What is Social Proof?
Social Proof is a phenomenon where customers take over the (buying) actions of other people. From a psychological point of view, the customer perceives the (social) “proof” that if other people decide to buy certain products or services, this decision must also be good for himself.
- Role models can be the masses or even individuals
- lowers the barriers, especially when shopping on the Internet
- Conveys credibility, competence and trust
Social Proof influences purchase decisions enormously
In social proofing, the famous follow-through effect is at work, because imitators assume that the actions of the broad masses or individuals reflect appropriate behaviour. This makes Social Proof also an important basis of online marketing. The role model effect can come from experts, celebrities, authorities, groups of friends or a very large group of buyers. The behaviour – hence the term – that other buyers display is considered socially proven. The customer trusts these people in their purchasing decisions. In the case of a social proof, no matter what form it takes, it is objectively not certain whether the imitated action is advantageous or disadvantageous for the consumer. In marketing and especially in online marketing, the principle of the social proof is of great importance. For example, potential customers like to inform themselves about the ratings of products on major sales portals. They also often let themselves be convinced by so-called influencers and other authorities of services or products. On social media platforms, for example, the number of likes etc. influences the perception of the customers. Especially on the Internet, the upcoming purchase decision is therefore mainly made via external orientation. Companies are constantly present via social media and customer feedback is easier to see than ever before. For marketers there are many more ways to make the phenomenon of social proof work for the user. Highly visible test results or numbers of subscribers, followers and shares can lead potential customers to make a purchase decision. But also positively rated websites, which appear during the search, lead to clicks and purchases
Social Proof helps increase conversion rate
In principle, all (positive) statements about ones own company or product are testimonies of the social proof. It is a statement of support that testifies that a certain service or product is good and that previous buyers have been very satisfied with it. The mere existence of elements of the Social Proof makes companies more trustworthy, because the feedback comes from the consumers and not from the company itself. Field reports or testimonials are a particularly good form of social proof and help to increase the conversion rate. Especially when shopping online, the social proof increases the trust of other customers. When shopping in online shops, you feel much more comfortable if you know that other buyers have bought before you and have had positive experiences. This is why it is so important for companies to integrate social proofing into their marketing presence. This can be done in a variety of ways, including customer reviews, social proof in social media, confidence-inspiring icons on websites, case studies, endorsements by opinion leaders / celebrities or earned media. As a rule, the more people found the product good, the better. This can be shown on the website e.g. by information on downloads, number of units sold so far, number of hits, by observers and star ratings. In principle, social proofing measures enable companies to use the voice of the consumer for new customer acquisition – existing customers become brand ambassadors.