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In this blog post we’ll take a look into the mythical land of psychology and look at one persuasive tool to help amplify your marketing efforts, it’s called social proof. Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

When a customer is about to make a purchase, they might be in a bit of a jam in deciding what to buy. At this point of indecision they’ll naturally jump into social-proof mode and will end up wanting to buy what they see others buying.

 

The Classic Experiment: The 42nd Street Experiment (1969). A single passerby was asked to stop in 42nd Street NYC and gaze skyward for 60 seconds. Other passersby walked past, ignoring him. But when 15 passersby were asked to do the same thing, 40% of people on the busy street also stopped to look up, almost bringing 42nd Street to a complete halt within a minute.

 

Social proof can be broken down into 6 categories listed as follows

  1. Customers – social proof from your existing customers or users (e.g. testimonials or case studies).
  2. Experts – social proof from credible and esteemed experts in your industry (e.g. experts who exhibit the same behaviors that you want our visitors to).
  3. Celebrities – social proof from celebrities or other influencers (e.g. celebrities who have bought your product, or visited your establishment).
  4. Crowds – large numbers of people who provide social proof (e.g. “300,000+ websites use the OptinMonster lead generation software to get more email subscribers”).
  5. Friends – people who are friends of your users/website visitors (e.g. “50 of your friends like OptinMonster”).
  6. Certifications – a credible, 3rd party entity which certifies that you are a knowledgeable, high-quality or trustworthy source (e.g. “USDA Certified Organic”).

 

So now that you have an understanding of social proof I’ll tell you a few ways you can use it to help amplify marketing your brand online.

 

  • Display RSS Subscribers on Blog:  Blogs have used social proof recently by displaying the number of RSS subscribers prominently. Then, when new visitors stop by, they think, “Hey, this site looks pretty popular. 4,000 people already subscribe. It must be worth keeping up with, so I’ll go ahead and subscribe.”

 

  • Share/Follow Buttons: Sharing across social media is a form of social proof, so make it simple and easy for your fans, followers, subscribers, etc. to share your content, we are in a new world where everything is accessible so make sure your content is accessible and shareable as well.  When you make it easy for people to share the content they love, there’s a better chance they’ll actually share it, expanding the reach of your content and spreading social proof for your business

 

  • Case Studies and Testimonials: This is probably the most powerful form of social proof, put together case studies and ask for testimonials from happy clients / customers, this is basically your best customers telling you how great you are for the world to see. Just think about it wouldn’t you be more likely to go to a new restaurant if you heard other people saying they have great food? You can get these testimonials in video and upload them to your website, as well as YouTube and Vimeo accounts, or get them in text and attach a picture of the client with the testimonial and put it up on your site.

 

  • Promoted Tweets and Sponsored Posts/Stories: Paying to promote your content is a way to amplify social proof as long as these ads create stories of your target audiences friends interacting with your brand such as sponsored stories on Facebook & Instagram so your target audience will see that a friend has liked/followed your page, commented on your post and they’ll be inclined to take a look at your brand because they assume you must be worth it if their friend likes it.

 

Provide proof from satisfied customers that your product works. Provide proof from experts in your field stating that you know what you’re talking about. Provide proof from the community that your content has value. Use these tips on social proof and you’re bound to see positive results.

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