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Social Proof: Putting the Sixth Principle of Persuasion to Work

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Social Proof: I’ll Have What She’s Having

There are plenty of techniques you can try to boost your business, and social proof is by far one of the best. One of the famous six principles of Dr. Robert Cialdini, social proof is a powerful tool that can really boost sales and help you attract new customers.

Read on to learn more about what it is, how it works, and how you can utilize it in your business.

What Is Social Proof?

Also commonly referred to as social influence, social proof relates to people trusting the opinions and experiences of others. They follow what others are saying and doing, especially when faced with the unknown.

This term was created by Robert Cialdini, as mentioned above. He states that we view a behavior as correct if we see other people doing it. Many studies have been carried out to support the powerful effect social proof can have in terms of business. So, how exactly does social proof work in business terms?

There are six types of social proof:

  • Celebrity – when your products or services are endorsed by a major or minor celebrity.
  • Certification – when an authoritative figure in your industry gives you an official stamp of approval.
  • Expert – when your products or services are recommended by an expert in your industry or your brand is associated with an expert.
  • The wisdom of the crowd – when your products or services are publically endorsed by a large group of people (profession, industry, etc.).
  • The wisdom of your friends – when your products or services are approved by the friends of potential customers.
  • User – when your products or services are recommended by people currently using them based on their personal experiences with your brand.

How Does It Work?

There are a lot of great examples of how social proof works in business. The most common way is through consumer reviews.

When consumers are searching for a product or service, they are more likely to look for reviews before making a purchase. They look to see what experiences others have had when buying from the company they are looking at. They trust these reviews and ultimately base their own shopping decisions on them.

You’ll also see social proof at work in physical stores and restaurants. If you walk past a restaurant and it’s packed with diners, you’ll automatically think it must be a great place to eat. This increases the chances you’ll want to try it out yourself.

These are just a couple of examples of how social proof works in business. If others are raving about your company, you’re going to find that a lot more new customers are attracted to you.

How Can You Utilize Social Proof in Business?

Knowing the benefits social proof can deliver to your business, the question is how you can use it to your advantage.

Firstly, you’ll want to focus on any positive reviews you’ve received. Take the most positive reviews and highlight them anywhere you can. That means adding them to your website’s home page, your social media channels, and in your email responses. This will show consumers that you can be trusted and that other people recommend you.

You can also use blogging as a way to generate more social proof. It sets you up as an authority figure in the industry while also helping you to attract a large following. The more people who follow your blog, the more trusted you’ll be. Be sure to add social share buttons to your content to enhance its effectiveness as well.

There are many elements that are important in business, and social proof is just one of them. The more people who like and follow your business online, the more customers you will ultimately attract. Here are some other ways you can utilize social proof in your business:

  • Get verified on all of your social media accounts
  • Be responsive to messages on social
  • Share user or follower milestones on social
  • Show appreciation for customer, influencer, brand, and press mentions
  • Mention the large size of your customer base in your bio
  • Curate user-generated content
  • Display social share count on website content
  • Display testimonials on your website
  • Use shout-outs within your content
  • Enable Facebook Page ratings and reviews and encourage customers to leave a good rating
  • Target the friends of your Facebook Page fans with Facebook ads
  • Use social proof in your ad copy
  • Explore having social media brand ambassadors
  • Experiment with (micro) influencer marketing
  • Invite industry experts to take over your social media or collaborate on a social media event

Wrap Up

Applying this principle involves making small, practical, often costless changes that can lead to significant differences in your ability to influence and persuade others in an entirely ethical way. Used properly, you’ll enjoy a boost in your conversions.

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