Have you experienced this before?
You're looking for a place to eat in a new mall and you see a restaurant that's packed. The other restaurants next to it is empty, or has less people. So you decide to try out the restaurant that's packed. The food should be good since there's such a big crowd right?
Your order finally arrives, only for you to find that the food isn't great. Disappointed, you start wondering why there are so many people in this restaurant.
Just like you, many of these customers might be victims of social proof, also known as mirror psychology in marketing.
What is social proof?
Social proof is a concept that people facing uncertainty will follow the actions of the masses. It happens when customers assume that since so many people are behaving the same way, the actions of those people must be correct.
Use correctly, this can be a powerful tool in marketing.
For example, studies in consumer behavior have shown that buyers tend to follow the footsteps of other buyers because they're afraid of taking the risk in trying something new. We can see this happening when shopping online. If there are two sellers providing the same product at the same price, people are more likely to purchase from the seller that has more or better reviews.
Social proof isn't new, and it's being used in both online and offline marketing. But let's focus on using social proof online to help boost your digital marketing efforts.
Why is social proof important for digital marketing?
"People trust other people more than they trust marketers."
A Malaysian study on social media shopping has found that social proof is important on social networks. Particularly, they discovered that a high follower count and recommendations play a significant role on a consumer's purchasing intentions, as it indicates that the businesses are legitimate and trusted.
In another study, social media was found to be more effective than mass media in attracting consumers for new products, services, or brands, as it was seen as being more credible. It's no surprise that more businesses are taking their products online and promoting them on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.
But social proof isn't just important in social media. Applied to your website or landing page, it can help increase conversions immensely. By using testimonials, endorsements, or popular brand logos, you're helping potential customers make a decision about choosing your product by giving them confidence in your brand.
How can you apply this to your business?
Post success stories or case studies
Get more positive reviews
Highlight positive testimonials
Celebrity or influencer endorsements
Expert stamp of approval or verification
Show off your earned media coverage
Boast the logos of famous clients
Showcase your awards and recognition
Flex your numbers (social media followers or shares, number of happy customers or purchases, etc.)
User generated content