Even if you can’t define it you certainly know what it looks like as you see it everyday.
Lets start with the technical definition and move to the practical.
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.
Psycholohist Robert Cialdini describes it as
the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it.
For the the modern digital marketer I think its as simple as you want your user to do something — buy, give you their email, follow you on FB, whatever — and social proof will help you achieve that goal.CLICK HERE to download this post as a PDF for reference later!
In the digital context social proof can take the form of testimonials, ratings and reviews, badges, logos, subscriber counts, social numbers and more.
In the above example, the website is placing the number of shares for a particular article front and center – offering it as social proof that the site is legitimate and worthwhile.
Below, Amazon product reviews are providing consumers with immediate social proof of the quality and specifications of products.
Check out how this next website’s homepage doubles up on social proof, using a subscriber count and client logos.
Ok now that we have seen a few examples permit me to layer on top of the visual with some principles from Cialdini. His research on this is powerful.
Social Proof The Basics
Social Proof How It’s Exploited
… wait a minute, I was just trying to add in a testimonial, nobody said anything about exploitation.
The exploitation argument aside, psychology is in play with social proof, and perhaps nowhere as effectively as the testimonial.
Testimonials themselves can take various different forms; simple text, text and photos, text and audio, and video to name a few.
Their format continues to evolve but I think this quote from Andy Crestodina captures the important bit
When you say it its marketing, when you customer says it, it’s social proof
And its powerful.
Couple this power with the fact that traditional, authentic testimonials are difficult to get, especially the kind that come complete with permission and a photo.
Put all of that together and it becomes downright difficult to do which is why this next little hack is so clever.
Really think @Art_Storefronts is a great simple idea that works.
— gabs (@gabs) May 6, 2014
Yep. Its that simple. Awhile back twitter made it possible to embed tweets. It takes about two seconds, you copy the code, and you paste it on your site.
Why this is awesome
@Art_Storefronts Art Storefronts have an amazing website that is directed towards artist. Very easy and professional to use. Check them out!
— Michael Winsor Photo (@WinsorM) February 20, 2015
Sold? Lets learn how.
Here’s the code snippet I mention in the video:
data-conversation=”none” data-cards=”hidden” align=”center”
Prefer to read this offline? CLICK HERE to download this blog post as a PDF. Plus: Get the transcription of our screencast video on Embedding Tweets.
Or, to view a web version of the transcription, see below:
By now I hope it’s clear: you need social proof all over your website.
Are you a print studio?
Prints are ready for show next week because @bellevuefineart is run by magicians.
— Stephen Crowe (@invisibledot) November 26, 2014
I would print with them!
Are you an artist/photographer?
— San Tadeo (@STadeo17) March 5, 2015
You are thinking about checking that book out now right?
Testimonials just like these might just be waiting for you in your twitter feed.
Questions or comments please leave one. If you get stuck or need help I’d be happy to take a look for you.
If we can't teach you, no one can!