Give your eyes a break, listen to the audio version:
An idea becomes more correct…
…when more people believe in it.
SOCIAL PROOF, the psychological weapon that can propel or kill your business.
It’s a force that influences every single one of us, every day.
Yes, we know it’s hard to accept, but you are INFLUENCED by others, no matter how independent you think you are.
Humans are pack animals. In fact, it’s believed that 95% of us act as imitators, while just 5% are initiators.
(Yes, it’s very likely that you’re an imitator!)
Social Proof: Why?
The psychological desire to achieve acceptance from others is so powerful…
…that it makes MASSIVE ALTERATIONS to your decisions.
Ask yourself, have you ever changed your mind at the last minute because you read a negative review? Or a friend said the product/service was no good? Or somebody recommended a different product/service?
Have you ever bought something simply because you’ve seen others with it?
You have. Trust us.
You might not believe it. But it’s happened.
Social proof is a money-spinning beast and it comes in 6 different forms, Einstein Marketer’s going to let you in on all of them:
Social Proof #1: Experts
Industry leaders hold a huge sway over the decisions of your target market.
Experts are people who have been in an industry for a LONG TIME. This longevity has built authority, respect and bucket loads of SOCIAL PROOF.
…that doesn’t mean they’re all goatee stroking, monocle-wearing old folks.
Experts are (usually) still operating or commentating on their industry.
Fifteen years ago we would’ve only heard EXPERTS’ OPINIONS on the television, radio or in print, but thanks to the big wide web…
…they’re easy to find.
Blogger Experts are everywhere!
If you want to ramp up your social proof, send your product/service to a blogger for review (just make sure they have an audience!)
If you want to find out more about his tactic, check out our Influencer Marketing Blog (we’ll link it at the bottom of this page too).
Social Proof #2: Celebrities
These guys shouldn’t be confused with experts.
They are recognisable figures, who’ve (usually) built their fame on a screen somewhere (internet, TV, movies).
They DO NOT have any direct expertise in the industry, but they have a large LOYAL audience who are heavily influenced by their decisions.
We won’t dwell on celebrities for long because they’re overpriced and for most businesses, out of reach, but…
…here’s an unbelievably cheesy example of a famous male model advertising a margarine spray:
Social Proof #3: Users
Users are your most valuable commodity…
It doesn’t matter if you already have their money, these guys can literally make or break your business…
…and trust us, social proof is EVEN STRONGER when its negative.
If your brand is reviewed poorly, a potential customer can read it and without even buying your product/service, tell others that it’s RUBBISH…
…and those people will tell their pals it’s even worse!
And before you know it, your business is the most hated brand in your industry.
The best way to avoid negative reviews is to CARE. Customers can tell when you’re willing to put in the extra miles for them.
Social Proof #4: Crowd
We’re much more likely to do something if we see others doing it first.
Have you ever seen a CTA (call-to-action) button beside copy that says something like, ‘Join 300,000 like-minded happy customers who’ve…?
Have you ever followed somebody on social media, just because they had a LARGE FOLLOWING?
Large numbers influence our decision because we trust other’s opinions (quite often) more than our own…
…and it affects our need to avoid FOMO (fear of missing out).
Crowds peak interests and build trust. If you receive large numbers of customers or likes and shares on social media, make your audience aware of it!
Social Proof #5: Inner Circle
It’s a tricky place for businesses to infiltrate…
…but the opinions of our friends and family have a HUGE INFLUENCE on our buying decision.
When we personally know somebody, who’s benefitted from a particular product/service, it ticks a BIG social proof box.
They’re real. And more importantly, we can see the results in the flesh.
A great way of hitting the inner circle is offering a referrals discount or reward. This drives people to share your business with their social media followers.
Social Proof #6: Certifications
Certifications are stamps of approval from authority figures in your industry.
These can come in many forms, from passing a relevant qualification provided by a trusted brand in your industry to endorsement from a fellow business.
Although they might sound like Badges of Honour, they can have a powerful effect on a buyer’s decision, especially in niche markets.
Within the Digital Marketing world, Digitalmarketer.com offer their very own certifications for studying and passing industry-specific modules.
Twitter gives a blue checkmark to their most sought-after users.
Social Proof: Strategies Inbound
Don’t worry, those 6 types of social proof aren’t going anywhere.
We’re sure you’ve already formulated a few ideas…
But don’t worry, we won’t just leave things like that.
We’re trawling through tons of social proof strategies (that we’ve used) right now! And you’ll be getting our favourites very soon.
Stay tuned for more.
We’ll see you there.
Did you love this blog? What do you think about the 6 types of social proof? Leave a comment or send us a message, we’ll reply as soon as our social media manager has finished waiting for the drop in his techno music.