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Social Proof

What Is Social Proof?

A mixture of cognitive biases and psychological principles that explains how people rely on what others (especially famous others) do and think to decide how to behave in similar situations. Social proof in marketing influences us as prospects, increases our trust in a particular company, and pushes us to spend money just like others do.

Do You Really Need Social Proof?

Social proof psychology is natural and fundamental for human behavior. As “group animals,” we are wired to seek approval and acceptance. SP can be essential when we are hesitant regarding further steps and lack knowledge or experience. By looking at the behavior of others, we can gain information about what is expected or appropriate in a given situation and feel more confident to act.

How Social Proof Works

Social proof eCommerce takes into account natural human tendency to follow others (especially meaningful people) for guidance and validation. When we see others acting in a particular way or endorsing a product/service, we make an assumption that they are more knowledgeable and follow their lead.

Most Popular Social Proof

It is not an exhaustive list of social proof examples, but it is a good start:

  • Likes and shares;
  • Case studies;
  • Customer-generated content (text and video social proof reviews);
  • Influencer endorsements;
  • Popular restaurants;
  • Expert recommendations;
  • Social proof ads based on testimonials.

Innovative Social Proof Types

As SP continues to evolve, companies find innovative ways to leverage this influence to build trust and credibility with prospects:

  • User-generated video content. Provides a more personal and authentic look at how people use and benefit from a product or service.
  • Collaborative consumption. Creates a sense of accountability and transparency that can help to build trust between strangers.
  • SP badges. Help to build credibility and make it easier for potential customers to choose products or services valuable to others.
  • SP from micro-influencers. By partnering with influencers who are highly engaged with a particular audience, businesses can leverage SP to build trust and credibility with that audience.
  • Scarcity SP. By highlighting limited availability or creating a sense of exclusivity, businesses can increase demand.

How To Get Social Proof

  • Encourage customer reviews and ratings;
  • Showcase user-generated content;
  • Partner with influencers;
  • Highlight case studies;
  • Display likes and shares;
  • Offer SP badges;
  • Leverage industry awards and certifications.

Social Proof FAQ

What is the principle of social proof, and what does it mean for sales?

People follow the crowd and assume that if others are doing something or believe in something, it must be the right thing to do or believe. There are numerous cognitive biases and psychological principles in work, and you can use them to improve sales and build a versatile, loyal client base. Humans want choices to be easy and strive to be accepted by relevant groups. Combine positive reviews from meaningful “thought leaders” and product accessibility, and win this game.

How and when to use social proof on a website?

  • Use SP early in the customer journey;
  • Use a variety of SP types;
  • Be authentic and transparent;
  • Leverage visual content;
  • Use it to overcome objections;
  • Test and refine your strategy.

Which social proof works best?

It will depend on who you target and what you offer. You can’t come up with a “one-size-fits-all” solution and take a rest; you have to stay creative. For instance, using celebrities as examples can be an ever-green approach, but the next time this person says something politically incorrect, you lose the audience and fast. That is why you need to stay fluid and combine various approaches.

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