Social proof is the idea that people take cues from one another in order to determine the quality or validity of a particular decision. In a marketing context, this means customers look at the experiences or concerns of other customers before buying. Social proof is helpful for customers, but it can also be helpful for businesses, when used properly. If you aren’t convinced about social proof and its usefulness, here are some compelling reasons you need social proof.
5 Compelling Reasons You Need Social Proof
What is Social Proof?
Social proof may simply sound like a case of follow-the-leader, but it’s more complex than that. As a social species, humans evolved to learn from and take cues from one another. It’s impossible for any one person to see and experience everything, or to have all the answers they need for important questions or decisions. Social proof therefore became a vital part of survival early on in human evolution; if a particular decision worked out well for one person, there was a better chance it would work out well for another.
Though the stakes are much lower in a marketing situation, social proof still plays an important and valid role in our decision-making processes; if a product or service solves a problem for someone similar to you, it’s more likely to solve your problem as well. Businesses can leverage this thought-process by simply showcasing the experiences of other customers, and encouraging customers to share their experiences themselves.
1. Proves Quality
One of the most compelling reasons you need social proof is to show other customers that your products or services can be relied on. While a business will always claim that their products or services are high-quality, it’s hard for customers to believe it when every business says it. However, when real customers also explain that the experience they had with your business met (or exceeded) their expectations, prospective customers are more likely to believe it.
2. Describes the Experience
Another reason you need social proof is to accurately describe your business, and bring in the right customers. When a customer describes their experience in a review or testimonial, it shows prospective customers what your business is like and whether it’s right for them or not.
For this type of social proof, what the customer says is just as important as who the customer is. Not all products or services are right for every customer. For example, a customer who is seeking the most affordable solution might not be the right fit for a business that specializes in high-quality solutions. In this way, social proof can help you hone in on and connect with your target market, and avoid customers that might be dissatisfied and leave negative reviews.
3. Extends Marketing Reach
When customers share their experiences with their own circle, it extends the reach of your business. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most valuable marketing assets, and customers’ reviews and testimonials is a type of word-of-mouth marketing as well as social proof.
Customers might share their experiences face-to-face with their friends and family, online through their social media platform, on a third-party review site, or with your business directly through a testimonial gathering campaign. When you gather testimonials or reviews directly from customers, you’ll have more flexibility to leverage social proof. With the right permissions, you can leverage social proof in your advertisements, social media posts, web pages, brochures, and more.
4. Overcomes Objections
Customers will always have some doubts about a purchase. Overcoming these objections is another reason you need social proof. Customers are likely to share similar doubts and concerns, especially customers within the same market segment. Customers are also likely to address these doubts or concerns when they provide reviews or testimonials.
For example, customers may be uncertain about a product warranty, performance, or the experience of the professionals they’re working with. If this concern repeatedly comes up, you might encourage customers to talk about this when you ask them to provide a review or testimonial.
5. Validates New Ideas
Social proof can be especially valuable for new ideas, or products or services that upend conventions. Most people are likely to stick to what they know, even if the solution isn’t optimal. If your product or service is relatively new or unfamiliar, you will need to show not only how your product or service works, but also demonstrate that it works well. If your solution is more expensive than the traditional method, you’ll also need to show that your solution works better.
When it comes to new ideas, social proof can help to overcome many barriers. Video testimonials are especially helpful for new and disruptive concepts. A customer can show how the product or service works, the results that they achieved, and explain their positive experience, all in one video. Social proof will show customers that your product or service isn’t scary, and, in fact, that newness is good. The right testimonial or review can even take advantage of the fear of missing out; if your new idea works exceptionally well, other customers will not want to miss out.
Posted in: Social Proof