Social Proof: Crucial tool for your marketing strategy
Let me share a personal story. I was negotiating with my parents over a sports shoe. I had just started high school and I remember convincing my mom why she should buy me “Puma” shoes, not because they might improve my performance, but because so many people from my class had those, especially my friends. And, at that point, it wasn’t so much about what was best for me as it was about how I could fit in. The little I knew was that I was having a hangover of a brilliant marketing phenomenon, otherwise known as Social Proof.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is a type of conformity where people will copy the actions of others in an attempt to be accepted by society.
This term is often associated with psychologists, but it was coined by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence in 1984.
Or, as my neighboring teenager would call it: FOMO (fear of missing out).
In marketing, this can be summed up by one simple quote by Warren Buffett, an American investor, a business tycoon, he said “The five most dangerous words in business are: ‘Everybody else is doing it.’”, and I couldn’t agree more.
Many psychologists have researched this phenomenon. Muzafer Sherif’s 1935 conformity experiment has remained most popular. In the experiment, by conducting various trials, he proved that “Through interactions of individuals, extreme/personal opinions will get eliminated and the final agreement will be based on the result of the group (even if it’s incorrect).” It can also refer as Herd Mentality.
Let’s take it a step further and explore the buyer’s psychology. When they’re ready to work with you, what will they search for first? First, they will look for services and testimonials. Later, they will look for people with whom you have previously collaborated. And finally, they will call or ask others if they’ve heard or tried your services (not always but generally).
It’s almost similar to looking at yelp when we have to dine. We prefer going to the most crowded restaurant. Again, it’s not about how amazing your service is; the restaurant with empty seats might have an amazing menu and open bar but the most crowded one appeals differently.
We just feel more safe making choices when we see a number of people also making the same one.This is called the halo effect.
A recent example would be Elon Musk supporting Dogecoin, right after which the Dogecoin’s price has soared 20% in just 24 hours.
As a business owner, in today’s world, using social proof is so so so so important. Because guess what, your audience is not offline looking for a restaurant, they are online looking for the best place to serve them.
So, how to build social proof?
First of all, breathe and don’t get overwhelmed by everything you have to do to achieve social proof. Trust me most of the tools you already have in your arsenal. We just have to learn not only to use them but utilize them strategically to place your brand in the market.
1. Share Numbers/Data/Milestones
This is a numbers game. Don’t forget to mention:
“The X number of customers you’ve served.”
“Your services have been well received by the X.”
Milestones such as
“You’re about to reach X number of followers.”
“Your YouTube video has received X views.”
This is a crucial factor to tell your customers about the type of user service you have. According to the Gartner Customer Experience Survey, almost two-thirds of companies focus their marketing strategy mainly on customer experience, up nearly 36% from 2010!
2. Case Studies
Nothing speaks more value than the live example of someone who has done it and achieved great results out of that. Case studies work magic here.
It is just not about praising your service but objectively analyzing it and pinning down why it is better than the rest of the competition.
If you are providing B2B services or B2C, you can curate the in-depth experience of your product in the case study.
As per HubSpot’s State of Marketing Report 2020, around 13% of marketers use case studies as one of the primary forms of their content strategy. And, this is the reason why you should not miss out on it.
3. Testimonials and Review
Testimonials and reviews are without a doubt a powerful brand booster. It would not only uplift trust in your brand but is also a great way to create a successful consumer relationship. Make sure to add images or video as a testimonial, it will increase your reach and will create more impact.
According to the local consumer review survey, around 88% of consumers trust reviews, and treat them almost the same as recommendations.
4. Collaborating with experts
So, testimonials are great and work like a catalyst even though it comes from a complete stranger. Consider the impact it can create if it comes from an industry expert. Someone with a lot of brand recognition endorsing your brand in a tweet or a brief shout-out.
You may even think about hiring a brand ambassador.
5. Social Media Takeover
You can tap into micro influencing by asking experts or celebrities to take over your social media. Implementing this type of campaign can increase your reach and help you get a new audience.
You should understand that influencer marketing is the fastest-growing platform for acquiring new customers.
6. Brands you have associated with previously, show them on your website
If you have previously collaborated with high-profile clients or sponsors, don’t shy away from mentioning them. People connect easily with the people they know or worked with before. The same goes with the brand, people connect with the brand they know or used before. It’s all about familiarity.
Once you have achieved that, to use social proof effectively, consider these small tips:
If you are using it on your landing page, use the testimonials which is helpful to the copy you are sharing
The point in the consumer journey, where you think they might divert, use statistics to show the number of people who have used your services and got results.
Make it personal. If an expert shares a small story on Twitter about how working with you has helped them improve their brand, it will help your brand gain confidence. You see, Jeff Bezos retweeting you can do more wonders than Michale who lives next door.
In the end, you need to reach your ideal client, while standing by the service you’ve built through this hard work. This will help you be the trusted resource to bring the impact to the community you want to serve.
If you want to hear an example of how a powerful testimony can transform a business, then opt in to the High Ticket Automation Case Study where I show you a video case study of a coach who got 10 clients within 2 weeks of turning on his ads.