Social Proof in Marketing

by Commentary

Have you caught the Pokémon Go fever yet?

If so, you’re not alone.  Since its July 6th launch, over 15 million daily users have downloaded the app on their smartphones.  And just to put that in perspective, that’s more daily users than Spotify or Pandora. Even more incredible, the game is attracting a diverse group of first-time players that are new to the Pokémon universe.

So what’s driving the interest in a kid’s game based on a decades-old media franchise? The answer is social proof.

What Is Social Proof, Anyway?

Social Proof refers to the psychological phenomenon when one’s perception of correct social behavior is heavily influenced by the actions of others.  Although the concept may seem complex, it is actual a common human reaction to things we see in our everyday lives. For example, when you look to try a new restaurant based on the hundreds of rave reviews. Or, in the case of Pokémon Go, the desire to download an app that you normally wouldn’t after seeing dozens of your friends and family play it.

Social proof works because it’s based on our need to belong. So when you are going to see the latest box office blockbuster – you’re actually doing more than taking in a movie. You’re actually joining a group that have shared the same experience.

Social Proof and Branding

If used correctly, social proof can be an excellent way to grow your personal or professional brand on social medias. For best results, it must be leveraged by a trusted Social Proofinfluencer who has built (either formally or informally) a community in which others would like to be a part of.

It’s important to note that the influencer doesn’t always have to be a celebrity with millions of followers on Twitter. Instead, the person must have a loyal following that would be open to suggestions regarding things that are of importance to them.

Building that type of loyalty takes steady engagement with their audience. This means not just sharing content that is relevant to the brand but also involving the community in conversations across the social networking platforms. Thereby, reinforcing their credibility among their fans.

Content and the Power of Social Proof

The type of content shared can be just as powerful as the influencer sharing them. When creating materials to share with your audience, there are basically five categories of social proof content that works best.

  • Expert opinions (i.e., sharing reviews of a new tech product from CNET)
  • Celebrity endorsements (showing pictures of stars using your product or service)
  • User testimonials and reviews {such as a vlog or a blog post offering raves)
  • Peer based content (Sharing through tweets feedback from family and friends)
  • Crowd based content (livestreaming waiting in line for the newest Jordans or iPhone)

[Tweet “The type of content shared can be just as powerful as the influencer sharing them via @bryankramer”]

For each type of content, it’s important to incorporate a call to action. Not only will it allow you to accurately measure how effective your content marketing is. But it can also provide a way to change your approach based on feedback from your audience.

The call to action can be something as simple as sharing a discount code to try the product. However, like with any form of marketing-you must have a solid way to track the campaign from beginning to end.

If you are successful with your social proof marketing efforts, you will be able to capture the loyalty and respect of your target audience. People, who in turn, will be able to influence others.

Sort of like catching a Pokémon Pikachu.

Key Takeaways

Social proof is the psychological phenomenon that is built on creating desired behavior best on the perceived actions of others. If done well, it’s an excellent way to leverage a consumer’s need of belonging in order to grow your brand. In order for it to be effective, you should have a community built around a trusted influencer who regularly engages with their audience.