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What is Social Proof and How to Use It in Marketing

Marketers are always looking for new ways to improve conversion rates, generate leads, and increase sales. It is not easy to convince someone to buy your product or service.

Consumers are getting smarter and they have many options to choose from. Therefore, marketers need to come up with innovative solutions to convince ideal customers to buy their products.

Social proof is one of the leading techniques widely used in marketing. Celebrity and influencer reviews are often used as a marketing technique, which is exactly what social proof is all about.

This article covers everything about social proof and its types.

What is Social proof?

Wikipedia defines social proof as a psychological phenomenon where people tend to copy and follow the actions and behaviors of other people in certain situations. This is done to ensure proper behavior.

People assume that a behavior is correct when you see someone else perform it. When a person does not know how to react in a particular situation, she will look at what others are doing and try to emulate it. For example, if people are standing in a queue at an ATM then you will also stand in the queue. Furthermore, if a celebrity drinks a special soda then people will tend to buy the same soda, especially if they are a fan of this celebrity.

The halo effect is another phenomenon that explains why celebrities and experts are followed. It is used for quick and partial decision making that is influenced by another person. According to the halo effect, another character’s character can influence one’s own decisions. This is why ideal clients follow what the experts say when assuming that the experts know what they are doing and that what they are doing is correct.

A well-known social experiment verifying social proof was performed in 1951 by Solomon Asch. Ash tested the theory of conformity using a visual test. The theory of conformity suggests that people conform to the majority’s choice, even if that choice is wrong.

A total of 50 male students participated in the experiment. The participants were divided into groups and each group consisted of eight participants. Only one student per group was tested and all other students knew the answers to the questions. Asch placed two different cards in front of the respondents and asked them to choose the line on the right card that matched the length of the line on the left card:

The correct answer was obvious in all trials. The respondent always answered last and the other seven students always knew the answer, which was usually wrong. The result showed that 75% of the ignorant respondents answered incorrectly at least once – and had then adapted to the group. When the seven students answered correctly, the test participants answered incorrectly in less than 1% of the cases.

Asch then asked the tested respondents why they chose the wrong answer and then found two reasons:

  • They chose the wrong answer to be part of the group and to fit in
  • They thought the group (the other seven students) was more knowledgeable

Social proof is a powerful phenomenon and is widely used by marketers to influence the buying decisions of their ideal customers.

Different types of social proof

Social proof is not just about celebrity worship; It comes in several forms and types. The well-known types of social proof that you can use for your business include:

1. Reviews

Customer reviews are one of the most effective forms of social proof. Each review is a confident voice that does an excellent job of persuading consumers to buy your product.

2. Sharing on social media

Social media is a fantastic social proof that shows that your company and your posts are shared by many people and therefore perceived as credible. Not only divisions, but also the number of followers is necessary. Companies with few followers are perceived to have lower quality and it becomes difficult to get followers organically.

However, if you have a few thousand followers, people will come to you daily. This is because of social proof.

3. Expert approval

Getting your product or business displayed, stamped, approved, or shared by an expert is another effective social proofing technique. Experts have the potential to influence the buying behavior of their followers. So if an influencer shares a picture of when using your product, their followers will also buy your product.

Experts include anyone who has a follower base such as celebrities, influencers, CEOs, writers, bloggers, etc. These experts do an excellent job of influencing the purchasing decisions of hundreds of people.

Does social proof work?

Yes, it works. Here are some statistics that speak for themselves:

  • The average customer reads 10 reviews before making a purchase decision.
  • 70% of customers will trust a review from someone they don’t know.
  • 92% of consumers trust a review from their peers.
  • 97% of customers have reported that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions.
  • 40% of customers have purchased a product because they saw an influencer use it on social
  • 49% trust users reviews
  • 14% of consumers say that expert approval influences their purchasing decisions.
  • 68% of buyers state that they are more likely to shop at a local business if they have good
  • Reviews are reported to increase sales page conversion rate by 34%.
  • 57% of customers will only buy from a company if they have at least a 4 star

Conclusion

Now you know what social proof is and it is your job now to start using it in your marketing strategy. There is no one way that is best for using social proof to increase conversions and sales. It can take all forms and can be used on all channels.

You need to use different types of social proof that include customer reviews, expert approval, etc. The good news is that most of these social proofs are free to use. It’s free to get reviews on Google reviews, right?

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