What is Social Proof and Why You Should Be Using It

What is Social Proof and Why You Should Be Using It

What Is Social Proof

Social proof, a term coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book, Influence, is also known as informational social influence. It describes a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behaviour in a given situation.

Social proof is considered prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behaviour, and is driven by the assumption that the surrounding people possess more knowledge about the current situation.

The effects of social influence can be seen in the tendency of large groups to conform to choices which are either correct or mistaken. This is referred to in some publications as the herd behaviour. Although social proof reflects a rational motive to take into account the information possessed by others, formal analysis shows that it can cause people to converge too quickly upon a single distinct choice, so that decisions of even larger groups of individuals may be grounded in very little information (see information cascades).

Social proof is one type of conformity. When a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for clues concerning the correct behaviour. When “we conform because we believe that others’ interpretation of an ambiguous situation is more accurate than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action”,it is informational social influence. This is contrasted with normative social influence wherein a person conforms to be liked or accepted by others.

Social proof often leads not only to public compliance (conforming to the behaviour of others publicly without necessarily believing it is correct) but also private acceptance (conforming out of a genuine belief that others are correct).Social proof is more powerful when being accurate is more important and when others are perceived as especially knowledgeable.


The Different Types Of Social Proof

  1. Expert: When industry experts recommends your product or service.
  2. Celebrity Endorsement: When a celebrity endorses your product or service.
  3. User: User testimonials and reviews.
  4. Certifications: This type of social proof is when you are given a stamp of approval by an authoritative figure in your industry. Examples: the blue checkmark on Twitter or Facebook.
  5. “Wisdom of the Crowds”: This type of social proof is when a large group of people is seen to be endorsing your brand.
  6. “Wisdom of your Friends”: When people see their friends using your product or service

I will be going into more detail about each of these in later articles.

Which Type Is The Best

There is no evidence that one is better than the other. IMO they are all as equally as important. Here are some facts about social proof:

88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations. Placing the logos of business customers on a company website can increase conversions by as much as 400%, according to Voices.com.

Influencer marketing has been considered the fastest-growing consumer-acquisition channel.

The average consumer reads 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision.

57% of consumers will only buy or use a business service if it has at least a 4-star rating.

For 50% of all consumers, their very next step after reading a positive review about a company is to visit their website.


Ways To Start Using Social Proof Today

There are SO many ways that you can start using social proof TODAY. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

Share Milestones

Sharing milestones not only shows your potential clients how great you are, it shows appreciation to the customers/followers you currently have! IE: reaching ‘X’ users or customers hitting ‘X’ followers on social media.

Curate user-generated content

User generated content is an amazing and free way to generate social proof. You could use a branded hashtag for users to post pictures with your product on instagram.

Share customers’ love for your product

It’s easy to share social media posts. Encourage your customers to share their experience with you online and share those posts to your own social medial. Not only is this great social proof but your customers will get excited seeing their posts on your wall.

Display testimonials on your website

This is a quick and easy way to share social proof. Encourage your customers to submit reviews and testimonials and share them on your website. You can also embed google reviews in your site.

Mention the size of your customer base in your bio

If you have a lot of followers you can easily put this number into your web site and update it as needed. You could also use the number of countries or cities you service, number of products sold in a month ect.

Reach the friends of your Facebook Page fans with Facebook ads

It is very easy to set up a facebook ad that targets the friends of the people who already follow you. This is a great way for potential clients to see that friends are already interested or are using your service.

Contact me directlyto start a social media marketing plan today.