Social proof is the process where a customer researches a business, whether online or from close friends and family, to determine its popularity, professionalism, or efficacy. Before a customer commits to a product or service, they are likely to find the most popular option and go with that.
Based on the need to conform, social proofing aims to guide social awareness in a specific direction. In the digital age, it occurs mostly on social media sites where a customer would research the product from a pool of friends or reviewers to validate its authenticity. With this understanding, a business stands to benefit significantly through increased sales by Social proofing.
Social proofing is accomplished through several means such as:
Celebrity endorsements: Since celebrities wield a lot of influence over their fans, an endorsement goes a long way in drawing attention to a business. This type of promotion works even better, where the celebrity uses the same product that they endorse.
Customer reviews: Hearing the feedback from different users of the same product encourages a new customer. Reviews are considered much more honest and personal than regular ads. Rating systems on products also point an uncertain buyer to the most popular product based on other customers’ purchases.
Trust & Award badges: A business awarded with a client satisfaction award or trust badge from a regulated governing body also draws many new customers. These awards eliminate or diminish the fear of poor-quality products or services. The same effect can also be accomplished with a warranty offer, making a new customer feel safe in their purchase.
Social Media: This is one of the fastest-growing means of social proofing. Most younger buyers and online purchasers use platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to determine where to focus their attention.
Businesses with an online presence specifically stand to gain from this than those without. A professional, active and engaging social media presence for businesses presents them as far more appealing options than abandoned accounts, or worse, nonexistent ones.
Other social proofing methods, such as crowd wisdom and expert testimony, serve social proofing where adequately applied. Therefore, through crowd mentality manipulation, an upcoming business can benefit significantly from utilizing social proofing well.