What is Social Proof?

July 15, 2015

What is social proof and why does it matter for your business?

To explain, let’s look at two examples. Let’s say there are two, nearly identical companies that make and ship nutritious, homemade granola bars. To set themselves apart in such a crowded market, both champion their unique ingredients, freshness, and specific health benefits.

The prices are the same. And without knowing anything else about them, you’d not be able to distinguish one company from the other.

Here’s where they differ:

The first company has a Facebook pages with thousands of fans talking about how much they love the product. They have written and video testimonials featured prominently on their website. They feature a counter on their website that shows how many bars they are selling in real time, and the number is ticking up constantly.

The second company has none of that. Their website just shows the product and the price, and lets you checkout. They offer their own backstory, and provide detailed descriptions of each bar, but it all comes from the company.

The first company is using social proof. The second is not.

And if you’re like most people, given the option between the two, you will choose to purchase from the first company.

Why? Because human beings will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior. That’s social proof.

When we see others are doing something, and more than that, they’re excited or happy or satisfied in those actions, we’ll follow. And companies can take advantage of that psychology in order to help marketing their products and services.

Positive reviews, social media activity, proof of popularity or demand are all ways to employ social proof for your business. Show prospective customers that your offerings are popular among others, and you will help to convince them that buying from you is the right decision.

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