When was the last time you bought something without reading reviews, asking friends or relatives for their opinion, or watching a review video on YouTube?
Reports from 2018 show that 81% of all smartphone users research products on their phone first. They look at recommendations, testimonials, opinions and reviews.
From that information, they derive social confirmation that a product or service is worth the effort and money.
Maslow’s pyramid states that people want to be part of a group; that inherently creates a sense of security.
So is the way consumers make purchasing decisions; they use the confirmation of others to determine what to buy. This phenomenon is called “social proof” by psychologists, sociologists, and now also marketers. Let’s look at how you can use that form of social proof to convince potential customers to buy your products and services.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to use social proof effectively in your marketing:
What is social proof? The five types of social proof Four ways to apply social proof in your marketing Positive vs. Negative Social Proof Promote your business effectively with social proof
What is social proof?
Social proof is a concept where people follow the behavior of a large group because they think that if others are doing something a certain way, it must be the right way. In Maslow’s pyramid, belonging to a group fulfills our psychological desire for close relationships and friendships.
Using social proof in marketing is the most effective way to convince consumers of the value of your product or service.
5 types of social proof
Aileen Lee explains in her post, “Social Proof is the New Marketing,” how sharing a social proof on social media platforms can impact the number of people discovering and trusting your brand. She indicates that there are five types of social proof:
Social proof from experts
This is the opinion of popular influencers or experts in your field. For example, if a popular fashion blogger recommends your products, there is a good chance that the demand for those products will increase.
Celebrity Social Proof
Celebrity collaborations and endorsements can be incredibly effective. Lee cites singer Jessica Simpson and beautician Nerida Joy as examples in her article. Thanks to their support, Beautymint’s site attracted a whopping 500,000 visitors on the first day of its launch.
Social proof from users
In this case, you share the success stories of people using your product. You might immediately think of infomercials or training programs, but there are many more authentic ways to apply this. For example, Nike made a documentary about Eliud Kipchoge, who ran the fastest marathon ever on the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% at 2 hours 25 seconds. Although Kipchoge failed to complete the marathon within the desired 2 hours, he still made history.
The idea is simple: if other people can achieve their goals with a certain product, so can you.
With this kind of social proof, you draw attention to the popularity of a product or service. The phrase “Billions and Billions Served” that you see in the US under the yellow M of McDonald’s is a good example of this kind of social proof.
By emphasizing the popularity of a product or service, you indicate that it is a safe choice, a proven public favorite. This gives buyers the feeling that they are making the right choice.
The wisdom of friends and family
A friend or family member’s recommendation is a compelling form of social proof. No less than 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company they get to know through friends and family.
Lee’s findings also show that consumers who buy from you on the recommendation of friends and family spend more, shop with you more often and proceed to checkout faster.
Here’s what you’ve been missing
That’s why he decided to replace that “New” with “Here’s what you’ve been missing.” That small adjustment alone led to a 45% increase in sales. He later advised including expert reviews in authoritative magazines as testimonials in the ad. Result: sales increased even further, to no less than 60%.
Cialdini is a professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University. In his book ‘Influence’ he describes six principles of influence that he applies as director of Influence at work. After lunch, I immediately decided to order the book to see how you can apply those six principles to content marketing with promoneum.
To start with the first: reciprocity. In other words: give a present, and the recipient will feel obliged to give you something in return. That social obligation is between our ears. It falls into the “that’s right” category. When a friend pays for dinner, you pay the following. To balance the interrelational bank account and avoid being seen as a freeloader or profiteer.
The Thank You Economy is the name of that book by Gary Vaynerchuk. An expert in giving is the new getting. You do something for me; I do something for you in return. Such a giveaway can be a giveaway, and no, I am not referring to a yuppie, weepie, bees, or other cheesy supporters that you get at supermarkets during World Cups or European Championships. Nor on a pen, diary or other promotional product. Gifts and favors have the most impact when they are meaningful, unexpected, and personal.
Also read: Never good again: why you are more successful as a personal brand with a raw edge
Think content. Something exclusive like an invitation or VIP treatment for an event. A free e-book or book, quick scan, or list of tips. Or share your knowledge via social media. Free information with value, where you help someone, and at the same time, you catch them in the social obligation to give something back for you. Because no one likes to be in debt to someone for long. Google will immediately give you something in return. Because you publish on blogs or social media, you are immediately easier to find in searches that contain words that you have used in the titles of your articles or videos.
hand pressing LIKE button
Thumbs up. We like to do that on Facebook and LinkedIn. Just as we often advertise, tell a friend in conversations for that ‘man’ who is so handy and can repair Apples well. Not only because he can do handy jobs or repairs, but mainly because he is nice. After all, there are plenty of good handymen or laptop repairers, but not many good and sympathetic handymen and laptop repairers. They get alike. Because they are likable and we like people who like us.