The Psychology Behind Social Proof and How Creators Can Use It
Imagine you have arrived in the South of France at a beautiful vineyard. Lush vines laden with grapes and a beautiful historic castle lie in wait for you.
You enter the castle and see the vineyard owners. They come over and hug you, along with a French peck on your cheek. At first, you are obviously taken aback, as you aren’t used to this, but you immediately give in and replicate the same behavior.
This is an example of social proof.
What is social proof?
Social proof is when people copy or adapt the behavior of the people around them in unfamiliar situations or in situations where they do not know how to behave.
It happens every day of our lives, in the content we consume, the content we create, how we behave in a new restaurant. It’s everywhere, which is why it is also the most widely used marketing technique.
Have you seen those ads with celebrities endorsing a product, saying it’s the best?
It’s a typical example of social proof. When celebrities endorse something, we tend to buy the product, as we have the desire to look or behave like the celebrities in the advertisements.
How can creators use social proof to grow?
Social proof is how influencer marketing began and everyday creators arose. So, it should not come as a surprise that creators can leverage social proof to level up their content game and ultimately grow multifold on social media.
“Before people bought even something as simple as a hair tie, they wanted social proof of it. They needed to hear the experiences of people who used it.”
Different types of social proof
When an expert from a particular industry endorses a product or service, it creates social proof for the brand. A popular example is a Sensodyne advertisement. In influencer marketing, “expert social proof” is when an authority on the subject replies to your tweet or takes part in your Instagram live.
Celebrity social proof is when a product or service is endorsed by a celebrity. For instance, Shahrukh Khan in the new Thums Up ad.
Wisdom of the crowd
Imagine when you come across a new brand. You aren’t sure if the brand is a good one with quality products, so you head over to their Instagram page or Twitter handle and see that they have millions of followers. Now, there is a sense of trust that you have developed for the brand, right? This is exactly what the wisdom of the crowd is. When your purchase decision is driven based on the popularity of a particular brand amongst the masses.
We now come to the part of social proof that gives creators their power.
Wisdom of friends
This type of social proof is similar to the wisdom of the crowd. It is when your purchase decisions are driven by your friends’ recommendations and suggestions.
Most people like to buy a product or service when they see other people happy with it. It’s called user social proof. So, when creators advocate for a brand they love and use, they offer users social proof. Think product or restaurant reviews you post on social media.
Now, let’s dive into how you can use social proofing to your advantage.
Invite experts to take over your social media
This is a great way to capture your audience’s attention and prove to them that the content you put out is verified, which helps build your audience’s trust in you. For example, if you are a fitness influencer, you can invite a nutrition expert to your social media and have them interact with your audience. This also builds a positive association between you and your audience.
Milestones are a great way to measure success and an even better way to prove it to your audience. It’s the wisdom of the crowd type of social proof. For example, posting when you reach a certain number of followers, like 50k or 100k, shows your audience that you are growing and more and more people love your content every day.
Acknowledge shout-outs and mentions
As a content creator, people often repost your content, tag you in their stories/reels/posts, give you a shout-out. It is a great practice to acknowledge this appreciation through comments, mentions, etc. because they offer social proof to your audience.
Getting verified might be a tough job to get done. But, once your profile is verified, it offers social proof to new users that you are legit. And that increases engagement significantly.
That’s it, folks!
Now go use the psychology behind social proof to grow your engagement and followers organically while you Do Your Thng!