Social Proof Psychology: What is it, and how to use it to make more sales.
When I drive past a particular bakery near my place, there’s always a line outside. Doesn’t matter if it’s a weekday, weekend, early in the morning or slightly drizzling with rain– the line is always snaking around the corner and down the road. What does that line tell me? The baked goods this bakery is offering are worth waiting for. They must be, if that many people are willing to line up for them day in, day out. After seeing that line, wouldn’t you be curious to try the baked goods yourself?
Humans are social creatures. Before we make a decision, purchase an item or sign up to a service, we naturally look to what others are doing. If we see an expert using the product, a celebrity endorsing it or indeed a long line of people showing their enthusiasm for it, we’re more likely to purchase the product. Psychologists call this social proof.
Understanding how social proof works is one of the best ways to boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. In the online world, you might not be able to show potential customers a long line of people waiting to buy your products. But there are other ways to tap into social proof psychology. Below, we’ll walk you through some of the most effective social proof strategies we use for our clients. But first, some basics.
What is social proof?
Social proof was popularised in the 80s by psychologist Robert Cialdini. He explained that when humans don’t know how to behave in a certain situation, we look at what others are doing and saying. In other words, it’s natural to take our cues from what everyone else is doing around us.
In the world of marketing, it’s the same. We check out what others are doing and saying about a product before we buy it. We ask our friends and family for their recommendations. We look to the industry giants to see what products and systems they rely on. We factor in how many people have good things to say about a brand before we decide to trust them ourselves.
How important is social proof in marketing?
Marketing experts across the board recognise the power of social proof. Whether they specialise in Google Ads, SEO, web design or copywriting, they’re going to tell you social proof matters. If you want to convince people to buy your product or sign up to your services, you’ve got to show that others are doing the same. And loving it.
Need more proof? Take a gander at these stats:
- 81% of consumers trust advice from friends and family more than advice from businesses (source: HubSpot)
- 97% of consumers wouldn’t consider using a business with an average star rating of two stars or lower (source: BrightLocal)
- 93% of potential buyers read reviews before making a purchase decision (source: Finances Online)
- 87% of shoppers believe that social media helps them make shopping decisions (source: Smart Insights)
7 Ways to make more sales with social proof
Start putting social proof to good use with these strategies:
Over to you
Marketing success starts with a solid understanding of how people think and what drives their behaviours. The psychology of social proof can be a really helpful tool for businesses, whether you’re just starting out or you’re already an authority in your industry. Like most marketing efforts, you’ll need to take an ongoing approach to social proof if you want lasting results. After all, people want to see what others are saying about your brand today, not what they were saying 5 years ago.
If you need help implementing a digital marketing strategy that gets excellent results for your brand, give us a call. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses across Australia hit their growth goals, and we’d love to help you too.
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