Social proof is the idea that people will conform to the actions of others in an attempt to reflect a popular behavior or make a correct decision for a given situation. By showing social proof for your company’s product or service, this influences consumers to make more rapid decisions. The more forms of social proof you can cultivate the greater chance you will have to increase credibility for your business. So what kinds of social proof exist? And how do you relate that back to your marketing strategy? It’s simple!
Here are 5 different forms of credibility boosting social proof:
This form of social proof is the most straight-forward and recognizable because companies have been practicing it since the dawn of marketing. Companies will use popular celebrities to endorse their product or service. This type of social proof can range from a T.V. commercial with a celebrity speaking highly of the product or service to a photo on social media featuring a celebrity using a product or service. Celebrity social proof can be tricky, because the celebrity must align well with your target audience. Choosing a celebrity that doesn’t fit your audience could be a recipe for disaster.
Covergirl uses celebrities to market their different beauty products. It recently used Ellen Degeneres to market it’s Covergirl + Olay Age defying products.
This type of social proof is when your company is endorsed or approved by a leader in your industry. When your target audience can base their decisions off of a recognizable expert in your industry, it’s a great way to give your product or service credibility. By getting a expert testimonial or simply a stamp of approval this boosts how your product or service is perceived.
Unbounce, a marketing platform that allows users to easily create landing pages, uses well-known brand logos to convey expert social proof on their website.
User social proof is made up of customer testimonials, case studies, and reviews. This type of social proof is the idea that potential customers will find what your current customers have to say more credible than what you have to say. 90% of consumers say their buying decisions are based on customer reviews. That means that before users consider making a purchase, they are most likely doing a lot of research. Providing potential customers with quality customer testimonials, case studies, and access to reviews throughout your website and business’s social pages will help you build credibility.
Web Ascender uses Boast to display video testimonials left by their customers on their website and Facebook page.
Wisdom of the Crowd
This kind of social proof is showing approval of your product or service in large numbers. By nature, people tend to follow the crowd and do what is popular for a given situation. That is how fashion trends, and must-have products become such a hot commodity. By showing numbers on your website and social pages, you can promote your product or service in a popular light.
DigitalOcean, a cloud hosting service, uses its growing download number as a form of social proof on it’s website to influence other developers.
Wisdom of your Friends
The idea that consumers want to do what their friends are doing is how this form of social proof works. When they see a friend recommending a product or service those recommendations are held to a higher standard than other unrelated reviews. With the high traffic on social media this type of social proof is becoming more common. There are a few ways that companies can take control of this form of social proof. One way is to create a “share with a friend” program that awards you and your friend a discount when they sign up off of your referral. Another way to create this type of social proof is to provide an incentive for your consumers to share your product or service on their personal social media pages. When consumers see that someone close to them is using a product or service, that will drastically increase it’s credibility in that unique consumers eyes.
Uber uses a refer a friend program to help rapidly expand its Uber passengers by incentivizing friends to promote their friends with free rides for both parties.
These 5 different forms of social proof, when incorporated into your marketing strategy, will help your business portray valuable credibility. Segmenting different types of social proof throughout your website, social media pages, and through various advertisements you run will increase your influential reach. How does your company incorporate social proof into its marketing strategy?