Social Proof: Why is it crucial for decision-making?

Social Proof

Imagine you are strolling around in a city and looking for a nice restaurant where you would like to enjoy a delicious and spontaneous lunch.

Just around the corner you see two cosy restaurants, one is almost full and the other one is quite empty. You will probably opt for the first, as it is well staffed, with a lively crowd. This projects a sense of security that the food is fresh, the clients are satisfied and the ambience is inviting.

This is how Social Proof works – it describes the psychological phenomenon, when people orient towards other people, especially when they hesitate when faced with decisions.

In digital marketing, Social Proof is used to characterise the behaviour of your potential clients. Eminence, your digital marketing pioneer, has put together some interesting insights that show how you can drive more Social Proof and at the same time increase your ROI.

It’s all about confidence

According to several studies, more than 83% of the population worldwide trusts the recommendations from their family and friends. While 88% of the consumers say they would trust online recommendations just as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Take these facts as an advantage for you and integrate reviews and testimonials on your website. Another possibility is to include the logos of your clients with an associated assessment. It is important not to overload your website with testimonials – remember to stay authentic!

Social Proof in Social Media

If we don’t know what to believe, we will turn to our environment and trusted opinions.

In certain situations, we use these indicators to determine if something is popular or not and also as a reinsurance, that we made the right decision.

In Social Media we rely on simplified information like assessments or the number of shares in order to decide what is popular and who to trust. Social Proof helps people make better decisions in a world overrun with information.

The most common Social Proofs are:

Social Proof through experts

For example, skin creams recommended by dermatologists generate social trust because they are authorities within the skincare industry.

Social Proof through celebrities and influencers

Influencers and celebrities who act as testimonials can increase your credibility and boost your brand because people admire and respect their opinion.

Social Proof through users

Rating platforms, for example Tripadvisor or Yelp can help you increasing the reputation of your brand. Notably when they have numerous and positive comments. This Social Proof is where real everyday people and free speech can be found. It’s credibility, which is not altered by sponsors or other external influencers.

Social Proof through the influence of the crowd

When a product is sold successfully multiple times (for example a vacuum cleaner) you have the concrete Social Proof of happy clients that can in turn increase the number of purchases made.

Social Proof through the advice and knowledge of your friends

If you are not sure about buying a product or a service the advice of a friend can be useful, because you respect and trust the opinions of your friends.

Social Proof through case studies

Case studies are a strong tool – they tell a story. If your objectives are similar to those found in the case study on the website of a company, you will be more likely to contact them.

Social Proof through trust symbols

Trust symbols and certifications increase noticeably the conversion rate. They build trust because the symbol is universally recognisable, even if the content is not in the viewers’ first language, they quickly understand what is being communicated.

Social Proof through social shares and comments

Your numbers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram indicate if your posts are popular or not. The comments are an important indicator as well. Usually, you will prefer to read an article with a hundred interesting comments instead of an article with only one comment.

The above-mentioned categories are the major categories but there are many other possibilities for measuring the Social Proof; for example the number of downloads and the number of subscribers. And last but not least, a quintessential Social Proof is the Word-of-Mouth-Marketing.

Examples for successful Social Proofs

We have picked out for you three examples of successful Social Proofs:

  • Amazon is a great example of social proof. Testimonials and customers are one of the strongest forms of social proof, and Amazon excels at this, which is why Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world.
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  • Wix (website builder) used a celebrity, Heidi Klum, for their commercial. It worked in two ways: adding a high-profile name to a business in a competitive industry and secondly to demonstrate that anyone can build a website. Have a look at the entertaining clip https://youtu.be/3VIp18Etl4Q. In 2016 Wix used Kung-Fu Panda in their 2016 Super Bowl commercial. This generated more online views than any other commercial shown during the game.
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  • Netflix recommends new movie and TV series to their users based on popularity. This use of Social Proof entices users to continue watching Netflix, after their series or film has finished.

 

Social Proof goes hand in hand with thought leadership

Social Proof should be built up progressively and maintained. Keep an overview and don’t forget people are oriented towards other people, both offline and online. They are particularly oriented towards the opinion of a visionary or a thought leader, who represents the leading opinion on a particular theme. When it comes to the decision-making process, behavioural patterns arise when there is uncertainty. The more unsure people are, the more they will turn towards respected and trusted people.

It is for this reason that Social Proof is one of the strongest triggers in consumption psychology and in customer research. With the growing importance of Social Media, thought leadership is becoming a central factor in marketing and corporate e-communication.

Do you want to boost your business and get supported with a thoughtful Social Media Strategy in order to raise your Social Proof? Eminence, your digital marketing pioneer, who is celebrating his 10th anniversary this year has a long-standing and precious experience in supporting companies with extensive strategies in the digital world. We can help you to strengthen your performance and to successfully increase your e-reputation.