In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie talks about people who subconsciously seek the opinions and thoughts of other people in order to make a judgment on a product or service they are considering. How often have you spoken to friends and family who have used a particular company or product to see what they thought of the service or goods? We ask, not only to get a sense of the quality, but also to affirm our own thoughts.
Social proof is most powerful in the demographic in which you mix. If your peer group feels that a particular brand or product is very good, the chances are that you will start to form a similar opinion even if you haven’t experienced it yourself. One study found that when evaluating a product, the person was more likely to incorporate the opinions of others through the use of social proof when their own experiences with the product were ambiguous.
Marketing professionals clearly understand the power in social proof and actively seek ways to capitalise on that to entice consumers to look favourably on their product. So how can you utilise social proof to improve your business? Let other people talk about it:
On your website
Get the process going by soliciting testimonials from people who have bought your services or products and publishing them on your website. The testimonials have to be from real experiences as more astute readers will be able to gauge whether or not they have been manufactured, and falsely trumpeting your company is dishonest and not a good way to operate a business.
In social media
Get people talking about your business. In the current climate, social media is proving to have more influence than newspapers and any business wanting to expand should seriously consider including social media in their marketing efforts. Once interest is piqued, the good news should spread like wildfire and with any luck will go viral.
Get other people talking about you
Getting other people to do the talking for you is one of the best ways to promote your product or service. Interview customers and make a video about what you do. Put yourself out there. If your company is selling a common product, get your interviewees to talk about what your company offers that is different. Spreading the information by word of mouth allows people to hear about you first hand and start discussing your business.
Wooten, D; ReedII, A (1 January 1998). “Informational Influence and the Ambiguity of Product Experience: Order Effects on the Weighting of Evidence”. Journal of Consumer Psychology 7 (1): 79–99.doi: 10.1207/s15327663jcp0701_04 .