The Social Proof is in the pudding 🍮
In psychology terms, social proof is the idea that people are influenced by others. Societal norms compel people to act in specific ways in certain situations. In marketing, however, social proof refers to evidence of the popularity of a website, business, or brand. That popularity will then influence people to make purchasing decisions, and become returning customers.
The term ‘social proof’ dates back to the 1984 book “Influence: Science and Practice” by Robert Cialdini. It is still used as a phrase both in psychological and digital marketing circles. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘herd behavior,’ and we’ve all likely been influenced by it at some point in our lives.
Social proof can also be a powerful tool for marketing teams, as it allows a business to measure how well it is performing with its audience.
Examples of social proof
There are plenty of ways that digital social proof manifests. As stated, social proof must be evidence, something that can be pointed to and tracked. Social proof may look different from vertical to vertical depending on what type of business or brand your website represents.
- The number of products being sold
- How often brand hashtags are used
- Email subscribers
- Mobile app downloads
- Demo/download requests
Why is social proof important?
Social proof is solid, concrete evidence that a brand has gained attention, and, thus, revenue from other people. That attention explicitly convinces others that they should also interact with this brand. Customer reviews are a straightforward measure of social proof for eCommerce. When someone sees a product with thousands of glowing reviews, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase because others, ‘society’, has chimed in to say that it would be a good idea.
How do you measure social proof?
Plenty of tools are available to give marketing teams a way to measure and track their social proof metrics, so long as they know what metrics to look for. If they’re counting likes and comments on social media, extensions for Twitter or Instagram can be plugged in to help create a report of these metrics on a monthly, yearly, or weekly basis – both of these sites also have their own metrics systems baked in.
Google Analytics is also a powerful tool for measuring social proof. Not only will it track performance, traffic, and conversions, but Google Analytics 4 is also customizable enough to create reports on on-site comments, engagement, and more.
What do you do with social proof?
Social proof can be used to gauge the effectiveness of a campaign, post, page, or strategy. If something is not receiving the predicted or hoped-for engagement, what could be done differently to draw up the social proof? Or, if a product excels in sales and receives ample praise in reviews and online chatter, what was done right? What did your audience like about it?
In that way, social proof can help shape a marketing campaign and a business as a whole.
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