What is Social Proof and how does it help my Social Media?
Social Proof and Your Business
Social proof is a type of conformity that can be extremely beneficial when you’re trying to market your business or Website. So what exactly is social proof and how can you use it to your advantage?
What does social proof mean?
Social proof by definition is a psychological phenomenon. What happens is people in unknown or uncomfortable situations emulate the behaviors and words of the people around them in order to correct how they’re behaving and act the same way so they don’t stand out. It’s really sort of self-preservation sort of thing because if you are part of the group then you cannot be targeted individually. It’s a very normal behavior, especially when a situation is considered new and you don’t know how to behave, and then go off the assumption that the other people who are there know more than you do so you should act the way that they are acting.
Of course this kind of behavior is not always good thing, however normal it may be. If the group is taking part in dangerous or cruel activities conformity can lead members down a very dark path or a dangerous situation. I needed a larger scale it can cause catastrophe. And the fear of standing out will cause people to perform activities that they are consciously against in order to act in self-preservation.
What does social proof mean in terms of marketing?
As people will conform to others around them as a form of acceptance, businesses and companies can use this phenomenon to their advantage. An example of this would be a store that wasn’t open yet due to limited hours, and results in a crowd outside waiting to get in which will result in passerby’s stopping as well to join the crowd to see what’s happening. Which would create even a larger crowd. One example that you’re probably more familiar with is watching, and TV and having the automated laughter in the background. Hearing a group of people laughing even if you were not present in the same room with them will increase the likelihood of you laughing personally.
How can I use it for my business?
I’m common example of social proof is to look at McDonald’s. They often have a tagline underneath their logo stating the fact that they have sold billions of burgers. It has nothing to do with how good the food was how great the service was or how cheap it was, only that billions of burgers have been sold and eaten at McDonald’s. It is in an inarguable fact that a lot of people have eaten hamburgers at McDonald’s. So think of it in another way, when you are visiting an online store, would you be more likely to buy from a store that said over 100 clients or a store that says over 1 million clients? If you’re trying to stay with small business shopping, the 100 might appeal for you, but in terms of the larger scale situation, you’re more likely to shop from the store that has been tried and true and used by 1 million other customers.
So when you are creating your website for your business, but you don’t have 100,000 subscribers, you may wonder how you can make use of social proof. But the amount of customers was only one example of social proof. There are many other ways to garner attention through the same phenomenon. Some examples are:
- Amount of times a post has been shared/viewed
- The amount of members
- How many products have been sold
- How much money has been made
Really there is many types of influence that you can use it to make use of social proof with your marketing. Anything that will make other people see that there have been a large amount of customers interested in what your website has to offer.
What is the best form of social proof?
The Bose try to intrude beneficial way to make use of social proof is to genuinely have something that is good that people want to look at. Whether it’s a good product a good story or anything that is a positive thing will garner the best kind of social proof. This will also result in a high number of positive customer reviews which will increase the likelihood of people either purchasing your product or giving you more business. Amazon has been making use of this version of social proof for years, where they apply customer reviews to a product which then will drive more people to purchase a product that has received very outstanding reviews.
Can social proof ever be a bad thing for your business?
Just as social proof can be detrimental in a social sense, it can also be detrimental for business. Depending upon the kind of business you have and who you are marketing to, certain types of social proof will not work out great for you. One type of social proof that has caused amount of skepticism our testimonials. While testimonials are a common form of social proof, they also do not always bring the best form of attention. But that entirely depends on the type of company you have and what you’re using the testimonials for. A dentist office, for example, could use a testimonial in a positive way. However if you are using this form of social proof for an exercise machine or nutritional supplement, these kinds of testimonials cause more doubt and skepticism among customers due to the ability to just hire a spokesperson to pretend to have lost a substantial amount of weight. This would also fall under the term of a celebrity social proof, where there is a celebrity endorsement for a specific thing to encourage masses to purchase it. This does work in some cases, but it also works against other people and other cases. As you know that spokes people including celebrities are always paid by the company and are not always the most honest form of social proof you can have.