The Psychology of Social Proof Marketing

Marketing is just psychology – finding out what resonates with people, and why, and utilizing that for the benefit of your brand.

Social proof is one type of marketing psychology. 

You can use social proof to increase trust with your potential customers. Here’s an example.

Consider a scenario where a customer is looking at two products. There are many reviews for one while there are only a few for the other. Reviews automatically make a product more trustworthy, so it is likely to be purchased over one with fewer reviews.

Social proof, however, can also be found in a variety of other forms in your marketing strategy. Let’s discuss what social proof is, how it works, and how it can be used in marketing.

Social proof – what is it?

Social proof is a type of psychology where people have the tendency to copy the actions of others. When pertaining to marketing, it’s the idea that people tend to purchase products that others have purchased.

You’ll see social proof everywhere—and your brand has likely used it before, even if you didn’t realize.

Social proof comes in the form of reviews, ratings, testimonials, case studies, and so much more. To show you just how you can use social proof in your marketing strategy, let’s dig a little deeper into the different types.

12 Types of Social Proof in Marketing

Over 91% of consumers read reviews before they buy or sign up for a service. One of the types of social proof is reviews. This just goes to show how crucial it is for future customers to have some type of social proof.

Social proof comes in many forms, each of which can be applied in a different way and for different purposes.

Case studies would be more beneficial to a B2B company than an eCommerce company, for instance. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less important.

Within this article, we will cover 12 popular types of social proof that you can use within your marketing campaign.

1. Testimonials and Reviews

One of the most basic types of social proof is the testimonials and reviews left by your customers. They can be aggregated on your product pages, review sites, or social media pages.

For example, we see a list of over 200 reviews on Digital Marketing Agency WebFX, helping clients grow their business.

You can use this tactic to let potential new customers know how you did with past clients. Potential customers can feel more at ease about working with your business if this information appears on your home page, landing page, or product page.

2. Case Studies

B2B organizations are known for their case studies – not so much B2C brands.

Keep-case studies top of mind if you’re marketing for a B2B brand. Sales enablement videos are a great way to showcase your biggest successes and get potential clients excited about working with you.

A customer case study or story explains how a brand helped a client solve their pain before they came to them for a solution, so similar companies can see their potential results before signing any contract. Here, we see Semrush customer success stories, each with its own main point.

Case studies provide potential clients with insight into whether your company is capable of solving their main problems. Depending on how much information you want to share, these can be published as a blog post, PDF, or one-sheeter.

3. Well-Known Clients/Customers

A great way to add social proof is to showcase your well-known customers and clients. To make others feel more confident, ask some of the bigger brands that have bought from or worked with your company for permission.
On their homepage, CreatorDB shares the big-name brands that trust them.

4. Milestones

Sharing your company’s major milestones is yet another great example of social proof. In addition to showing potential customers how many people buy from or follow you, this is also a fun way to promote your brand on social media.

It might look something like this:

  • Making it to X number of followers on social media
  • Growing to X YouTube subscribers
  • Reaching X customers or users
  • Hitting X app downloads
  • Selling X products

 5. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a great method for businesses to demonstrate their social proof. Micro-influencers on Instagram and TikTok typically have loyal and engaged followings – or at least, if they’re micro-influencers, they have a loyal following.

In this case, we see a post from an Instagram influencer and Philippine Actress, Andrea Brillantes:

Social media users become more interested in products and services they see their favorite influencers using and buying.

The brands are not only reaching a broader audience but also reaching people who are likely to be their exact target market.

6. User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is beneficial both for building a robust content calendar and for improving your overall social proof. UGC is content created by your customers, which you can share online.

A social proof benefit like this is more of a B2C benefit, but you can use it to pique your followers’ interest. Your customers are more likely to buy from you if they see that you share content about their purchases.

The odds of a follower seeing a product styled and shared by one of their own customers rise when they share it.

 7. Customer Recognition

Consider re-sharing any accolades, recognition, or shout-outs your brand receives online onto your own page as a form of social proof. Followers see that your brand has happy customers, which makes them more likely to sign up or buy.

8. Social Media Verification

Getting that big blue check is also an indication that your business is legitimate. Brands can get verified on nearly every platform: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

You will be seen as a more legitimate brand if you have that extra verification.

Take a look at Nike on Instagram:

Your business can also gain social proof by displaying awards and accolades it has won. Several business awards can be earned or top business roundups can be entered, with badges you can display on your website.

10. Integrations

Integrating your business is a form of social proof that is less obvious, but still effective. Your brand appears more robust and trustworthy the more businesses work with it. In addition, if your service is compatible with software a team already uses, it makes working with you even easier.

11. Press Coverage

Is your business in the news? That’s significant social proof. It’s a great way to let people know you’re a “big deal.” Share it on your site and social media profiles.

In the beginning, you may need to pitch publications and send out press releases to get press coverage. As your business grows, you might find that you’re mentioned in an increasing number of articles, giving you a healthy list of press coverage to display.

 12. Collaborations

Partnerships and collaborations are another way to gain social proof for your brand. When visitors see you working with another company, a thought leader or influencer in your industry, or a popular expert, they become more trusting of your brand.

How to Get Social Proof

Take advantage of your social proof if you have at least one of these 12 types. In the event you don’t, you might wonder where to find social proof. Just a few testimonials or case studies will prove you have some happy customers.

We’ve compiled a list of ways to begin generating social proof.

#Ask

Similarly, if you have happy customers, why not just ask them for a testimonial or an interview? Obviously, not everyone will say yes, but you’re likely to find someone who is delighted to assist.

#Give away your product or service for free

Offer your customers a chance to enter a contest or giveaway if they review your business. You could give a gift card to the first X people who review your business or product.

#Send out press releases

Are you planning a big launch? Try sending out press releases to see if you can get any publications to write about it. Boom, media coverage.

#Work with influencers

It is important to obtain social proof through influencer marketing. You can reach out to micro-influencers for a fee or even a free product to promote your brand.

CreatorDB is a platform that can help you give insight into the micro-influencers that you want to work with.

#Showcase your best numbers

Are you selling X products? How many users have you reached? How much revenue have you generated? Tell us! This is great social proof in and of itself.

Publish any social proof you can find on your website or social media. By doing this, you can reach your audience and encourage anyone on the fence about your business to bite the bullet and sign up or check out.

#Conclusion

The importance of social proof in marketing cannot be overstated. The more reviews and testimonials you have, the more trust and confidence your business will gain. Showcasing success stories and major milestones can also help. Therefore, a wider customer base can lead to increased revenue.

Your marketing strategy should include different forms of social proof. To make your audience feel more comfortable with your business, post it to your website, email newsletter, and social media.

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