5 Types OF Social Proof (And How To Use Them)

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Psychology plays a big part in marketing, especially when you want to understand why customers are thinking and acting the way they are. One of the basic principals of psychology that is commonly used in marketing is social proof. Social proof is the idea that customers will conform to what other customers are doing, because if others are doing it, it must be the correct behavior. A study done by Neilson found that 83% of customers from 60 different countries trust the recommendation of friends and family over any other type of advertising. Here are the 5 types of social proofs and how you can use them.

Expert Social Proof: This type of social proof is when an industry “expert” approves your product. This can come in many forms, such as a blogger giving your product a positive review, an Instagram post showing an expert loving your product, or displaying an expert certification. Having an expert tell people they like your product gives the “halo effect”, meaning if the trusted expert likes it, customers know it must be good without having to do outside research themselves. This ties is closely with Affiliate MarketingAn example of expert social proof is Fitbit having fitness experts leave reviews, and even teaming up with Adidas (a well known fitness brand) to show customers that they the best fitness tracker.

Celebrity Social Proof: Celebrity social proof uses a celebrity endorcing a product to promote it. This is most commonly done on social media, commercials or print advertisements. Sometimes, celebrates will endorse a product without compensation, which is especially meaningful. An up-and-coming brand that has been using celebrity social proof is The Queen Pegasus, best known for their Lash Elixir Kit. Kim Kardashian first raved about the product, and the website has a page titled “Queens Be Doing It” which consists of beauty influences and celebraties claiming how the Lash Elixir Kit has giving them long, luscious eyelashes. Many more well-known brands such as Covergirl, Fabletics, and Nike frequently use celebrates to endorse their products.

User Social Proof: User social proof consists of product reviews from customers who have already tried the product. This can be a very valuable type of social proof, as it lets customers read what previous, objective customers thought. The objectivity of these reviews gives them higher credibility, since the customer reviewing the product has nothing to gain. Online shopping can make some customers hesitant, as products can be different in person than what they seem online. User testimonials help unbiased customers point out the pros and cons of a product, leaving future customers more satisfied with their purchases. Amazon and Yelp are two examples of websites that are known for their customer reviews.

Wisdom Of The Crowd Social Proof: Wisdom of the crowd social proof plays on a customer’s fear of missing out. By telling everyone how popular your product is, potential customers are more likely to try it. McDonald’s is a classic example of using wisdom of the crowd social proof. If you look at their signs, they boast over X billion hamburgers have been served at McDonald’s. This is social proof that a lot of people eat at McDonald’s, and therefore you should too. Having a large number of people purchase your product is an endorsement, as so many people cannot be wrong.

Wisdom Of Your Friends: Similar to wisdom of the crowds, wisdom of your friends relies on the likes and opinions of the customers friends. Customer’s value the opinion of someone they know far more than any other type of promotion. Wisdom of your friends social proof can be as simple as “liking” or following a brand on social media. Social networks like Facebook allow companies to show users what events their mutual friends are attending, or what pages they are interacting with. Some companies even offer referral deals for customers who reach out to their friends and ask them to use the product as well.

You can use more than one type of social proof to help promote your business. Social proof has been called the most important factor in selling, so make sure that you are doing all you can to give your customer’s the best possible experience. One study found that 70% of Americans read reviews before purchasing a product, and that positive social proof is more effective than saving money. If you want to continue to sway uncertain customers into loyal customers, develop your social proof stratigy. 


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