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Social Proof Marketing: A strategy at the heart of successful businesses

Social Proof Marketing: A strategy at the heart of successful businesses

by Meghashree Das September 16, 2020
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Social proof marketing

On an individual level, we all try to be unique and different from each other. But when it comes to investing our money somewhere, all of us unknowingly tend to follow the masses.

Like you go on an online shopping website, you like a product, the first thing you check is the rating and customer reviews on the product, while you think it’s natural, no biggie, Robert Cialdini has managed to coin a term for it, Social Proof. In his book Influence, he defines Social proof as a psychological and social phenomenon where people follow the actions of others.

You could be a little surprised by this revelation, but now that you know about it, you can use Social Proof as a tool for your marketing strategy. This article is right here to provide you with all the information on Social Proof marketing and how to utilise it in the right direction to give a boost to your customer base and sell your products better.

Before heading into the use and strategies involving Social Proof it is imperative to know how it functions and what social proof marketing is, what can you do with it, and how it is going to help you.

So, let’s get started with it.

To learn more about social proof and the psychology that it studies with proper results.

What is Social Proof Marketing?

Social proof is a well-known phenomenon by many researchers and analysts of marketing psychology. Thus, it was obvious to employ it for enhancing the marketing techniques. The application of social proof in marketing is called as Social Proof Marketing.

Here is a link to give you an idea of the functioning of Social Proof marketing with examples that may help you in forming a better strategy.

Types of social proof marketing

To use Social proof marketing it is first important to note the types of social proof that are present to pay focus to while arranging your marketing campaign:

Expert’s Advice

This is when a person who is highly aware of the industry nods in approval of your product and recommends people to buy it by showing that they use it. It increases the confidence of the customers on the product since it is an expert recommended.

Social proof marketing

Image source – Fiverr

Celeb Endorsement

There are hardly any bestselling products that do not involve a celebrity face to endorse them, make-up, health, sports, even detergent ads, all of them involve celebrities to sell their products, which is the most common idea of Social Proof marketing.

For instance, here is a celebrity endorsement of smart water by the famous celebrity – Jennifer Anniston.

Social proof marketing

Image source – Medium

User’s Approval

When the people who have already used a certain product give their approval for it, it’s a lot more appealing to the customers, this is the reason why websites record the experiences of the customers who have already used the product since it helps them build a strong foundation of social proof marketing.

Credentials provided by Businesses

Since Social Proof marketing is all about following the opinion of the crowd it is always a good option to present your credentials of the number of valuable customers that you have managed to earn via your products. Also, providing proof of the expertise that you have in the field. This will help you gain the confidence of your prospective customers.

For instance, here are the views of various other businesses on the FitBit fitness tracker watch:

Social proof marketing

Image source – HubSpot

Media’s Attention

This will include all kinds of media; print media, television media, and social media. The popularity of your brand on all these mediums works as a major Social Proof for the audience. The affirmations that you receive from the media adds-up to the value of your brand image and social media being the new big thing, increase your popularity like no other medium, especially if the concentration of your target customers are millennial.

Social proof marketing

Image source – SmartInsights

Wisdom of the crowd

When a major chunk of the population is using your product and it’s a hit in the market, you are likely to sell easily than any other brand because people will speak up for it themselves.

 

Social proof marketing

Image source – Principle digital

Wisdom of the Friends

Who can you trust more than the people you are already close with? When a friend or family member recommends a certain product, it is a lot easier to trust the brand instead of any online review posted by someone we do not know.

Certification and Recognition

When you get certified by a higher authority, it gives you an edge over all your other competitors, since, the customers are always looking for a more genuine and verified brand on which they can have complete faith on.

To inculcate all or any of these types in the marketing of your brand is called Social Proof Marketing.

For instance here the brand clorox that sells disinfecting wipes is using its ‘trust by moms’ factor to gain recognition.

Social proof marketing

Image source – Wordstream

To learn why social proof is so effective, you need to have a proper understanding of how it works.

How Social proof marketing works?

Following are how you can build a marketing strategy using Social Proof marketing which will help your product, brand, and customer base to enhance:

The main idea behind the whole exercise of social proof is to earn people’s trust to invest in your brand and there is no better way to do this than by taking an Expert’s help.

When an Expert recommends your brand, posts pictures with it on social media, collaborates with your product in any way, it not only increases the attention for your brand but also builds the trust of consumers for your brand.

The credibility of the Experts will help your venture to grow, thus this is an amazing marketing strategy involving Social proof.

Show gratitude to your followers

Social proof marketing will only be effective if you can bond with your followers, such that they do not switch to another brand.

For this, it is a good strategy to always share the number of followers that you have reached and celebrating them on your social media platform.

Allowing some kind of discount coupon also helps to gain followers and to maintain those who are already following you.

Seeing the amount of following you have always worked as a great medium to attract more customers.

Influencer Marketing

As we discussed above Social media is the next big thing especially for digital marketing, and one of the best ways to build a customer or follower base on social media is through influencers.

However, well-known celebrities can prove to be very expensive for your brand, you must target people with a huge amount of following on social media and convince them to endorse your brand.

Social proof marketing

Image source – Convert

Applications like Instagram have made it possible for normal people to have a persona of that of a celebrity and people follow what they use which is another way of social proof and a brilliant marketing strategy.

Use User Social Proof

When you post content that is posted by your users relating to your brand, it not only increases your engagement with your users but also helps the new ones see what your users feel about your brand.

This is an example of using the user’s approval that you saw above in the types of social proof.

Social proof marketing

Image source – Escapadepr

This can be done by encouraging your users to use hashtags or mention you in their posts which help you view them and makes the searching easier.

Increase sales

While shopping online, this is the most important point of all, any customer visiting your website or your social media page will check the ratings and reviews given to you by the existing customers.

Thus, always encourage your customers to give you a rating and also provide you with a review that can help you improve your brand and also expand your customer base.

The more the ratings, the more social proof will be involved for your buyers.

Read more about Social proof:

https://www.behavioraleconomics.com/resources/mini-encyclopedia-of-be/social-proof/

Certifications, Recognition, and Verification

A certification from the experts in your field or any awards and recognition always helps to maximize the amount of credibility that you can provide to your audience.

Getting verified will always help you gain more followers on social media and is another type of social proof.

For instance, here FedEx is using the motto ‘whatever it takes’ to establish trust and recognition.

Social proof marketing

Image source – Entrepreneur

The recognitions and verifications will directly influence the popularity that you have on social media and your website.

To know why social proof works, you need to know how it goes so here we are.

Be accessible

You cannot be preparing a good marketing strategy unless people can relate to you and your brand.

Thus, always be accessible and responsive to their questions and queries.

Share as much as you can on your social media, about your brand and your followers, to make them feel closer to you.

Mention the size of your subscribers when you are asking to subscribe to your venture, as people feel comfortable following the crowd.

This strategy will aid you with social proof by engaging with your existing and future customers.

If you still have any questions on social proof click on:

Examples of Social Proof Marketing

  • Another illustration of using social proof marketing is Cisco that has used celebrity endorsement to promote its IT systems. Similarly, Manuka Honey has used the popularity and fan base of Kardashians for selling their brand by hiring Kourtney Kardashian as their brand ambassador. Thus, Celebrity social proof marketing is one of the hits used in the business for marketing their brands.

 

Social proof marketing

Image source – Reddit

  • We do come across sites that allow you free access or some other benefit like free coupons or free delivery if you suggest the site to any of your friends; this is inculcating wisdom of your friend social proof marketing into the main marketing strategy. Stitch Fix has used this method by rewarding its customers with bonuses for sharing the website with their friends.
Social proof marketing

Image source – Nanigans

As it is discussed earlier, while online shopping the most essential point to keep in mind are the Ratings and reviews of the customers that can help new people buy products and establish their trust on the brand and there is a reason why Amazon is one of the Big fives because it has learned to involve this social proof in its marketing technique. By providing specific reviews under the ratings given by the users of a certain product, which allows people to thoroughly go through what every user thought about their particular purchase.

Conclusion

Social proof marketing helps curb the uncertainty from the minds of the people since it is always easier to opt for something that the majority is using rather experimenting with a new one.

It is one of the most essential tools in marketing today and is very flexible to use, you can discover your ways of mixing up social proof marketing to elaborate your reach. Like, social media influencers are the new thing that most brands are going to advertise their products.

The world of marketing keeps evolving and with the growing connectivity of social media, the types of social proof are also expanding.

So, in the hope that you most probably have figured out how to form your marketing strategy using social proof, let’s conclude with the words of Bernard Kelvin Clive that, man is a social being; it’s not surprising we love social proofs; it sells brands fast.

FAQ

How is social proof used in marketing?

7 Easy Ways to Use Social Proof in Your Marketing: 1) Invite experts to take over your social media. 2) Collaborate with experts for a social media event. ... 3) Show appreciation for mentions. ... 4) Share milestones. ... 5) Experiment with (micro) influencer marketing. ... 6) Explore having brand ambassadors. ... 7) Curate user-generated content.

What is an example of social proof?

Celebrities – Approval or endorsements from celebrities (paid or unpaid) Users – Approval from current/past users (ratings, reviews and testimonials) 'Wisdom of crowds' – Approval from large groups of other people. Peers – Approval from friends and people you know.

Why do social proofs work?

“Social proof is an important part of executing your landing page strategy. ... By using social proof in the form of testimonials, reviews and trust icons you're helping customers make a decision, feel confident about their choice, and a part of something bigger.

What is social proof in digital marketing?

Social proof is a general term that refers to any piece of evidence from the peers of your intended audience that verifies some element of your argument. For example, it could be a word of praise from a past consumer that reinforces a claim you made about your products.

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Meghashree Das

Digital Marketer, Writing about marketing is a passion of mine that I have been pursuing from a young age. I love to express my thoughts on paper, as well as a digital medium.

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