“Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.” Sorry… what? Social proof is huge in marketing. It’s a big psychological phenomenon that drives consumers to make decisions. So in the digital marketing world, we throw this term around regularly. But what does it mean? (Hopefully in words a little easier to understand than those above). And why does it matter so much?
What it Means:
The definition above is just one of the many ways this idea has been defined in the past. But, to put it simply, it’s the idea that people make decisions because they see other people doing it. It’s why companies pay enormous amounts of money to get someone like Michael Phelps or Simone Biles to sponsor their items. It’s why the Kardashians make millions of dollars posing with products on their Instagram. Whether it’s your favorite actress or your closest friend who recommends something, this is known as social proof.
What it Does:
There are a few different types of social proof, each of which can be used as a marketing tool in their own way. Here are a few:
- Celebrity: This one’s pretty self-explanatory, and refers to celebrities endorsing brands and products. With their influence, trust is built. On top of that, there’s a psychological effect known as the “Halo Effect” which states we buy things that celebrities endorse because we want to look like them.
- The wisdom of the crowd: This happens when a large group of people endorses your brand. It builds notoriety and trust.
- The wisdom of your friends: This happens when people see that their friends and people whose opinions they respect approve your product. Whether this is seeing them use it or the ever-powerful “word-of-mouth” tool, it helps them trust you more.
Why it Matters:
People are inherently driven by a desire to fit in. Social acceptance pushes a lot of purchases and decision-making processes. So it matters because consumers will gravitate towards things that have social proof. This has been documented for ages, so it’s less a question of whether or not it’s true. The question is how to make it work for you. You can do this in a variety of ways. But, most importantly, you need to do it.
If you have questions or need help with your digital marketing, reach out to us today.