The other day I was walking downtown with my friend when we walked past a street performer. He was just a regular guy, nothing fancy, but he was definitely good at singing and he was engaged in my performance.
My friend remarked that “I can never walk past street performers without cringing.”
Now imagine, if this was Ed Sheeran, up on a big stage in the exact same stage. Would she find it awkward then? No she wouldn’t. Even if it was Ed Sheeran with no stage, just playing guitar and singing on the street. Would it be cringe worthy?
No, because people would care. It doesn’t matter if you like him or not, but the other people surrounding the performance and knowing his name would make you feel at ease with it all. This is social proof.
It is a simple psychological concept yet it has such a major impact on any decision we make. Especially when it comes to consumer behaviour.
In fact positive social proof makes more of an impact on whether or not we do something, than saving money does.
In a study published by the Washington Post researchers tried 4 different persuasions to make people turn on their fan instead of the air conditioning.
- Sign #1: Informed the customer that they could be saving $54/month on their utility bill.
- Sign #2: Told customers that they could prevent the release of 262 pounds of greenhouse gasses every month.
- Sign #3: Encouraged customers that saving energy was a socially responsible thing to do.
- Sign #4: Let customers know that 77 percent of their neighbors were already actively using fans to save energy.
Which one made the most impact? Sign 4,yet again proving the power of group influence.
Following what other people around us do is a part of human nature, and something that is hard to fight, even if you’re aware of it. Which is why product reviews tend to be the deciding factor of whether or not we buy a product.
If used correctly this can be a powerful marketing tool. So without further ado, here are 3 different ways to use social proof to sell your product.
Number 1: Power of the masses
What a large group of people decide to do has a powerful effect on the individual. It can normalize behaviour, and more importantly make people feel like they’re “missing out” if they’re not doing it too.
This type of social proof is where a lot of anti drug use campaigns misses out. By pointing out a negative habit that a large amount of people do. Campaigners hope that this will deter people from doing bad stuff, but instead what it often ends up doing is just prove that you’re a loser for not doing it. 75% of kids my age smokes marijuana? Fuck, how come I don’t?
Number 2: An expert opinion
Today anyone can be an expert. Just write in your blog bio that you are a fitness expert, and it seems nobody will really challenge you on it. For better or for worse people love to hear the opinion of someone they deem an expert in their field.
A great way to execute this is reaching out to experts in the niche you’re selling and inform them about your product. Let them “take over” your snap chat for a day or post an interview with them.
This not only will make their trusted followers be aware of your brand, but it also reinforces your legitimacy of your product as well.
Number 3: Reviews
Make sure sure sure that whatever product you sell has reviews publicly available. If you don’t you’ll lose a lot of trust and potential customers. If you do you might sell.
Now this is rather easy to do. Make sure to encourage customers to leave a review whenever they have bought something. Or before you have any customers give out your product for free in exchange for a review.