and tag the original poster. This tactic works on almost any platform but is most common is Instagram.

Influencer marketing

The concept of celebrity endorsements dates back hundreds of years. An endorsement from a prominent public figure carries significant weight in our society. Today, much of that influence comes from notable social media stars with a large following. This tactic mostly includes compensating influencers for showing off your brand in their photos.

girls shopping

Using influencers in digital marketing is an example of using social proof. Viewers follow these influencers because they’d like to see what kinds of products and services the people wear, use, and love. Companies use influencer marketing in the form of collaborations, PR packages, or in the form of barter.

Integrations

Another form of social proof is integration. These typically include SaaS tools that want to make it convenient for their customers to use different services they are already using. Also, it makes the users want to try the other platform and become a customer. For example, Calendly integrated with Slack. Calendly tweeted about their new integration, and later Slack retweeted the post.

Affiliations

Affiliations are a simpler form of social proof, and you can usually get them without asking for them directly. This is when your company is associated with some other business, person, or organization.

An example of social proof is to show the logos of publishers with high authority on your website. You can also include trust badges, so users feel more comfortable at your business.

Statistics

Showcase real-time data. The most effective forms of social proof–showing your visitors how many other users are viewing the page, purchasing the product, or sharing it on social media–may noticeably increase FOMO. You can also do this to demonstrate the number of products sold, clients served, etc.

desk

If you have a large customer base, mention the size of your customer base in your profile bio. For example, “Veronica Maxwell used our product and saw an increase of 37% in conversions”. When people see that many people are using your product, they would likely have a positive first impression of your product.

Conclusion

I hope this article gave you a look into what is social proof. Social proof is a marketing technique that will help your social media posts and website make an impact quickly. We highly recommend incorporating social proof in digital marketing because it can really help you to gain more conversions.

Author

Experienced psychologist and T-shaped marketer with a deep love for content marketing and conversion copywriting. Privately a big fan of travel, coffee, and jazz!

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