Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people mimic the actions of others in an attempt to exhibit correct behavior for a given situation. Human are pack animals, and when we are unsure of how to act, we look to others for cues on how to behave. The more people that tell us great things about a product or service, the more likely we are to choose it. Social proof has huge implications for marketing because it’s an extremely powerful tool for persuasion. However, if it’s not harnessed properly, it can actually be detrimental to your business. Here some tips on how to leverage social proof correctly in your social media marketing efforts:
Keep it Positive.
Always use positive social proof, and avoid using negative social proof at all costs. Say, for example, that you’re a dental office, and you want to encourage people to come in for a cleaning. You would never want to talk about how millions of Americans don’t visit a dentist regularly, putting themselves at risk for dental disease. Even if you’re sending the message that it’s harmful not to visit the dentist, you’re still telling your audience that millions of other people aren’t going, so it’s probably ok not to. You would, however, talk about the 65% percent of Americans that do visit the dentist regularly, and how those people have higher rates of good dental health.
Mirror Your Audience
People have a natural tendency to like things that resemble them in some way. People will become more engaged with your content if they find it relatable. Figure out who your best customers are, and write with them in mind when you create content. Like attracts like, and the more specific you can be, the better. Get specific; people are less likely to connect with broad generalizations than they are with content that looks genuine. A customer testimonial such as “Great business, highly recommended!” will get a lot less traction that a testimonial that explains exactly how your business solved a specific problem or fulfilled a need. We connect when we feel like we can see ourselves in the same situation.
Write Engaging Stories
Humans are hardwired to remember stories, not strings of facts. Create memorable content by engaging the imagination of your audience, and sharing your information in ways that will make a big impression. Telling a story transports your audience into your shoes, and makes them much more receptive to the information you are disseminating in the process. Consumer tolerance for marketing efforts is extremely low in the digital world. Write a good story, and you’ll find that your audience will let their guard down and listen.
Authority is Key
People are likely to judge a person’s opinion based on their overall impression of him or her. Psychologists refer to this as the “halo effect.” This is why the opinions of people with a great amount of existing social influence are more readily accepted. Find these people, surround yourself with them, and ask them to be ambassadors for your brand. Your business will gain credibility by association. In addition, you should consistently post content that is relevant to your industry, provides your customer base with useful information, and cites credible sources to build your reputation as an authority in your field.
These guidelines should give you some ideas on how you can harness the power of social proof and use it to your advantage in your social media marketing efforts!