The art of social proofing
How many of you have seen someone doing something and thought ‘I want to be a part of that’ Or someone eating something and thought or even said ‘I want what she’s having’ That thought you have is at the fundamental heart of Social Proofing.
It is important to understand conformity is a human tendency. It goes right back to the Neanderthal days where to survive was to live in a group. Living in a group and living cohesively meant fitting in with the rules of the tribe. Our mammalian brain is still programmed that way, people want to fit in and often imitate the behavior of those around them in order to do so. For example, when we see a large line, our brains think ‘whatever they are lining up for must be good’ so we line up too!
Think about why you bought your first phone or laptop, why did you choose a particular brand? For many of us, it was because we had other people recommend it to us or we saw our friends/family or colleagues using it. Not only are we programmed to fit in – our brains also like to take shortcuts. We think if someone else is using/buying/eating something, it must be fine! We only need look at the success social influencers experience as companies showering them with their products and services and the immediate uplift those products and services have.
So understanding social proofing is all well and good, but how can we use it to our benefit when it comes to our goods and services?
Think about the best parts of your product and service and who uses it. Through the use of imagery and photography you can tap into people’s need to conform. Apple is a great example; their advertising doesn’t talk to the features and benefits of a phone – in their marketing – people are happy! Travelling, laughing, enjoying life and using their technology seamlessly, such as taking amazing photography shots and selfies.
That alone starts people on the path to making a purchase, not only does it plant the seed that their devices don’t cut it when it comes to the photos, but it also gives people the impression that the community of people who use the product are both happy and leading a life that most people want.
This works for the sale of a product but what about a service you provide? People can’t often see your service in their environment unless you are actively showing them in an implementation, so you need to take a slightly different approach. Show the success other clients have had from your service.
Rather than just say “we will teach you how to use a new CRM. ” Share images and case studies of current clients who are successfully using your services and create a story. Showing people directly how others have benefited from your service will always be more effective the simply telling them that you can provide the service for them. Especially if they can see then alignment within their own environment.