Earlier I wrote about consumer psychology and how it can be used in marketing strategies. One thing I mentioned was social proof: You adopt your believes and actions to a group of people you like and trust. There are many ways you can implement social proof, so let’s take a deeper look into this concept.
How purchasing decisions are made can be influenced by a by a large amount of factors. According to this article 90% of consumers claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decision positively.
Product reviews are only one type of social proof, but it really shows how easily consumers can influence each other. First let’s take a look at the categories of social proof, according to techcrunch, there are 5 different social proof categories.
- Expert social proof: Approval from a credible expert, this could be expert bloggers or other authorities
- Celebrity social proof: Endorsement or approval from celebrities. The unpaid endorsements are especially beneficial
- User social proof: Recommendation from current users of the product or service. This could be testimonials and reviews
- ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’ social proof: Highlighting popularity or large numbers of people. For example MacDonald’s showing signs that say ‘billions served’
- ‘Wisdom of your Friends’ social proof: Approval and recommendation from friends and family
So now you know what type of social proof categories there are, here are some types of social proof for marketing
User reviews & ratings
Like I said earlier, user reviews and ratings are a big part of social proof marketing. If your products havegreat reviews and ratings, consumers are more likely to purchase from you. User reviews can be found on websites like Yelp and of course within social networks. The most important one for e-commerce businesses are reviews that are shown on your website.
Give your customers the chance to share their opinion about your products and services. If you’re not sure how to do this, take a look at this article by HubSpot Blogs. It tells you all about how to get great online reviews.
Case studies & testimonials
By publishing case studies and testimonials you allow yourself to share and highlight positive experiences of your customers. It can give your customers a real review to base decisions on. Used well it is a powerful piece of social proof marketing.
User generated content
Another great form of social proof is user-generated content. This includes blog posts, photos and videos. Consumers who create content are usually fans of the brand or product, and this is why this content is very enthusiastic and positive.
In user-generated content, finding a platform that suits both your product and customers is very important. It encourages your customers to create content they are willing and proud to share. YouTube, Vine, Twitter and Facebook are great platforms for user-generated content. Check this article for 10 great examples of user-generated content campaigns.
Social media mentions and interaction
As a company you are probably already monitoring your social media presence. This is a great way to source social proof. Especially celebrity and user social proof are things that you can benefit from on social media.
Connecting to someone with a wide net of influence is much easier than it used to be, so use it to your advantage. Track mentions of your product and highlight any positive mentions you find. Don’t overdo it though, I you share too many mentions it might have a negative effect.
Another aspect of social proof on social media is the interaction with your customers. Like with mentions, find positive messages and react to them to engage your consumers.
Social proof is all about people
In the ever-developing world of social web, social proof is very important. With so many online platforms, use the confidence that others have in your brand. People will always conform to the herd so if you can optimize your social proof marketing, there is no way consumers will ignore your brand.