Social proof is an ideal companion to increase your conversion rate. It consists in confirming the opinion of your prospects. Here, we help you better understand the definition of this concept with many merits. Customer testimonials, expert interventions, and case studies are good practices to follow. At the end of the article, we will detail 3 of the best examples of social proof to increase your customer base.
- What is social proof?
- 3 examples of effective social proof
Social proof is an important section of customer behavior. Here, users analyze the behaviors of their peers and determine an appropriate response to a consumer situation. Thus, social comparison becomes a criterion for confirming (or invalidating) an opinion. Social proof is then a purchase motivation in its own right. To do this, customers are interested in the purchasing habits of their entourage, public figures, or experts. (Cialdini et al., 1999)
In addition, social proof remains a good indicator of brand awareness. Indeed, companies use it in times of uncertainty to push their prospects to buy. For example, e-commerce platforms use social proof to reassure customers (Burtch et al., 2018; Roethke et al., 2020). This is why many of them apply the examples of social proof cited at the end of the article.
What are the 4 components of social proof?
This theory, popularized by Dr. Robert Cialdini in the 1980s, has four components. Naeem, 2021 explains the mechanics of successful social proof. We will come back to this in more detail in our section “Examples of social proof“:
|Elements of social proof||Explanations|
|Uncertainty||This first step starts the social proof mechanism. Indeed, a doubtful customer will ask his friends or family when uncertain about a consumption situation.|
|Similarity||Subsequently, the similarity of customers’ perceptions motivates prospects to move in the same direction. In this context, social networks have become a strategic place for brands. For a good reason, these networks bring together groups of influential and concerned customers. The challenge then becomes identifying opinion leaders among these gatherings and rallying them to your cause.|
|Expertise||The best examples of social proof often involve the intervention of external expertise. Who wouldn’t be reassured about the quality of an offer following the recommendation of an expert in the field? But that’s not all; customers trust the people around them. Thus, they consider that their expertise is indisputable and are led to imitate the consumption patterns of their relatives.|
|Numbers||Finally, what could be better than a mass of users united in their actions to confirm a consumption attitude? Indeed, the number is an important variable of social proof. Customers will look favorably at the fact that many people act similarly.|
To illustrate the different ideas mentioned in our definition of social proof, we have compiled a few examples of actions to be taken. Here are 3 examples of social proof, all recognized for their effectiveness:
- Customer testimonials
- Recommendations from celebrities and experts
- Case studies
First, testimonials from your customers are formidable weapons in social proof. They are the most used method to reassure customers! Indeed, they make your brand more transparent and closer to the target audience. Moreover, they attest to your offer’s quality and customer service. There are several variables to play with to perfect testimonials:
- Format: text, audio, or even video. Go for the format most likely to convert your prospects into customers!
- Testimonial location: make your testimonial stand out. Place it near a CTA (call-to-action), and don’t hesitate to publish it on your homepage to set the scene.
- Identity of witnesses: they must be identifiable. Propose as much information as possible: name, age, origin, professional occupation, date of consumption, and so on.
Social proof capitalizes on your customers to support your marketing campaigns.
Recommendations from experts and celebrities
Secondly, there are countless examples of social proof regarding recommendations from experts or celebrities. We owe this to these opinion leaders’ phenomenal power of influence. Experts make and break companies’ reputations, while celebrities propel brands’ awareness.
So, the idea is obvious: contract these dream profiles to promote your offer! However, ensure that your future ambassadors are connected to your brand. In other words, ensure that this person advocates the same values as you and your customers. To do this, you can identify the most loyal people among your customer base. By doing so, you refine your influencer marketing campaigns: we are now entering the field of account-based marketing.
For example, here is the case of TUMI, a manufacturer of high-end bags and suitcases. The brand’s communication is specialized in sports marketing. Indeed, it counts among its partners the soccer club Tottenham Hotspur or the Formula 1 driver Lando Norris. These associations with high-ranking personalities align with TUMI’s high-end brand image. So, it’s a good use of social proof. The video below is a communication campaign accompanying the launch of a new range of products from the brand, with Lando Norris as a guest.
Now, let’s look at case studies. In the context of social proof, they guarantee your professionalism and attest to your sectoral expertise. Thus, it is the ideal ally for your B2B marketing campaigns. To do so, explain how you solved customer problems with creative and effective solutions. Also, maintain good contact with your customers, even after an assignment. Thanks to this, you will be able to get the said testimonial.
Finally, highlight this feedback and customer cases on the different pages of your web domain. This is what we do in our website’s “Methods” section. Doing so can influence prospects and get them to contact you to request your services. For example, the link below shows some examples of social proof through our customer cases.
- Gordon Burtch, Yili Hong, Ravi Bapna, Vladas Griskevicius (2017) Stimulating Online Reviews by Combining Financial Incentives and Social Norms. Management Science 64(5):2065-2082.
- Cialdini, R.B. (1984), The Psychology of Persuasion, Quill William Morrow, New York, NY
- Cialdini, R. B., Wosinska, W., Barrett, D. W., Butner, J., & Gornik-Durose, M. (1999). Compliance with a Request in Two Cultures: The Differential Influence of Social Proof and Commitment/Consistency on Collectivists and Individualists. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(10), 1242–1253.
- Naeem, M. (2021), “The role of social media to generate social proof as engaged society for stockpiling behaviour of customers during Covid-19 pandemic”, Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 281-301.