Do you have a worthwhile product and service offer in your business?
Yes, of course you do …but how can you convince your prospective customers in your target market audience of what it’s worth?
That’s the purpose of marketing in your business… To attract and nurture your future customers to prove your worth and to set up the sales conversion process.
And that’s where social proof steps in to help out, especially in today’s online social media marketing.
So, what exactly is social proof, and does it really matter for your business?
First of all, let’s see what social proof actually means and what effect it can have on your business…
Social proof emanates from the business world of marketing psychology where your existing customers, who have been delighted after using your product and service, then make themselves available to assist you to influence other people (B2C) or potential businesses (B2B) by recommending and referring you to them, based on their decisions and success when purchasing and using your products and services.
Which means, social proof is a very powerful marketing tool in buying situations where someone is not yet confident about making a decision. In other words, it works on the assumption that if people they know, like and trust have made a certain choice, there must be some merit in it that they will in turn benefit from that same product and service. In other words, it’s what happens when people are influenced by the behaviour of others when they talk positively and provide evidence about the usefulness of your product, service, brand and company.
This explains the effectiveness of social proof because people appreciate transparency and one of the values of social proof is that it doesn’t come from a company but instead it comes from the customers in B2B and from the consumer in B2C… That’s a big reason why people trust it.
That’s why social proof matters …it helps to do the work of selling for you.
So, social proof works in both offline and online marketing. For example, when you see that: “375 people bought and downloaded this exact information programme every month for the past year” or: “This product is recommended by 9 out of 10 dentists” you are reassured that the product works.
And social proof is also at work when a member of your family, a friend or a colleague recommends a good plumber or electrician to you, or you decide to check out a new movie or restaurant because other people you associate with are raving about it and telling you that you must go and have the same great experience
Which means, you are continually influenced by those around you. It’s part of human nature because there is always someone, or some group of people that has an influence on you in some way or another in your personal life and in business.
Good examples of this in action is when you go online to review a business on Yelp, or to buy a product or book on Amazon ..and you’re immediately presented with customer reviews. And social proof also occurs on various social media networking sites such as: where you see positive ratings or reviews about products and services on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogs; and where you see photo sharing on Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat; and video sharing on Facebook Live, YouTube and Vimeo.
In summary, social proof is hugely important in marketing and can take multiple forms in both online and offline media. And when it’s genuine and authentic and it’s accompanied by personal names photographs and videos with customer statements, stories including:
- Online and printed customer reviews
- In-depth customer case study testimonials
- Online ratings
- Social media mentions
- Face-to-face conversations and one-to-many presentations
- Professional certifications and recommendations
This means that social proof is increasing and growing in importance, especially due to accessibility online where people can easily post comments and review the behaviour of your business to help in your sales process