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What is Social Proof: Why Your Business Needs It

Many traditional methods of marketing aren’t performing as highly as they have in the past. With the way technology is used in almost every person’s life, newer generations are responding to different types of marketing, such as social proof. What is social proof, you may ask? According to Wikipedia, social proof is “a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.” In easier to understand terms, social proof can be as simple as showing reviews of a certain product on your website, or even people standing in line for a product or show. To those who walk by the line of people, it communicates that something special is going on and that it must have value if people will wait for it.

Why Social Proof is a MUST for your Business

Imagine you decide to take your family to an ice cream shop for a late night desert. As you come down the road, you see two ice cream stores next to each other. The one on the right has a few people inside eating ice cream. The one on the left is crowded with many people. As you decided which one to choose, you may come to the conclusion that the left ice cream store has better ice cream as it’s obviously more popular. This is social proof. It helps a company stand out over their competitors through trends or what’s popular.

According to Search Engine Land, 88% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. This makes it clear how important reviews are to lead a customer to purchase.

Social Proof Types

Expert Social Proof

This type of social proof is when an expert or major thought leader releases a statement or approval about a product or service. This could be as simple as a social media post, blog post, or TV commercial.

“Wisdom of the Crowds” Social Proof

Like our ice cream example, positive reviews, large numbers of people, likes, and shares drive the understanding that “this product/service is the BEST”. ‘Fear of missing out’ can also be a key factor which makes this type of social proof stand out.

User Social Proof

Similar to the Wisdom of the Crowds social proof, User social proof is when your customers leave testimonials regarding your products or services. This can be done via a photo posted to social media, item review left on your website, or success story. As mentioned earlier, 88% of customers use reviews before making a purchase, so user social proof is very important.

Celebrity Social Proof

When a celebrity takes a photo of a product, or of them using it, it can easily bring social proof. Many companies have received an overwhelming number of orders after a celebrity does a single post regarding a product and service. In fact some companies have had their websites go down due to the flood of traffic.

“Wisdom of your Friends” Social Proof

When your best friend recommends a certain ice cream brand or flavor, what do you buy when you’re choosing ice cream at the store? It’s common to choose the recommended brand or flavor as it stands out. This is an ideal example of Wisdom of your Friends social proof.

How to Get Social Proof for your Business?

One of the first steps to getting social proof for your business is directly at the product level. You want to have a product or service that solves a problem and can bring results. Even if your product is ice cream, it can bring happiness and delight to your customers. Focus on the customer’s experience.

Once sold, ask for reviews. Sometimes you can offer discounts, free products, etc for completing a review. Ask them to share their experience with others. This doesn’t only allow the customer to feel that they’re being heard, but also builds social proof by having them share it with their friends.

When your customer’s friends start to learn about your company, there is tremendous opportunity for growth. As you have new product releases, make a special where customer either have to line up for it or share information. These different types of social proofs can help a business grow like no other traditional marketing techniques.

Build a new BoldGrid website to get started with social proof for your business.