Just before the pandemic, my husband and I used to go out to dinner, just the two of us, on Saturday nights. We would take turns making the reservation, choosing from a handful of restaurants we frequent.

On this particular day, I suggested that we do something a little spontaneous and try out a new place. I remembered that two new restaurants had opened up close to home, and in the spirit of supporting local entrepreneurs, we walked there. 

The first place seemed a little empty, even for a Saturday night. While we enjoy a little peace and quiet every now and then, we decided to check the other place out. 

The other restaurant was at capacity, and when we saw this, we agreed that it looked good. Despite being busy, we managed to snag a table at a great, somewhat secluded spot and had a good dinner. It was cosy and really allowed us to enjoy, for one of the last times I think, a meal in a restaurant without the stress of masks or social distancing!

As social creatures, we experience this innate desire to conform. On that night, this desire made us choose the restaurant at capacity, over the other, because an empty restaurant probably meant that it wasn’t a place we would enjoy.

Given the lack of any evidence that we would have had a better time at the second restaurant, this has everything to do with the concept we now know as social proof.

Social proof = social influence

Social proof is the psychological and social phenomenon that explains why people copy certain behaviour and cues in social situations.

This principle is often used to influence consumer behaviour, primarily because it can have a staggering effect on your conversion rate.

This concept is the reason why consumers research what they’re going to buy, why businesses use celebrity endorsements or why reviews can make or break a brand’s reputation. According to Google, online reviews account for almost 10% of Google’s search ranking factors

Social proof manifests itself in a ton of other ways too, including:

  • An expert’s stamp of approval: approval from an industry leader or influencer
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • Testimonials or reviews by customers or users
  • Promotion of business credentials
  • Social media shares
  • FOMO attitude
  • Recommendations from people you trust

Leveraging social proof to boost your conversion rate

Social proof is a type of marketing strategy that requires your customers to do most of the work. You can’t really do it on behalf of your brand because Google will see right through you 😉

So, how can you execute this process to boost your conversion rate? 

Curated video reviews

More people prefer video content over written content. Why shouldn’t this be the same for reviews?

Build rapport with your customers and ask them to try and do video reviews as much as possible. While this may take some time, and if you’re successful on this front, you can use these videos as the basis for your social media advertising efforts.

Influencer marketing

Makeup brands use viral influencer marketing tactics (including TikTok) to their advantage quite successfully. They offer their products to social media influencers, free of charge, and ask them to leave a review on Instagram or on other platforms where their target audience is active. 

These reviews influence customer purchase decisions more successfully than most people think.

Flaunt what you’ve got

Social proof can also look like positive business statistics on your website. These can be the number of page visits you get, blog post shares, signups, sales, awards or certifications you receive. 

This will position your brand as one that’s trusted and recognised by many. 

Make social proof work for you for greater marketing success

Social proof is an excellent strategy for your business, especially if you’re interested in increasing your conversion rate and sales. At a time when we’re more connected to each other than ever before, social proof needs to be part of your promotion strategies, regardless of what market or industry you operate in. Use these tactics in your marketing strategy and sway your customers in your favour 😀