In simple terms, social proof is the belief that people follow the action of others. When people do not know about something accurately, they tend to assume that the actions of others are correct as they see them. In layman’s language, what we see others doing or purchasing, we follow and do the same. When people are engaging with a product, we find it attractive too. For instance, when we visit a restaurant we order the dishes which are served at most of the tables. We assume that what others are eating is tasty and good quality food, so we should also try the same. This situation displays social proof in action. Hence, social signals are also known as informational social influence. Examples of social proof in e-commerce are social ads, homepage, product pages, community pages, and transactional and promotional emails.
Principles of Social Proof
There are 4 principles of social signal which affect the way we act in a given situation that are discussed below-
- Uncertainty- When we encounter new or unknown situations, we often get confused. Therefore, we look up to others to see how they are behaving or what their actions are.
- Similarity- We tend to incline towards people from similar backgrounds, regions, and beliefs and follow them. We think that people who are like us are doing a particular thing so we should also do the same.
- Expertise- When confused about something, we look up to experts for suggestions because we think that the one who has more knowledge will make better decisions than the ones we make.
- Number- When a group of people is uncertain about a particular thing or they are stuck in a particular situation, then often that decision is taken which is supported by a majority of people from the group.
How to collect social proof from customers
There are multiple ways to collect social proof from your customer for your new or upcoming customers.
- Send requests for reviews after a customer purchase- You can send requests to customers for product ratings and reviews within a few days when the product is delivered. To encourage customers to take out time for giving reviews, you can give some incentives like flat discounts or free shipping.
- Email customers asking for visual UGC- You should try to ask your customers to create user-generated content. You can also make it fun by initiating a social competition.
- Optimize your website to simplify review submission- You should work on creating your website such that the number of steps to give a review or rating is less. The process should be easy and accessible and also barriers free. You can also send follow-up emails.
- Create case studies about customer experiences- Share customer stories on your social media posts. This way the customer feels acknowledged and it will also act as social proof for the potential customers.
Onboard Brand Ambassadors- Ambassadors can spread social proof on their social media handles and within their circle of friends. Their followers further share reviews which in turn helps the business grow. The awareness that comes from brand ambassadors has helped many brands to attract customers and achieve great success.