Essentially, social proof is the idea that an individual can manipulate behavior and marketing trends. That individual is an influencer.
Influencers have always been a factor in the success or failure of marketing campaigns. Word of mouth is the largest part of influencer marketing. These days, word of mouth happens very much by people using social media to share and recommend a business and its products and services.
Social proof in marketing allows you to fully understand the scope of your reach. Knowing this allows you to tailor your marketing to use these influencers to your advantage. Basically, you want to influence the influencers. This is where Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Reddit become just as important as a million dollar campaign.
What is an Influencer?
Influencers engage products and services. These people work very hard to have online followers for their channels, feeds, and blogs. People gravitate to them to get information which, in turn, generates and directs sales and action. They are type A personalities who blaze trails and lead their followers to the things they like.
If you get buzz from an influencer, you effectively have proof of concept. When people start acting on that buzz, you have social proof.
4 Out of 5 Influencers Agree…
We can all joke about the ‘4 out of 5 dentists’ commercials, but they represent one of the simplest forms of social proof. Marketing using an expert to recommend a product has been around since the advent of the infomercial. The theory is simple and sound. If someone who is respected as an expert goes on TV or writes a blog or sends out a tweet to recommend whatever it is you’re offering, that has a huge effect. The result is that more leads will come to you because there is a level of trust.
Spreading the Love
You know only too well how bad publicity can go viral many times faster than good publicity. Bad buzz in the Twitterverse could cripple your marketing efforts. One way the reverse can be true is through influencers. If one gives you praise, it can spread quickly. People pay attention and are keen to check it out.
Celebrities Know Best
For direct proof of social proof in marketing, you only need to look toward the power of celebrity. Celebrity endorsements have been known to tip products over the edge into greatness. From football players drinking Coke to Oprah raving about a book, celebrity clout has been proven time and time again. In many cases, these endorsements are bought and paid for. But nowadays, millennials (the rising spenders in the market) want an honest approach to marketing. They depend on social media very much here. When someone they respect tweets support or criticism of something, they are really paying attention. That doesn’t mean they automatically agree with that person (they will often check things out and look for information), but the positive or negative tone really sticks.
The Friend Factor
People are bombarded by advertising and direct marketing. They have become good at blocking out a lot of it, but still experience sensory overload and can be overwhelmed by thoughts, images and choices. They start then to have difficulty knowing which business to trust. To provide that trust factor, people look to their friends. Much more so than they follow the advice of experts and celebrities. People rely heavily on what those closest to them think and do. And we have come back full circle to the power of word of mouth as social proof.
Thus we see that social proof in marketing is like a circle. Achieving success with your marketing requires many things, including having the right people and influencers in your social (media) circles. They spread the word to their circles and it all comes back to you.
If you’re looking to really take advantage of the power of social proof, or want to know more about it, enlist online marketing experts with proven skills in directing campaigns that work and influencing the influencers.
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