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What is Social Proof in Marketing?

‘Social Proof’ is a psychological phenomenon where users assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for any given situation. Today we live in the ‘information age,’ a time where we can search and receive information in seconds. As a result, we see the actions of others in the form of reviews and comments, then assume their behavior to accurately reflect the product, company or service. Like trust, it is easy to destroy and very hard to gain, in a world where consumers make purchasing decisions based off reviews and ratings, your reputation is extremely important.

Social proof is why we do things based on other people’s opinions and it exists in everything we do. There is a reason we act based on the actions of others, and here are the most common forms of social proof in digital marketing.

Types of Social Proof

  • Expert social proof – An authority in a certain field has a greater influence. For example, when a respected car blogger provides a certain accessory we are more likely to use it, and the brand will likely receive increased sales.
  • Celebrity social proof – If a celebrity of any size endorses a certain product, it will receive a lot of views and specifically their fanbase is more likely to buy the product.
  • User social proof – When users take their time to review, blog, post, film their success stories with a product.
  • Wisdom of the crowd – If a product is ‘popular,’  the simple volume of people with the product is enough to convince others. “It is popular, therefore I am more likely to enjoy it.”
  • Wisdom of friends – The conversion of this specific method is the highest, as we value our friends opinion over that of strangers.

In today’s world how we utilize these 5 methods of social proof are connected to how we use social media. Listed below are some strategies of positive social proof that are done online.

Social Proof in Digital Marketing

  • Logo/Clients – Showcasing clientele that have been previously partnered with is a way to establish credibility without saying a word. If they are capable of working with these clients then they are more likely capable of working with you.
  • Sharing – Sharing is a simple feature embedded in sites across the web which allows people to ‘share’ (upload) verbatim content to whichever personal Social Media platform they choose.
  • Connections/Likes/Followers/Subscribers – Whichever word the website decides to use, this feature represents people who decided to continually get updated when you upload new content. The higher this number, the greater confirmation that what you do is worth following.
  • Endorsements – With a growing number of internet personalities, from blogs, videos, social media, these individuals have grown niche market followings and become known as experts in these particular fields. An endorsement from them can be of greater value than celebrities or friends. However, celebrities and friends still have social media accounts, and anything endorsed by them using these channels carries credibility.
  • Ratings and Reviews – Customer reviews are immensely powerful, they fuel consumer decisions and are the difference between a sale or not. It is rare people purchase anything online without considering for the rating. This also reaches beyond the internet as people will usually research a product before buying it.
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