Social Proof: How and Why it Works

Kas Andz

November 1, 2021

Table of Contents

Social Proof

Social proof is one of the most effective principles for marketing. Reviews, testimonials, likes and recommendations show people how good products are to other people.

When reliable people become social proof for your brand, their endorsement empowers everyone who identifies with them to trust your products.

When your posts have many likes or good comments, people will assume your products are reliable. 

When your product is reviewed, people will believe it has value enough to be at least tried.

Marketing with social proof as your basis means that your promotions must get people to convince people.

Social proof works simply because people follow and believe in the majority, the influential and the popular. 

What is social proof?

Social proof is one of the best foundations you can base your digital marketing on.

It works similarly to WOMM (Word of Mouth Marketing) and Referral Marketing, where people base their purchase decisions on who and how many are using certain commodities.

Womm

It is a people-centred and proactive way of generating clientele. 

How does social proof work?

Social proof is what happens when your product gets bought because of the effects of YouTuber reviews, Facebook likes, Rotten Tomato meters, article recommendations, blog testimonials, Play Store stars, and the like.

It is basically marketing by using the narratives and figures that people who have used your product have judged it for.

When people check pricing pages and find out that a commercial giant uses your product, they will most likely trust it.

That is how social proof works.

It is essentially borrowing third-party influence to sway potential customers.

You must have based whether you’d watch a movie or not depending on what you’ve heard from Jeremy Jahns or Chris Stuckman or whether many people are excited about it.

You might have chosen to book a hotel room with the help of Trivago ratings.

You know that a celebrity on Instagram is official because of the verified button.

That is Social Proof on the job.

You cannot deny that it is a very effective seller. 

How do you do social proof marketing?

One method of social proof is Expert Recommendation.

When Elon Musk tweets or shouts out your Bluetooth buds, get ready for a surge in purchases.  

Another is Celebrity Endorsement.

If Kylie Jenner posts a selfie with your lipstick set on her IG stories, you’ll get a ton of impressions.

Proof Marketing

User Reviews may seem less in the popular side of Social Proof, but it has some of the more powerful influence.

Nobody will base download decisions on just one user review. A product with fewer reviews won’t tend to get clout, but a product with a good number of reviews will tell people that there is something to it.

And especially when the reviews match each other and are more than 70% positive, the  social proof brands your product with integrity – users, together, strong.

This is why certain apps get downloaded more – they have more users and a good amount of agreeing positive reviews.

Staple Use gives natural social proof.

In the US, most people purchase cereals to eat for breakfast because it is the norm. Everybody is eating cereal for breakfast. 

So, everybody using something is social proof. 

Certification Buttons give you credibility online.

When social media platforms verify your account, your legitimacy is acknowledged.

When the platform you’re on gives you their mark of confidence, people will trust your offerings. When a celebrity Instagram account doesn’t have a verified button, people think that the account is fan-made. 

Numbers and data also work like certification, but it has a summarised valuing or some kind of review but quantified rating.

People tend to subscribe to the most followed, join the subreddit with more users, watch the compilations with the most views, book with the resort with the most stars, market on the social media with the most population, etc. 

These social proof methods have their strengths and loopholes, but they indeed work – at the minimum, they get prospect attention. 

Why is social proof effective?

People want security when purchasing. This means they need proof that they can trust the things they are to buy or subscribe to.

The best proof is social – the results of these products on other people. 

The human is a social animal that depends on trust – a trust coming from a sense of shared values and beliefs; we seek and know commonality.

Social proof lets us see that something can work for us because it has worked for someone else who is like us – we relate to other people, and that means whatever they use, we can use.

Security leads us to follow the crowd and the powerful. The crowd is a crowd because they survive together – survival is security.

The powerful are powerful because they have control over resources – abundance is security.

People fear the unknown, and we follow those who tried the untried and gained.  

These primordial human attributes apply to the market. The crowd, the powerful, and the survivors are our social proof. 

They lead us to security. They point us to products that they make us believe to be reliable and trustworthy.

People want to buy the reliable and trustworthy. This is why social proof works. 

Integrate social proof into your marketing.

It’s a no-brainer – you must be conscious and active with social proof in your marketing.

Have a robust online presence on sites that can give you verification and ratings, send your products to influencers and experts for their review and most importantly, have a really good product.

Video Recording

Even without exerting great efforts to get social proof, when your product is innately reliable and trustworthy, people will purchase, review, recommend, highly rate, and buy again.

Knowing the social proof that surrounds you can help you direct your digital marketing more efficiently.

You can target the market better when you know what social group they identify with.

You can determine what narrative you should use on your eCommerce by seeing which one works for most people. 

Get social proof from backlinks.

Backlinks are links that bring web users from another website to yours.

This happens when a web developer finds your content and sees it as a fit reference for their content. So, they will make a statement or place an image on their website that, when users click, brings them to any of your web pages.

The backlink itself is social proof that the information on the page they will reach is reliable. After all, the website they are reading points to you as a source.

So when many websites, pages, or online content cite you as a source, giving you backlinks, that’s excellent social proof that literally can bring you traffic.

Here’s a complete guide for link building and how you can get great backlinks for your website. 

FAQs

Can I use social proof in email marketing?

Yes, you can, as long as you can seamlessly blend the social proof into content that’s valuable to your recipient.

If you can do that, you can use social proof to indoctrinate your subscribers to your expertise, allowing you to gain more of their trust and loyalty.

Is PR helpful?

Yes, public and press relations efforts are helpful for you to get high-quality social proof. One mention in Forbes magazine can bring you thousands of new potential customers.

Is there social proof in CRO or conversion rate optimization?

Yes.

When you display your award badges, reviews, ratings on your website, it becomes part of the trust factor users will have on your brand.

What does the term “social proof” mean?

Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon where people copy the actions of others. 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.

How does social proof work?

Social proof works by understanding and utilising the basic human instinct to follow the actions of others when one is unsure of what choices to make. Through social proof the aim is to build trust and credibility in one’s brand, product or service and thus potentially increase purchases made online.  From a marketing perspective, it means that if everyone loves and buys one product or service, others are likely to join the cause and purchase the same product or service.

Why does social proof work so well for eCommerce marketing?

In short social proof is now highly regarded due growing competition and lack of trust in advertising, both of which are profoundly affecting the customer journey and the decision-making process. Online purchasing sites such as eBay and Amazon are now providing more and more reasons as to why a purchase is a safe option through the provision of information in the format of social proof. Such information could be:

  • The number of views this product received over the last 24 hours
  • How many orders of that item has been sold so far
  • How many people are looking at the product on the page
  • The number of the seller’s customer reviews
  • The rating of the seller, based on customer reviews

All of these types of information are personal and relatable to a potential shopper. And if a person can understand something easily the less anxious, they can be about making their purchases.

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