Social proof is the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something. On the surface it may seem like a simple definition, but it’s also a term that carries a lot of meaning for businesses and digital marketers. Social proof, or informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation, and it’s powerful.
I’m sure you’re quickly realizing the potential this concept has to influence consumer purchasing decisions. See the definition of social proof and why it’s important for brands to not only have it, but to also use it their advantage.
What Is Social Proof
Social proof is a tool all businesses need to take advantage of because it shows other consumers that a product is well received and trusted by other shoppers. 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from their family and friends, so it’s no wonder brands want customers and social influencers to be doing the talking for them. The relationship between current and potential customers publicly sharing opinions and reviews allows a brand to be transparent and rise above the social media noise.
Social proof comes in many different forms, and it’s up to each company to determine what data they want to collect and project. You’ll get the best results when you use more than one form of social proof in your marketing strategy.
Below is a short list of social proof identifiers to consider:
- Social follower count
- Share statistics and numbers
- Customer testimonials
- Ratings & reviews
- Expert mentions
- Celebrity endorsements
- Awards & rankings
- Social media interaction
Why Is Social Proof Important
No matter how independent we think we are, we’re conditioned by the other people around us. If executed properly, data reveals that social proof will lead to an increase in traffic, conversions, and sales. The reason social proof is so important in marketing and sales is because it’s one of the strongest forces when it comes to influencing our behaviors. In fact, positive online reviews is one type of social proof that is proven to influence purchasing decisions.
Brands can’t survive on traditional marketing tactics because of a growing skepticism of ads. Social proof is one alternative method for working around the traditional advertising model. It works because it grabs a consumer’s attention in a positive and engaging way. User-generated content, or UGC marketing, is a key driver for the purchasing decisions among younger generations. It’s up to marketers to initiate interactions and conversations between consumers. The more brands and marketers highlight what their influencer network is saying about their products, the better.
People like and trust others who they view as similar to themselves. That’s why it’s beneficial for a brand to create customer personas and focus on who they feel will best identify with their product. Testimonials have great impact on how others will view your business. Studies have shown that the impact is even greater when there’s a customer’s face shown alongside their written endorsement.
Social proof is just that, validation that shows consumers everywhere your business and products are trusted and popular. Determine the social proof elements that are most important to showcase and start spreading the word. The results will follow.