Have you heard people talking about being ‘social proof’?
Social proof is a phrase used to explain the psychological influence that others actions can have on another person.
Specifically, when we are talking about digital marketing, social proof is online visibility of popularity that encourages others to buy.
It is, essentially, the power of recommendation and endorsement.
Years ago, this would simply by word of mouth. When a friend or family member recommends a product, we are more likely to pay more attention, and if in the market, use it as part of the research phase.
Recommendations play out in so many ways online, and more often than not, we are influenced by people we have never even met.
The same goes for your customers.
According to a Word of Mouth Report by Chatter Matters, 83% of consumers say these recommendations make them more likely to purchase a product or service.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that social proofing is a persuasive technique for marketers.
Social proof techniques
There are a number of ways that businesses can achieve social proofing.
Testimonials and reviews.
A happy customer speaks volumes.
A genuine and useful testimonial helps to communicate confidence in a product and value to the prospect.
Website reviews, case studies, Google testimonials, reshared social posts and star ratings are all ways to share high customer satisfaction (CSAT) that can have an impact on peers.
An expert or industry leader can give their stamp of approval. For example, they may write a product blog or social media post, or even comment and share.
Through association with someone who holds authority on a topic, their followers will trust their opinions. This is also particularly useful for B2B through LinkedIn.
Influencer marketing is not new and is often paid for, but the holy grail is if a public figure uses and promotes a product, unpaid. Their authentic recommendation will have a huge influence on potential customers.
Integration with other platforms can almost take away the need for word of mouth. Whether it is on social media, shopping or simply browsing, messages that inform a user that their friend ‘also likes this’ can offer the first step of the influence.
Awards and accreditations.
Businesses can promote their credentials to instil confidence in customers. For example, awards, recognised accreditations, customer numbers, CSAT scores etc.
FOMO and scarcity.
Creating scarcity and highlighting interest conveys popularity in a product, which can influence others. For example, whilst looking at a hotel room or piece of clothing, a website may display a message of how many have been bought, booked or are in others’ shopping baskets in real-time.
Social proofing can therefore take lots of forms. All really powerful endorsements for your products, services and brands.
If you need some help leveraging your potential, get in touch.