Remember, as a kid, when you tried to justify something you shouldn’t have done by saying that all the other kids were doing it too. And your mom’s response was, “agar tere dost kunwein mein ja kudegenge, toh tu bhi kudega?”
Well turns out you are very likely to jump into the well along with your friends. And what’s more, marketeers know this truth and use this every day. The fancy term is ‘social proof’.
In non childhood analogy terms, social proof is influencing you withinformation about your social environment, sometimes subtle, sometimes, blatant. And where do you experience this? Everywhere!
Did you read that restaurant review on Zomato before deciding on a place last weekend? Did the Amazon review influence your choice of trainers? Were you not sure what you wanted to watch last evening and Netflix suggested something based on your watch history? Did you buy that book because it was on the New York Times bestseller list? Did you bet on Chelsea because the expert analytics of Bet365 suggested that they are more likely to win?
If you did all that then congratulations, you just experienced social proofing. (Also, we earnestly hope, you are not betting on sports).
Social Proof may be of five categories
1. Experts – Approval from credible experts in the relevant field, like the bet365 analogy up there.
2. Celebrities – Approval or endorsements from celebrities (paid or unpaid), like the time Mark Zukerberg happened to post about the iGrill and their website crashed because of the number of hits. Mind you, this was unpaid, and the iGrill people didn’t even know that Mark Zukerberg was a customer.
3. Users – Approval from current/past users (ratings, reviews and testimonials). Usually reliable, unless it’s Rotten Tomatoes writing about DC films 😉
‘4. Wisdom of crowds’ – Approval from large groups of other people. Why, according to rivals, Manchester United has so many fans.
5. Peers – Approval from friends and people you know. Why you accepted that ‘black and white photo’ Facebook challenge.
Now you know how simple psychology can be used for marketing!