The term social proof was coined by prominent psychologist Robert Cialdini. He described it as a social phenomenon that leads people (think customers) to mimic the actions of others because of a need to conform. In other words, when people are unsure of how to react, they automatically look to others around them.
Social proof affects us in more ways than are immediately apparent. A testimonial from an expert you trust regarding a product or service is social proof. Similarly, chancing upon the logo of an industry leader that you respect is also social proof.
Here’s three ways to use social proof in your marketing.
1: Customer reviews and testimonials – ratings, reviews, and testimonials can positively impact potential customers. Strong testimonials that help prospective clients visualise their improved life post-purchase are best used with a call to action.
2: Industry associations – ties to popular and trusted authorities can quickly and effectively boost the credibility of your brand. When applicable, include relevant logos or award graphics.
3: Industry expert relationships – pick industry experts, social media influencers, or even passionate users who’ll spread the word about your brand on their own websites or social channels.
Reviews and testimonials also count as fresh content for search engines, which rank your website higher if the content is frequently updated. Social media reviews and mentions play an important role in boosting the authority of your brand. The more social proof you include, the higher the chances of keeping attention for longer and generating sales leads.
How has social proof benefited your business?
Source: Social Media Examiner [abridged]