What is Social Proof and What Impact Does it Have on a Business?
The term ‘Social Proof’ was coined in 1984 and is also known as informational social influence. It’s the psychological and social phenomenon where people copy the actions of others.
Essentially, it’s marketing psychology that explains how buyers are influenced by the opinions and experiences of others.
You’re wandering through Italy looking for a fantastic pizza restaurant. There are two on the same street as your hotel. The first is ¾ full with a mixture of tourists and Italians. The other has two tourists sitting alone. You’re natural response to choose the popular pizza restaurant is an example of social proof.
Why is it important to your business?
Social proof is affecting how potential customers view your brand and whether they do business with you. They’re looking at the experience of customers like them (as in, looking for that particular product or service) and forming a judgement of your brand off that.
Therefore, a lack of reviews, testimonials, ratings and customer engagement will have a neutral or negative affect on your customers. If your competitors have strong social proof, there is a high chance your potential customer will move toward them.
In fact, one study found that 50% of shoppers are searching for reviews to research product while shopping in store.
Reviews can work against you and provide negative social proof. According to BrightLocal’s study, most customers require a minimum star rating of 3 before they will consider purchasing from a company.
It’s not just about the rating though, 89% of customers read the company’s responses to reviews. So what you’re responding with is just as important as what the review says.
How to build positive social proof:
- Influencer endorsements
- Patient, customer, sales tallies
- Awards and recognition