What is Social Proof and How Do You Use it

If you’ve never heard of social proof or have but don’t quite know how to implement it into your business, this blog is for you!

Social proof has been around for a while in marketing, but with the help of social media (and the internet in general), it has picked up a lot of momentum and become even more effective.

So what is social proof?

Social proof is a social phenomenon where people cop the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation. ‘We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it’ – Robert Cialdini

It is the idea that people will change their behavior or actions based on the actions of an influential person, whether that be an influencer, friend, or family member, or society in general. They are copying the ‘right’ behavior in a given situation.

This can be as simple as scheduling posts on Instagram or as complex as creating sophisticated retargeting campaigns.

Types of Social Proof

Social proof can come in many forms, but generally speaking their are six types of social proof.

  1. Expert
    • This is when a leader in your field/industry endorses your product or service. This could be having an expert retweet you or link to your website/store.
  2. Certification
    • This type of social proof is achieved when your are given a stamp of approval or verification by an authority figure, like Facebook or Twitters blue verification stamp. It can also be achieved by having an expert approve or recommend your product or service.
  3. Celebrity
    • Celebrity social proof is pretty simple. It’s when a celebrity endorses, talks about, or is shown using your service or product. The bigger the celebrity, the more people the post will reach. Larger companies will use celebrity influencers to promote their product, smaller or mid-sized companies will often reach out to influencers with smaller followings as the price for a post is often less. For example, the Kardashians and Fit Tea on Instagram.
  4. User
    • User social proof is one of the easiest types of social proof, as it is leveraging the people who already love your brand and buy from you! You can use the reviews and recommendations of your loyal customers to bring in and entice new customers
  5. ‘Wisdom’ of the Many
    • This is when the general public or population endorses a product or service, whether that is by writing a review, purchasing a product, or giving a recommendation. For example, air pods and low rise jeans. However, wisdom of the many isn’t always ‘wisdom’ but it helps to sell your product.
  6. Wisdom of the Friend
    • This type of social proof is when people see their friends approve your product. This is similar to wisdom of the many but more effective because it is coming from someone that you trust; it is like a personal recommendation! You trust the friend (or family member) who recommended the product. This is becoming more prevalent and relevant with the rise of social media.

Social Proof Today

88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Social proof today can take many forms, as shown by the different types of social proof above. But how does this manifest today?

It manifests as reviews, positive comments, and tagged posts on social media. These are online endorsements that your product, service, or brand are great and that the customer experience is a good one!

As trust in traditional advertising goes down, social proof is a more trustworthy type of advertisement and this is because it is coming right from the customer. Customers are more likely to trust other customers rather than the marketing department of a company or brand, as they aren’t trying to sell them anything.

The reason for this is because not only do other customers not have a vested interest in selling others but leaving a review or taking a picture takes time out of a persons day, and the assumption is that you only do this if you truly love the product.

As an online business, you should have social proof readily available on your website. Include reviews of your products from satisfied customers or include pictures of people wearing your product! This way not only do people know another customer enjoyed your product, but they can see it in a real-life setting.

How to Showcase Social Proof

Now that we know what social proof is and how it is used today, how can you use social proof on your website?

You can do this by showcasing customer reviews and photos, sharing customer tags on your social media account, and by adding social proof apps to your Shopify store. These social proof apps utilize the ‘wisdom of the many’ type of social proof. They do this by letting customers know how many of a product is left, how many others have purchased an item, or when another person in your area purchased a product.

Here are three companies that we would recommend:

  1. Fera.ai – Fera Social Proof
    • Social Proof App That Increases Conversions, Sales, and Trust. Fera allows stores to easily add social proof, you don’t even need to have coding knowledge! It helps Shopify stores to increase urgency (how many of a product is left) and social validation (Linda from Saskatoon also bought this!), with the promise of increased conversions. Additionally, Fera can add banners, carousels and countdown timers to your store.
      • Disclaimer: Jameela works for Fera as their Marketing Manager
  2. FOMO Social Proof 
    • Fomo Increases Conversions with Social Proof Notifications. Fomo displays recent orders, a variety of other customer behaviors, and product reviews on Shopify Stores. It is an easy to use tool that prioritizes honesty in marketing.
  3. Nudgify
    • Social Proof, Sales Pop Up, Recent Sales, FOMO, Urgency. Nudgify shows relevant pop-ups, or nudges, each type of page on your Shopify store.

Social proof is one of the best way to build trust on your website and you should find as many ways as possible to show social proof on your website.

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