What is Social Proof?
Social Proof is a phenomenon related to the tendency of people to trust the actions of other people when they don’t know what to do themselves. It is a type of social influence that plays a crucial role in decision making and hence brands have been using it for their marketing.
Businesses use different types of social proof such as reviews, total users, clientele, etc.to attract more customers. A social proof influences decision making of a user, especially when they are not certain about the situation they are in.
For example, 95% of people read online reviews before they decide what product to buy. Here reviews are the social proof that the buyer seeks before making a purchase.
Another example of social proof is when brands display the total number of people using the service. This builds trust in the eyes of customers as it assures that it is not a new company and knows what it is doing.
Brands use different social proof tools to manage and display social proofs to influence buyer decisions.
Why Social Proof Matters?
Following are some of the major benefits of social proof that a brand can leverage for growth.
Social proof helps a brand build trust among the potential customers. When a user sees others having a positive experience with a business, they tend to believe more in its quality. People checking reviews about a product is an example of this only.
Persuasion and Influence
Time after time social proof has proven to be a powerful tool for influencing user decisions.
Whether it is selecting a restaurant or choosing a place to stay, people are always influenced by decisions of a large crowd or someone they know.
Social proof validates an individual’s choices when people see that there are other people making similar decisions to them. Reaffirming a customer’s decision leads to retention and eventually results in gaining loyalty.
Individuals often perceive that they are avoiding potential risks of buying a product they have never used before by following others’ choices. Knowing that others have also used the product and are satisfied with the same, makes the user feel safer while making the purchase.
In online retail, Social proof such as product ratings, reviews, client testimonials, etc can considerably enhance conversion rates. A product is more likely to be purchased if it has more positive reviews.
When a potential buyer sees multiple positive social proof for a brand, it creates a good online reputation in their mind. More positive social proof implies that the brand consistently delivers high quality product/ service.
Making decisions based on decisions already made by others saves a lot of time for buyers. Instead of researching extensively about the product or service, customers can simply look for social proof, making it easier for them to decide.