How to Use the Power of ‘Social Proof’ to Attract Customers

How to Use the Power of ‘Social Proof’ to Attract Customers

Behaviors are contagious. The researchers Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler used the results of the Framinghan network (a solution that allows scientists to map the participants' social networks for several years) to track what happened to friends of people dealing with obesity, among other conditions. And they realized that the likelihood of a friend of someone who had become obese facing the same challenge was 171%.

Our network helps us to know what is acceptable and what we are or aren’t allowed to do if we want to be part of a group. This is called moral reinforcement, and it can be used for good or bad – yes, don’t you think that peer pressure is always a negative thing, as many of us would do unspeakable things if we were sure that everybody would congratulate us in end.

So call it moral reinforcement or peer pressure, or social proof, but understand that what is being discussed here is a behavior triggered by anthropological and biological reasons connected to adapting and surviving. We needed to be part of a group to deal with nature's challenges; somehow, our minds still worked the same way.

Marketing has made the most of “social proof”

So it is understandable why marketing has used social proof to attract customers and add value to products and services. And as social proof here, we are talking about opinions and facts brought up by people we consider reliable or role models. Their words are used to back up what the business says about its portfolio, minimizing the impression that companies will always lie to sell.

marketing success

The internet and its social media networks have made it even easier for marketers to use social proof to make their goals come true. Offline or online, peer opinion can bring a significant and much faster return than when they aren’t used. And the best thing is that there are several ways to apply it to any business.

The five forms of social proof

According to venture capitalist Aileen Lee, there are five forms of social proof that you should be aware of before start deciding which your next step will be:

  • Experts social proof
  • Celebrities social proof
  • User social proof
  • Wisdom of the crowd
  • Wisdom of your friends

And the tips that you will read in the sequence, try to make the most of these five forms separately or all together so you can increase your sales using scientifically proven ideas.

1 - Gather ratings and reviews

One of the most common ways to use social proof to attract customers is by gathering ratings and reviews from previous or recurrent clients. Some online services live on them, such as Amazon and TripAdvisor, which are proven powerful.

Who would book a reservation in a hotel whose rating is 1 star, approved by less than 20% of their customers, and with a bunch of horrible reviews to everybody read, no matter how beautiful the place looks on their website? Exactly, nobody would. On the other hand, products and services with above 80% of approval are more likely to get even more clients.

So you should always embrace increasing the number of online reviews about your business. Ask your clients for reviews and give them a direct link to make it easier. Yes, some of them may leave you a bad review instead, but it is also true that people won’t trust a product with no negative reviews at all – it will just sound like you have paid for them.

2 - Publish testimonials

Suppose among your clients, there are influencers, celebrities, or any other people that are considered as an authority by your target audience. In that case, you should try and get some testimonials from them.

Some great words about your business coming out of the mouths of people your client's trust will be much more effective than you saying them. If nothing else, they will, at least, stop to hear and analyze your message, something that you might not achieve by yourself.

You can use these testimonials as quotes on your website or create ads and even videos with them. It will depend on your budget and their agreement, of course. And don’t forget to add their logos to your page if they are companies (creating something known as “logo porn”). But you can be sure that the results will be the best you can expect.

3 - Increase your number of followers/likes/subscribers

Empty stores feel just wrong, especially when they are located in a busy shopping center. The same goes for restaurants and bars. Of course, you don’t want to be in a packed place, but when it has no customers, it feels like something is wrong with it.

And this is no different with social media. Pages, profiles, or blogs with a deficient number of likes, subscribers, or followers raise suspicion about their authenticity and the quality of their services. On the other hand, the more people click on the button to keep getting news from you, the more likely their friends and even people who don’t know them will think that it is a good idea to join the team.

social media follow

So do your best so to increase the number of your followers, likes, or subscribers (depending on the media or network that you are using). But what you shouldn’t do here is to buy clicks, no matter how tempting it can be – this is easily spotted by the Facebook algorithm and by anyone with a bit more of an understanding of how these things work. And all your beloved credibility will be ruined faster than you wish.

4 - Show off who has published about you

If your company has been the source of information or mentioned by a reputable publication, you should add it to your ads and website. You can create an “As Seen On” section and display the logos of the publications along with links to their articles or posts if they are online or a downloadable PDF of the newspaper or magazine if they are offline.

You can also use their articles as a source for your own articles on your own content marketing strategy. This will increase your business's credibility and help you become an expert in your industry. And the more readers the publication has, you will reach more potential clients.

5 - Look for user experiences

Whenever possible, you should encourage your clients to share their experiences with your product or service, not just by writing reviews.

You can also try and create a contest, in which you can ask them to publish social media videos or photos using your product or tell how they got to find out about your company in a creative way. The idea is that if someone benefits from it, it should be good – and nobody wants to miss a great opportunity.

You will see that. As a result, all that positive information will bring you several new clients and the budget that you will invest in the campaign will be nothing compared to what you will gain from it.

Wrapping it up

Using the power of social proof can be an easy and affordable way to bring you more customers. It will make your potential clients more confident about the quality of your product or service, increase the credibility of your brand, and help you to build an endless fountain of new customers.

To achieve it, you can try increasing your number of reviews, ratings, likes, followers, subscribers, shares, and comments, anything that will make people think your business is a hot brand.

You can also spread the good experiences of celebrities, experts, and even other clients with your products to make your target audience know the value of what you are offering. This way, you can attract more customers to your business using their influence in your favor.

As you can see, using social proof to increase your sales will demand a lot of hard work, but it will pay off. Science and statistics are in your favour, so go ahead and start putting these ideas into practice today. You won’t be disappointed.

Kerry Creaswood works as freelance writer for sites that are related to educational background. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks that everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry – check her Twitter

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