Social Proof Is Real, Robust and Reliable

For anyone who still has reservations about the effectiveness of social media marketing, blogging, video, content marketing, mobile, texting and online marketing, there is tangible, measurable “social proof” now.  Social Proof  is credibility and a measurable source of success results and metrics.  Why are you still questioning it?

proof

Don’t. Accept it, get with it and be a part of it.

What exactly is social proof? Wikipedia defines it as a:

“. . .psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”

What that all boils down to is basically a herd mentality. More credence is given to an idea if it is stated by multiple sources.

Aileen Lee on Techcrunch gives this example:

“Consider the social proof of a line of people standing behind a velvet rope, waiting to get into a club.  The line makes most people walking by want to find out what’s worth the wait.  The digital equivalent of the velvet rope helped build viral growth for initially invite-only launches like Gmail, Gilt Groupe, Spotify, and Turntable.fm.”

Here are some persuasive statistics, as pointed out on the HubSpot Blog:

  • 70% of Americans now say they look at product reviews before making a purchase (Google)
  • 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews (CompUSA and iPerceptions study)

Squeezed Books calls social proof an “extremely powerful tool.” It goes on to say that social proof is often a good thing because it essentially puts our brain on ‘autopilot’ and keeps us from getting bogged down by the small stuff. And the majority of us are smart enough to know when the message being broadcast has no real basis behind it. When the message is meaningless, we are able to tune it out.

Here are three examples of social proof in action:

  1. Tony Horton’s P90X and Alberto “Beto” Perez’s Zumba – Chances are you’ve seen these infomercials promoted on TV, or you know someone who’s participated in one of these fitness fads. The infomercial spreads the Word of mouth fast and it’s taken these programs and their sales to new heights.
  2. Mashable and Huffington Post:  These blog hubs cover everything from business, politics and lifestyle to social media, family and jobs and their articles get some of the most comments, re-posts and engagement of any online blog sites.
  3. Social Media speaker and author Mari Smith Facebook’s page has over 69,000 likes and engages it’s raging fans regularly.

Let’s not forget the social proof  of video as demonstrated on Youtube. Here are the Top Youtube Videos of 2012, so far. They are fun, viral, silly, important and compelling.

Social proof is tangible and measurable. Wherever and however people commune, hang out, commiserate and socialize online, there is absolute proof that it works to spread ideas, information and brings people together who purchase .

Are you integrating your marketing and networking  in person, online, in the cloud and on the web? Social proof is real, robust and reliable. It will change the outcome and impact of your business, brand and success.

Nike said it best:

“Just do it.”

I’d add, just do it, but please – do it right!

Proof Photo via Shutterstock

17 Comments ▼

Deborah Shane


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane is a staff writer for Small Business Trends covering marketing, branding and social media topics. She is a Top 100 Small Business Champion, career transition consultant, personal branding strategist and social media specialist. Deborah hosts her Top 100 Small Business Podcast weekly. Her book #trusthewhy Fundamentals, Values and Humor Get You Through Anything and award winning "Career Transition: Make the Shift" (2011) are available through all major book sellers.

17 Reactions

  1. Great article, Deborah. It reminded me of something I’ve read yesterday. C&A (a fashion retailer) is doing something very interesting (on a related note) in Brazil — displaying Facebook “likes” (in real time) on clothes racks. More at http://t.co/FWHjkybC

    Like it or not (pun fully intended), this is a beautiful example of brick-and-mortar retail stores leveraging online social proof.

  2. Geno, thanks for your comment. Social proof is all over from a text from a biz that is one mile up the road while you are driving to “likes” on clothes racks! Awesome. Retail, real estate, restaurants are starting to use virtual tours too.

  3. “Just do it” is right, Deborah! And great seeing you at the Business XPO, girlfriend!!!

  4. I’ve encountered a post saying that only a minority of CIO’s are into social media.. and who can blame them, really? I wonder if credibility is measured by the number of reach or the variable of influence? Is it enough to say you’re credible enough if you’ve got more than a thousand followers on Twitter? Then, there are vanity metrics that tell you your influence score.. and some are contesting about it, that these can be gamed as well. I think that the best proof of them all is to simply do what you promise to do, no matter how big or small your business is. Thanks for sharing the stats!

  5. Spot on. Social proof online is fantastic because it has such staying power. No longer do you need to maintain a line of customers to imply how good you are because online reviews are there 24/7 to do it for you.

  6. Could not agree more. I am such a lemming that when scanning apps in the app store I rarely even stop to read the title of apps that don’t have five full star ratings. Social proof drives commerce and it will continue to do so. You can’t give a consumer a better reason to buy than “everyone else is buying”. Staunch brand mavens will cave to social proof when the tipping point of people around them becomes clear. I see Blackberry users switch to iPhones all the time because of this phenomena. Powerful stuff.

  7. Steve, a “lemming”.. like that! The movement is moving. It is real, robust and reliable. Thanks for stopping by! Great comment.

  8. Thanks Ivana, for including the article on your blog!

  9. Thanks for the ping back on your site!

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