What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Most humans look to each other on the assumption that someone nearby will know. This is called social proof, or informational social influence, or the intelligence of the herd.
Social proofing is nothing new. It is based on a human desire to behave in an approved manner. When in doubt, ask the crowd what they are thinking. Of course, you can’t always just ask. And, because you have to suss it out from clues, you have to choose someone you trust.
A Social Influencer
That’s where it gets fun for a world-class marketer. You have so many tools to implement your social media strategy. But, even if you optimize your SEO, you won’t be optimizing your message unless you prioritize social proofing, where people’s behaviors are influenced by other people’s actions.
We are social beings, belonging to a group guides us in everything we do. We connect at church, work, school, through activities. Just about anywhere. Therefore, it is no surprise that, when we see people talking about a product or service, we become motivated to take an interest ourselves. Just like joining a club or a team, we gain a sense of connection with others by looking at what they are looking at and buying what they are buying.
With messages to buy, buy, buy fired at us relentlessly, consumers have become cynical about their choices. They become less trusting of the messages they receive, wanting something to lean on, to trust. Social proof in the form of customer reviews and testimonials gives a transparency we yearn for. If we believe we are getting an honest, authentic opinion, we are much more likely to purchase.
Attracted By The Familiar and FOMO
We also seem to be strangely drawn to the familiar, including such arbitrary data as the letters in our own name and numbers in our own birth date. Because of this, we are more likely to take action when we see someone who looks like us endorsing a product or service. In this way, it is good to know who your target market is and to find ways to find familiar endorsers for them.
Another factor seems to be FOMO. No one really wants to miss out on all the fun someone else they trust is having. The more reviews we see about a product or service, the more desire we have to purchase that product or service. Finding ways to increase the number of reviews you are getting, perhaps by adding online reviews to your website, is an effective way to up your sales.
By leveraging social proof you can tap into our innate desire to belong, become a world-class marketer, and bring the value of your goods and services to more customers.