Social Proof: A Psychological Approach to Digital Marketing

Imagine that you’re shopping for a new refrigerator. You’ve successfully narrowed down a couple of options that you really like within your budget. How do you decide? You then turn to product reviews in hopes of finding information that will help you decide. The first fridge has nearly 200 reviews with mostly 4.9-star ratings, and the second fridge has 700 reviews with an average 3-star rating. Naturally, you’ll be drawn to the refrigerator with the higher star rating. Why is that? This process is called social proof.

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is a phenomenon that’s been around for a long time, but this trending buzzword is making a comeback in the digital marketing arena. Coined back in 1984 by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence, the notion of information social influence is the idea that people copy the action of others in an attempt to emulate their behavior in certain situations.

Think about social situations. When people are placed in a new and uncharted social setting, they take cues from others around them to fit in and be accepted. This same idea can be applied to digital marketing as consumers make their way through the sales funnel. Consumers look for reviews and confirmation from others that have used the product or service.

This is why businesses work tirelessly to generate products or service reviews. They see the value it adds to the consumer shopping process, and it’s often the deciding factor between your business and your competition.

The Importance of Social Proof

Incorporating social proof into your digital marketing strategy can amplify your efforts substantially. For instance, take a look at the following stats.

  • 57% of customers visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews.
  • Consumers will spend 31% more on businesses with “excellent” reviews.
  • 63% of consumers indicate that they are more likely to purchase from a site with product ratings and reviews.
  • 82% of Americans ask for referrals and recommendations from family and friends before making any kind of purchase.

As you can see, social proof can help businesses achieve more sales.

Integrating Social Proof Into Digital Marketing

Now that you know what social proof is and the important role it plays in your digital marketing strategy let’s talk about how to integrate it. Below are some options to help you get started.

1. Testimonials and Reviews

The obvious first step is to utilize your online reviews. If you don’t have any, ask for them through your current client network or promote that you’d like to be reviewed with a social media post linking to a review site such as Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Once you have reviews, make sure to post them on all our social media outlets.

2. Case Studies

Have you excelled in a particular area with a past or existing customer? Write up a case study to showcase how your skills or products made life or business better for your current or past customers. Share your case study on your website and blog, and tease it on social media.

3. Awards
Has your business been ranked or won awards for the best in your industry? Don’t be afraid to show it off! Often, you’ll receive a badge or graphic to display on your website and share on social media. It’s a great way to earn credibility and trust from potential clients.

4. User Generated Content
User-generated content is content created from a past or existing customer. It’s an excellent way to show your audience that your customers are happy and have good things to say about your business. This strategy can work on any platform but is most common on Instagram. Create a custom hashtag, add it to your bio, and encourage the customer to use it and share their experiences online.

5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a similar idea to user-generated content, except the influencer is paid for promoting your products or services on their platform. People trust the influencers they follow, and influencers often have a pretty heft following. This type of marketing exposes your brand to a broader audience.

6. Showcase Your Customer Base
Have you worked or partnered with some pretty prestigious names in the industry? Don’t be afraid to mention this on your website. Even if you haven’t worked with well-known brands, simply showcasing the number of customers you’ve worked with can help build trust.

7. Customer Mentions
Do your customers often rave about how wonderful it is to work with you online? Users see this as valid and genuine feedback. Unsolicited, organic reviews like this does wonders for people looking to do business with you, and it taps into a broader network of people outside of your own. Customer mentions are also a part of social listening. Social listening is a powerful tool to give businesses valuable insights into what their customers are saying about them.

If you enjoyed this article, please follow me on FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn. If you’d like to inquire about my services or work with me, please contact me using this form, and I’ll get back to you momentarily. I look forward to helping you Teal Your Story!

Anna Teal


Anna Teal

Anna is an author and writer who is passionate about the art of storytelling. She enjoys connecting with small businesses in her community while taking their marketing efforts to the next level of growth.

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