Social Proof is a concept where the use of a product or service by other people (usually en mass) legitimises that product or service.
It’s why eBay show you how many of an item have already been sold. It’s why we care so much about how many Twitter followers someone has, and why Amazon gives such heavy weighting to buyers reviews in their algorithm.
Examples of Social Proof
- Seeing a restaurant is always really busy – the food must be good!
- Reviews of services on Google or elsewhere online, where people are likely to check
- Amassing a large (and engaged!) Social Media following
- A guy having a large group of friends when on a night out, knowing the bartenders by name or being greeted by the bouncer
- A colleague recommending a service to you
These are all examples of social proof. And what this does is signal to others that this product / service / person has been vetted by others, and deemed “good for it”.
It works in business and in relationships as you can see from the examples above.
A recommendation from a colleague or a blind date set up by friends is another example. The referrer in this situation is basically saying “I’ve audited this individual and he/she is fit for the task. They’re good for it. I will vouch for them”.
It can be a pretty powerful tool.
This is why we offer a referral fee (email for more info) at Cuthbert Media and why so many businesses encourage reviews.
Often, you don’t even need to ask.
And that’s because people like to be the ones who introduce something cool to their friends. Ever had a friend or family member say something to the tune of; “You wouldn’t even have known about X if I had not introduced you two!” or “Aren’t you glad I got you hooked on that show!”.
It makes us feel good to be the ones in the know. Who know about all these cool things ‘before they happen’.
This is why viral videos only go more viral. Why popular things get more popular and leave everyone else in the dust.
We want to share it before someone else does.
Social proof is deeply rooted in psychology, which is what makes it such a powerful tool for marketing. If people are voluntarily singing praised about your business, it’ll make acquiring new customers that much easier.
Consider how you can make use of social proof for your business. Whether its reviews, referrals or working with an Influencer. Every business can make use of social proof.