Marketing, when you boil it down, is all about psychology.
People have been using psychological tactics to influence their customers since people had customers to influence. There are a lot of psychological influencers that people use without even knowing that they’re doing it.
One of those influencers, and one that is currently trending, is called “social proof.” We’ll dig into that idea more, but it’s essential the concept that an idea becomes valid when other people support it.
Social proof marketing is an effective way to persuade customers, and we’ll explain why.
The Idea of Social Proof
People look to others when they want to understand what is acceptable and true. Certain situations have certain behaviors, and we look to more experienced people to inform us about what is acceptable and what is not.
Imagine if you were in college and you brought your high school-aged sibling to a party you were throwing. Your little brother or sister would take a few moments to gauge the room, then act similarly to how everyone else was acting.
They’ve never been to a college party before, so they need to learn the ropes from those who have. They’ll notice people standing a certain way, talking about certain things, and just going about their business as usual.
People are acclimating to situations like this all of the time, and we always need the guidance of others to understand the norms and values of different things. The examples that other people set are a sort of proof that their actions are ones we should take as well.
Social Proof Marketing
Social proof works a little differently as it applies to marketing. We aren’t in a room where we can see other people’s actions and behaviors– we’re trying to make a decision about what product or service to use.
1. The More Support the Merrier
You can act like any old person in a room to have acceptable behavior, but you wouldn’t trust just anyone to inform your decisions about how to spend your money. We want an element of credibility when we’re taking advice about our spending habits.
Because of that, marketers use two factors to improve their results when using social proof: reputable people and numbers. It’s important to have a product endorsed by a celebrity or an expert in a field, or claim that the product is endorsed by large groups of people.
For example, saying “Minnesotans say they love Mike’s dairy” would be the large group method. You could also cite a study or legitimate event, but most social proof claims aren’t rooted in anything that’s proven.
2. Get Testimony From Well-Known People
On the other hand, marketers often use the claims of celebrities or athletes to back their products. Saying that Elvis Presley loves cornflakes makes cornflakes a product that people will want to try. Maybe cornflakes are part of the reason that Elvis is so great, and eating that cereal could give you some of his magic.
We can’t all get celebrities to support our causes, though, so we have to find other ways to gather social proof. Here are a few methods that you can try out:
3. Get Online Reviews
Roughly 75 percent of people surveyed have said that they’re more likely to buy a product if it has good reviews from other consumers.
It can be difficult to get people to write reviews, though, because people usually just want to get their product and go. It can help to place an incentive on taking surveys or leaving reviews.
Having some form of discount associated with leaving a review is a great way to get people to speak up about your product. Additionally, you immediately up your chances of people leaving reviews if you have fully formed social media profiles. Simply being present online will offer people a way to comment on your company.
People are also much more likely to chime in if you remind them that they can. Send a follow-up email to your customers that will remind them to comment on the service they received.
The goal is to get as many people to give positive feedback. Most of the time it’s just a matter of placing an incentive and giving a reminder.
4. Post Photos of Your Good or Service
Words are weightless until consumers can see some proof that you’re going to come through on your word.
Whether you’re posting a picture of a product you received or sharing a video of your employee siding a house, showing what you can offer definitely reinforces your company’s worth.
The value of those photos will increase every time someone likes or shares them as well. In a sense, your SEO efforts tie directly into your social proof marketing efforts. The more people that see you, the more people there are that have the opportunity to back you up.
5. Get the Bells and Whistles
In the span of around fifteen minutes, any person can register to be an ordained minister in the church of Dudeism. That person can then legally marry anyone in most states.
We mention that because there are a lot of certifications that are easily attained. Even if the certification holds absolutely no weight, people are more inclined to trust a company that has more credentials.
You should also reach out to experts in your field and send them a free product in exchange for an “expert testimony.” Having backing from experts is also an excellent way to give social proof.