The Most Successful Forms of Social Proof (and How To Use Them)
Data & Analytics
Oct 25 2022
Did you know that around 77% of all consumers “regularly” or “always” read online reviews before making a purchase? When they do this, they’re being influenced by a kind of social proof.
Social proof is the concept that consumers will change the way they act based on what happens around them. For example, if you see a long line leading up to a restaurant, you might be enticed to join it and see what’s the big deal. You may know nothing about the line or what’s at the end of it, but you still believe that there is something worth waiting for.
That kind of social proof can make a big difference in how your brand reaches new customers. Using the right forms of social proof, you can encourage others to buy from, listen to, or even join you and your team. In marketing, social proof is extremely powerful.
The Types of Social Proof
Generally speaking, there are six kinds of social proof that you should know about. These include:
- Expert: When an expert in the industry recommends a product or service.
- Celebrity: When a celebrity endorses your products or services.
- User: When real users leave reviews or endorse your products and services.
- Wisdom of friends: When a person’s friends or family recommend a product or service.
- Wisdom of the crowd: When a large group is endorsing a service or product.
- Certification: When you have a certification or other mark to show you’re the authority on your products and services.
Of these, some of the kinds of social proof that work best include recommendations from personal friends or family, influencer or celebrity endorsements, and the wisdom of the crowd in the form of reviews for business services. Certification marks, like a blue check on Twitter, TikTok, or Facebook, are also seen positively by consumers.
Three Classic Examples of Social Proof
Now that you’re familiar with social proof, it’s time to see how it works when it’s put into practice.
One example most people will be familiar with is when Kirstie Alley lost 50 pounds using Jenny Craig. She became the spokesperson for the company and helped boost the brand to one of the top three diet plans available today.
Another company that uses social proof in the form of user endorsements is Amazon. Every time you shop on Amazon, you can see if there are reviews for products. The products with the most five-star reviews, as well as those with the most reviews, tend to sell the best thanks to being able to easily show potential customers what they’ll receive when they make a purchase. This is free marketing from users who have made purchases, and it works wonders when those reviews are positive.
Many households have access to a Netflix subscription, and there’s a reason for that. Over time, Netflix has harnessed the power behind social proof to take advantage of trends among users. Within the app, it uses user trends to suggest TV or movie options to those watching, which keeps people on the platform for longer.
What Are the Benefits of Social Proof, and How Can You Use It?
Anyone can use social proof and reap the benefits of this helpful marketing tool. Social proof helps convey trust among consumers, which in turn helps you make more sales or reach a larger audience. Social proof works especially well for ecommerce marketing because it boosts consumer confidence and builds trust.
In addition to the reviews and ratings your customers leave, consider implementing the following tactics:
- Invite experts to try your services or product. If they enjoy it, they could leave a review.
- Collaborate with paid experts on a social media event.
- Try influencer marketing. Reach out to social media influencers who make sense for your brand and ask them about being ambassadors for your business.
- Encourage your followers and customers to make content for a cause (check out Boxed Water as an example of this in action).
These are just a few options, and you are bound to find dozens of additional ways to build your social status with all the social proof you need.
Remember, from the moment someone reaches your site from a recommendation to the moment they place an order, they are impacted by the reviews they’ve seen as well as the suggestions you’ve made through your marketing efforts. Using social proof as a part of your digital marketing campaign is a must to improve your business’s outlook on or offline.
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