Social proof, according to Robert Cialdini, is the idea that people tend to change the way they behave according to people surrounding them, especially if the situation seems uncertain. This phenomenon is also called informational social influence. In marketing, this phenomenon is often combined with a so-called halo effect. Halo effect is when one person is influenced by another person, brand, or company to receive positive impressions from a product or service. For example, when people see their favorite musician promoting sneakers of a certain brand, they tend to buy these sneakers because they want to have something in common with him.
Types of social proof
Generally, there are 6 types of social proof:
- Expert. The expert type of social proof works in a case when a person, who is considered to be knowledgeable in a particular area. For example, when you’re looking for a smartphone you can find smartphone recommendations from tech bloggers on YouTube. The more subscribers they have the more valid seems their point of view.
- Celebrity. Celebrity social proof is when a famous person endorses a certain product via social media. Endorsements can come either in a form of native advertising (when users see the product, but it’s not presented as a promo) or a promo (when a celebrity openly tells about it).
- User. User social proof is a recommendation of goods by other users. This can be a positive review or posts on social media.
- The wisdom of the crowd. This is when you tend to believe a brand or a product is good because it has many people following it on social media or it has been recognized as the best by public voting.
- The wisdom of your friends. Such type of social proof is based on your friend’s opinion. For example, if your best friend recommends you try a new soda flavor because it “tastes great” you will probably listen to his words.
- Certification. This type of social proof happens when an authoritative organization from the industry gives a stamp of approval to the product or service. For example, a Michelin star, which is given to the restaurant, is social proof that this restaurant serves exceptionally good dishes.
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