Branding

What Is Social Proof, And How Can You Use It Effectively? [+Examples]

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 15/02/2210 min read
What Is Social Proof, And How Can You Use It Effectively? [+Examples]

Table of Contents

  • What Is Social Proof?
  • Why Is Social Proof Important?
  • What Are the Different Types of Social Proof?
  • 10 Ways to Use Social Proof in Marketing
  • 10 Successful Social Proof Examples
  • Key Takeaways
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

It’s a known fact that psychology plays an important role when it comes to consumer decisions. For marketers, using psychological cues and triggers to push consumers in the right direction is becoming popular today. Right from product placements to website optimization, marketers are making use of different psychological principles to get through to their customers.

So, what is social proof? In this blog, we talk about the meaning of social proof, along with some social proof examples, to give you a proper understanding of how it works.

What Is Social Proof?

Source 

It’s essential to first understand the definition of social proof in order to use it in your marketing strategies. Social proof is a phenomenon that is based on social influence. It’s a social and psychological phenomenon that’s also referred to as informational social influence. It’s an idea where people copy the actions of others in an attempt to emulate behavior that is deemed correct in certain situations.

The term “social proof” was coined by Robert Cialdini in the year 1984, in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In this book, he states, “We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.” So, if someone is not sure how to act in a certain situation, they take cues from others around them.

For example, you are looking for a new table online. You have found three tables that you love, simply based on the images. The first table has around 600 reviews; the second one has around 150 reviews, and the third one has no reviews. Which table are you more likely to buy? Of course, you’ll be drawn towards the table that has 600 satisfied customers, right? This is precisely what social proof is. 

Social proof is the reason why stores online work hard to get customers to review their services and products. It works wonders when it comes to increasing sales.

In marketing, social proof is seen in the form of existing customers, reviews, and more. Now that you’ve understood the social proof definition, let’s answer the question, “what is social proof in digital marketing?”

Why Is Social Proof Important?

Source 

You need to understand the meaning of social proof so that you can apply it to your marketing activities. But what makes it so valuable for your business? 

  • 91% of people who shop read reviews online before making a purchase.
  • 83% of consumers recommend a brand or product to friends and family when they follow it on social media. 

Simply put, social proof proves to be beneficial for your business. It gets you more sales and revenue. Today, social proof has become critical for any business, and that’s the reason why most brands are now using it in their marketing strategies.

What Are the Different Types of Social Proof?

You may be already familiar with some types of social proof, such as testimonials, referrals, and reviews. But, in fact, there are many more types of social proof. 

1. User social proof/customer testimonials

This type of social proof is when your existing users or customers recommend your services or products based on their personal experiences with your brand. Positive reviews given by your customers on your website are an example of using social proof. 

2. Expert social proof

This type of social proof comes from industry experts. It is when an industry expert recommends your services or products to others. For example, a shout-out to your brand on social media platforms by an expert is a type of social proof.

3. Celebrity social proof

Similar to expert social proof, celebrity social proof is when an influencer or celebrity endorses your products or services. A Tweet or Instagram post about your service or product by an influencer is a form of celebrity social proof.

4. Friend referrals

This type of social proof is when people directly refer your product or service to their friends. It is an effective growth marketing technique. 

5. Wisdom of the crowd

This type of social proof is when you see a large number of people endorse, follow or recommend your service or product.

6. Certification

This type of social proof is when your brand is given a badge or stamp by an authoritative institution or organization. The blue tick of verification on Twitter and Instagram can be considered a form of certification.

Once you have a proper understanding of the meaning of social proof in marketing, putting your plan into action will become a lot easier.

10 Ways to Use Social Proof in Marketing

There are many ways to use social proof in your strategies. We list a few of them below. 

1. Invite experts to post on your social media accounts

This is one of the best social proof examples you could use for your marketing. Having an industry expert take control of your social profiles can be an awesome way to take advantage of their influence and connect with their followers. The positive association followers have with the influencer can be a big advantage for you.

When an industry expert takes over your social media profiles to post educational content, go live, or post-Instagram Stories, people who are following them might find your brand interesting, as the expert’s presence on your profile creates a positive impact. The advantage of such collaborations often leads to a favorable situation for your brand, providing you with access to a diverse and wider audience.

2. Collaborate with experts for events

Similarly, you could go ahead and invite experts for your social media events. These events could include Facebook or Instagram Live, or Twitter chats. Collaborating with experts will help you tap into their positive influence and also allow your audience to learn from them.

3. Built trust through star ratings and customer reviews

Another social proof example is star ratings and customer reviews alongside your products. They help visitors feel more confident about the product they plan to purchase. According to statistics, 93% of customers online check product reviews before they buy products.

4. Show appreciation for mentions

There might be times when you receive mention from brands, influencers, or the press. This is a fanatic form of expert social proof. There are many ways in which you can share such mentions on your profiles, without being boastful. Here are a couple of phrases you could use.

  • “Honored to be featured…”
  • “Grateful for the mention…”

5. Display the number of people viewing your product

No doubt, showing a sense of urgency always helps drive purchasing decisions. When done right, it can also be used to encourage users to make a purchase when they may have left the website or changed their mind about purchasing a product. When you show the number of people viewing your products, it creates a sense of urgency that can help your brand to drive sales.

6. Share milestones

Another great way to create social proof is to always show gratitude and follower milestones. When you reach milestones, it’s a fun way to celebrate or a great time to appreciate and thank all the people who have helped you along the way. It’s a great way to show the audience that you appreciate and care for them. Here are a few milestones you can celebrate. 

  • Reaching X customers
  • Reaching X users
  • Reaching X followers
  • Reaching X downloads of your app

7. Try out micro-influencer marketing

This is a cost-effective tool that is used to get social proof. This type of social proof is mostly used on Instagram. Brands and businesses sponsor influencers or people who have a powerful social media presence in a particular area but are not celebrities. Due to their social media presence and influence, they are often seen as celebrities. 

So, when others watch them using a certain product, they are more likely to buy it too. Understanding the meaning of social proof well in advance is important before implementing it in your marketing strategies.

8. Consider brand ambassadors

Ambassadors provide the right mix of celebrity, user, and expert social proof. However, this would depend on the ambassadors you choose. These ambassadors could be influencers, experts, or simply passionate users who include branded hashtags in their posts.

9. Create user-generated content

This is a strategy that is widely used on Instagram because it helps grow your following. You could use this form of social proof by encouraging your users to share pictures concerning your product using hashtags or reposting social media posts.  

10. Include the size of your customer base in your bio

If your brand has a large following, make sure to mention it in your profile bio. It’s the perfect example of crowd social proof because when people see that others are using your services or products, they are more likely to get a positive impression of your product. It’s a great way to draw in people by building trust in your brand.

10 Successful Social Proof Examples

In this section, we bring you some of the most inspiring social proof examples. Read on. 

1. Alo Yoga

Source

Kendall Jenner is a popular personality on the global fashion and modeling circuit. Also, a brand that specializes in clothes and accessories for yoga, has successfully leveraged Jenner’s massive following through this collaboration. 

The brand knows that Kendall Jenner fans are sure to drift towards the collection she promotes on social media. This makes Alo one of the most inspiring celebrity social proof examples.

2. Nature Made

Source: HubSpot 

This is one of the best social proof examples that you need to check out. The brand uses certification to describe the quality of the products. The certification speaks for the quality of their vitamins. Also, notice the witty caption that accompanies the post.

3. Yelp

Source: HubSpot 

When it comes to social proof examples, Yelp has done it perfectly well. It leverages user reviews to rate different businesses. This does not only help the brand get more engagement, but it also makes users feel involved and a part of the community.

4. Bailly

Source

Bailly is a fragrance brand that, as seen in the example above, uses expert social proof to draw in more customers. By mentioning that it has been covered by a range of esteemed publications, it is assuring its viewers that they are in safe hands, that they can trust the brand with their needs.

5. Copyblogger

Source: HubSpot 

Copyblogger is a popular content marketing blog that uses a powerful CTA to get people to subscribe. By doing this, they encourage people to join a larger community with similar interests. This is a great social proof example. You can try out similar examples like this to encourage your visitors to take action. There are many ways to reach out to your audience. However, you must understand which tactic works best for your brand.

6. Fitbit

Source: HubSpot 

In the “Buzz” section of the company’s website, Fitbit allows tech and health experts to speak about the quality of their products. This helps add a lot of weight to all the claims the brand makes about its success. This is another great social proof example that you can try out.

7. Call Loop

Source

Call Loop uses live visitor information to spark interest, curiosity, and urgency among its customers. Let’s consider the above example. If you look at the bottom-left corner of the image, you will notice that the brand tells visitors how many people are currently viewing its products. This is a clever social proof example, which lets people know that others are also considering buying from the brand. It is a great exercise in boosting brand credibility.

8. Amazon

Source

Again, testimonials and customer reviews play a very important role when it comes to social proof, and Amazon is another company that demonstrates how to use it effectively in your marketing strategy. In Amazon’s review section, they give a breakdown of different product ratings so that visitors can go through them and gauge whether the product they plan to purchase is worth it. Amazon shoppers regularly use the customer reviews section to see if other shoppers are happy with the same product.

9. Freshly

Source

This is a clear example of friend referrals as social proof. In the example above, Freshly allows users to earn money by referring the brand to friends (talk about creating strong incentives!) Not only that, but it also allows users to share the offer with their friends through multiple modes, namely email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and WhatsApp. 

This social proof example also lets users offer their friends subscription credits for their first purchase. Therefore, by having an existing user refer the brand to their friend, Freshly leverages the power of social proof in all the right ways.

10. Netflix

Source: HubSpot 

Netflix makes use of user trends by suggesting the most-watched movie and TV options that are based on popularity. This is a popular social proof example that helps the brand keep its users’ binge-watching different shows instead of closing the app when they have finished a season or movie. 

It is a smart retention strategy that Netflix has used to keep the users hooked to the brand. You can check out plenty of social proof examples such as this in order to get inspired. Today, social proof tactics are being widely used, and a lot of brands have been demonstrating success through them.

Key Takeaways

  • Social proof is a phenomenon that is based on social influence. It’s a social and psychological phenomenon that’s also referred to as informational social influence. It’s an idea where people copy the actions of others in an attempt to emulate what they deem as appropriate behavior in different situations.
  • There are many social proof meanings, and just as many types. Some common types of social proof include customer testimonials, expert social proof, celebrity social proof, friend referrals, the wisdom of the crowd, and certification.
  • Having an industry expert take control of your social profiles can be an awesome way to take advantage of their influence and connect with their followers. The positive association followers have with the influencer can be a big advantage for your brand.
  • Similarly, you could also go ahead and invite experts for your social media events. These events could include Facebook Live or Twitter chats. Collaborating with experts will help you tap into their positive influence and also allow your audience to learn from them.
  • Another social proof example is star ratings and customer reviews alongside your products. They help visitors feel more confident about the product they plan to purchase.
  • There may be times when you receive mention from brands, influencers, or the press. This is a fanatic example of expert social proof. 
  • No doubt, showing a sense of urgency always helps drive purchasing decisions. When done right, it can also be used to encourage users to make a purchase when they may have left the website or changed their mind about purchasing a product.
  • Ambassadors provide the right mix of celebrity, user, and expert social proof. However, this would depend on the ambassadors you choose. These ambassadors could be influencers, experts, or simply passionate users who include branded hashtags in their posts.
  • User-generated content is a strategy that is widely used on Instagram, because it helps to grow a following. It is a great strategy if you want to generate social proof. You could use this form of social proof by encouraging your users to use a branded hashtag or repost social media posts.  
  • If your brand has a large following, make sure to mention it in your profile bio. It’s the perfect example of crowd social proof, because when people see that others are using your services or products, they are more likely to get a positive impression of your product as well. It’s a great way to draw in people by building trust in your brand.
  • Amazon, Netflix, Alo Yoga, Call Loop, Fitbit, Copyblogger, and Bailly are some of the greatest social proof examples today. 

Conclusion

We hope this blog could successfully answer the question, “What is social proof?” and that the above list of social proof examples will be useful for you. It’s important to understand the meaning of social proof before you incorporate it into your marketing strategies. 

Social proof comes in different forms. It is a powerful tool that encourages consumers to take action. You must choose the right kind of tactic to use for your brand because not all strategies will be perfect for every brand. The trick is to always try out different methods of social proof before you come up with the right one for the specific needs of your company.

FAQs

1. How do I get social proof?

Here are a few ways to get social proof. 
Use celebrity endorsements.
Proudly display your best numbers.
Display visual proof of products in action.
Give incentives to your customers for writing reviews.
Create surveys and share the results.
Share customer testimonials.
Get in touch with experts in your industry.

2. Why does social proof occur?

Social proof is a psychological concept that occurs because of people’s natural desire to fit in or behave in a correct manner.

3. How do I get social proof on Instagram?

Here are a few ways how to effectively collect social proof on Instagram:
Optimize your Instagram handle for social proof. 
Start a conversation with your followers. 
Share customer feedback. 
Publish media reviews. 
Appreciate brand mentions. 
Promote referral programs. 
Team up with brand ambassadors. 
Organize a giveaway.

4. How can I use social proof on my website?

One simple way of showing social proof on your website is by displaying the raw number of social shares. These counts are often used to show social proof on blog posts. However, you can always add social share counts to any page on your website. This includes product or landing pages.

5. What is social proof in marketing?

When it comes to marketing, social proof takes the form of existing customers, media coverage, reviews, and more. When people decide to shop, they always look for recommendations or reviews to see what others have to say about a service or product before making a decision.

6. What is an example of social proof?

Some examples of social proof are star ratings, celebrity endorsements, customer reviews, and information about live visitors, among many others. It also includes highlighting bestsellers.

The latest from Pepper Content, right in your inbox

From our latest podcasts and articles, to the detailed guides and extensive resources. Follow the evolution of content.

By subscribing, you agree to Peppercontent’s Term of Use  and Privacy Policy.