Social proof is an individual influencer or group clout that gives “proof” to a product. It is based on the principle that people tend to follow and conform to an influential person or a majority. They do this to be validated — a result of a need for safety.
People covet security and acceptance and will always naturally find themselves in a place where they are trusting the evidence of good things.
It works similar to the bandwagon effect.
People have a cognitive bias that makes them act a certain way when they see others doing the same. When influential people in a social circle have a particular ideology, people tend to adopt the thinking, and the more people assume it, the more substantial the clout of the doctrine becomes. In marketing, companies use this principle to bring people to patronize their products.
For example, when you see YouTubers endorsing a product on their videos, they are social proof that the product has value.
When you see a highly rated product on Amazon, the crowd behind the ratings left statistical social proof that the item is exceptional.
When you browse a conversion rate optimization (CRO) website and an expert that you respect has left a positive review, that is social proof that the service is useful.
Let’s examine 10 kinds of social proof strategies — and how and why they work.
This information can deepen your understanding of the foundations of why people follow people, and you can use these in your own marketing strategies.