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Social Proof: A Psychological Phenomena For Your Use

Published on 26 October 2018 | Author Lisa Marie Lindemann

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Everyone knows the situation: You can choose between two restaurants, one full of people, the other one is empty. Consensus is, you would rather enter the full one because the lot of people suggest that you play it safe. The food must be good or at least fine. This shows how we let strangers influence our decisions. We follow their lead and take on their opinion. This phenomena is called „Social Proof“. One aspect of Social Proof is the so called „herd effect“, where we follow a mass of people. But there are many other aspects of Social Proof. Individuals can also affect our decision making, especially if we think of them as important, highly qualified,or if they are personally related to us.

Using Social Proof For Your Marketing Strategy

There are many ways to use the advantages provided by Social Proof and integrate them into your marketing. To make proper use of them, we give you a quick overview of the different ways of Social Proof:

  • The “herd effect” can have great influence on the purchasing decision. If a product or service gets a good rating by many buyers, for example with the amazon star-rating-system or your in-house system, this shows to your customer that it has to be a high quality product or service. All the others were pleased, so why shouldn’t he be. Many good ratings can increase the conversion rate significantly.
  • A famous personality can also create the effect you wish to achieve. If a TV-personality or a person who is considered important by the general public buys your product and uses it publicly or even recommends it, others will follow. Those people are often considered to have enough money to buy any product of a kind, no matter the cost. If they decide on yours, this has to be a certificate of quality. Their status as role model takes over and gives your product promise a high amount of credibility. Furthermore, you can try to win this person as brand-ambassador to profit from that effect continuously. So called Influencers are the top trend here, because they reach a certain target group but within that group an enormous wide audience.
  • Another effective aspect of Social Proof is the comparison of people who are alike. It is only human to look to others that are similar to us for orientation. On the basis of his purchase behaviour, a consumer gets personalised recommendations for matching products. If you add reviews by people from the same target group or personas who give good credit, this can motivate your customer additionally.
  • Ratings and reviews by acquaintances, friends, or relatives can have a comparable but even stronger effect. If someone well known to me or even my sister, mother or uncle recommends a product or a brand, this has great influence on my purchasing decisions. None of them would advise me to buy something that they aren’t convinced of, after all. Our social surroundings affect us strongly with their purchasing habits and recommendations.
  • Lastly the customer himself can be of use for giving social proof. If he approves of your product or service, for example by hitting a like-button, or simply buying it, he is potentially willing to recommend it to his social circle. With the use of SWYN Buttons you can make recommending easier for him.
Social Proof Customer Journey

Social Proof Customer Journey, Source: https://influitive.com/blog/new-report-improve-the-b2b-buying-process-with-social-proof-marketing/

Adding More Credibility To Mailing Campaigns With Social Proof

You can profit from Social Proof especially with your e-mail marketing. It can be a huge advantage as it is not very common use in this domain yet. You gain the consumers attention, because it is not just another mail ad with the same structure. With marketing-automation software you can send automated mails which are attached to different triggers. If a customer visits a product page, this can already be a trigger for sending him an e-mail about this product at some programmed point in the future. Placing a product on a wish list or a in shopping cart but not buying it can be another trigger for an e-mail reminder. The received e-mail explains all the benefits and qualities of the product to him once again. For that you can use the Social Proof effects like this:

  • Enrich your rating system with a displayed positive review or a positive tweet from your twitter account in the e-mail. This works also entirely dynamic and in real time so that at the time the e-mail is opened, the user will automatically see the latest reviews or tweets.
  • Display your brand-ambassador, the influencer you work with, or any famous personality that uses and advertises your product. A little visual stimulation can be helpful and convincing. Next to the person you should place a quotation by them about your product or brand.
  • You can also integrate Facebook likes. If friends, family, or colleagues of the consumer like your product you can show that (given the right opt-in). This way you use the Social Proof effect of social circles.
  • Another effective trigger for mail ads are satisfaction surveys after a purchase, for example one month after the purchase date. In this e-mail you ask your customer how content he is with your service and product and if everything was satisfatiory. If that’s the case, he triggers an e-mail with a follow-up product recommendation (he already likes you and your goods and is therefore more likely to buy from you again). You can also embed the request to rate, like, or recommend you on social media pages.

Optimising the Landing page

The landing page behind the mailing campaign can also benefit from Social Proof. It makes great sense to integrate some of the mentioned sources here because this is where your visitors seek information and more details about the product. Nevertheless, the success of your e-mail campaign is essential. The campaign is where you catch attention, and convince to customer to visit the landing page. The more Social Proof, the better. Potential customers will think: „Actually I only wanted to look at this product briefly but since it has great ratings and others recommend it so strongly, maybe I should buy it now.“ Or at least their sub consciousness will think so.

RTL Interactive case-study download

See how RTL Interactive realised a result uplift of 575 percent in a launch campaign for a new service. They used partly automated, multivariate tests and included social proof.
Please click the document cover and fill out the document to receive the download.


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artegic AG provides strategic consulting, technology and business services for online CRM and dialogue marketing via email, RSS, mobile and social media. artegic's online CRM technology ELAINE FIVE, which is used for the sending of over 2.7 billion messages monthly enables marketing automation based on self-sharpening analytical profiles. artegic's customers include, e.g. Rewe and PAYBACK.

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