Updated: Feb 23
This psychological and social phenomenon is one of the most powerful tools used by marketers, but are they all using this powerful tool to extract its full potential?
Well, here are some tips on how to correctly use this mental trigger that uses the positive experiences of your customers to generate new leads. I often say that when you say how good you are, some people may trust your word, but when other people offer that same sentiment, many people will believe you.
Bandwagon Effect – The Psychology Behind Social Proof
Social proof is the content generated by customers regarding your brand, service, or product on the internet. Whenever your brand receives a great review, the chances of your customers recognizing you as an authority in what you do certainly increases. It is essentially, world-famous word-of-mouth. The more discussions being had around your business, the more you tend to stand out and sell.
This technique works well in marketing and is derived from the Bandwagon Effect, a psychological phenomenon that explains why people generally tend to do something primarily because other people are doing it. Studies have shown that the bandwagon effect influences people’s willingness to not opt for a specific item but also to pay more for it.
In a consumer shopping journey, one of the most frequent touch-points is the various survey results with parents and friends to learn more about previous experiences with a product.
Online customers, for example, no longer go directly to a website and make a purchase. Instead, they research cost, compare features, and check for social proof, such as reviews and evaluations. To put it simply, people are more likely to buy what you’re selling based merely on the opinion of others as opposed to any sizable offer you make.
1. Case Studies
Case studies are an effective way to explore social proof since you have a chance to outline in detail what the difficulties were and how they were solved while showcasing positive results. Many other companies will identify with these stories and put themselves in the same situation.
2. User-Generated Content (UGC)
A study released by CoSchedule explains, “69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world”. The UGC, content created by people who interact with a brand or product, can be used in short-term campaigns and long-term marketing strategies. However, in both cases, it is necessary to follow some basic principles:
You must encourage your audience to create content with your brand or product, helping them to do so spontaneously. One of the most commonly used strategies involves getting customers to take pictures of your products and share the record on social media using a predefined hashtag of the brand. Brand hashtags are an effective way to encourage, gather, and automate user-generated content, especially on Instagram and Twitter.
Create a plan to monitor and select the content that offers the most praise for your brand or product. This way, you will be stimulating quality content to explore in your marketing plan.
Develop a partnership with influencers as this type of action can directly impact sales and engagement.
3. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
FOMO is a trending term used in eCommerce to reference limited stock, how many people have purchased the product, or the limited time remaining for an offer. This method can instill a sense of fear that a consumer is missing out on a product or service that is advantageous. This happens when a consumer concludes there is something vital in the market that they are about to lose if they don’t take immediate action.
4. Refer-A-Friend Campaigns
The trust embedded in a recommendation of the people closest to us is invaluable. Hence, the use of benefiting users who recommend products and services to others is a widespread technique in relationship marketing and, mainly, one that generates excellent results.
It is evident that consumers generally trust their friends and relatives more than expert recommendations and paid advertisements. Create incentive campaigns for your customers to receive some kind of benefit when they invite friends or family members. This exists as yet another form of social proof.
According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report, 92% of people trust recommendations and 70% of people tend to believe in references from people they don’t even know.
Testimonials are product and service reviews and customer experience reviews. This final method is certainly one of the best ways to build credibility and show potential customers that you are professional, reliable, and an expert in the field. That being said, be careful not to promote vague testimonials without personalization as this can compromise the progress made.
One of the most common mistakes in using this technique is not to relate the customer explanation to the benefit. A good testimonial endorses positive insight outlined on the company website. In other words, if you claim a product or service can do something, the testimonials must confirm this promise with real facts and figures.
Brand and Mortar offers a vast collection of digital marketing and communication services that can help to increase online presence through content marketing and public relations, brand marketing, and social media marketing.
It is essential that social proof is at the forefront of your marketing strategy and a focused effort in daily communication management and customer service. Speak with an expert today to evaluate, retrieve, and maximize the social proof potential for your business.
Andre Havro, MBA