Social proof is about using other people’s social behaviour to persuade what is it you’re trying to get them to do.

Two Forms of Social Proof

There’s two forms of social proof. There’s relative form and there’s authoritative form.

Relative social proof is whereby someone just like me is using what it is that you’re suggesting or implying or commanding. So they’re relative to me. An example can be found in common parenting. 

“Clean your room.”

“No. Why?”

“Because it’s dirty.”

“I still don’t want to clean my room.”

“Don’t you want to be more like Johnny? Johnny cleans his room everyday.”

Authoritative social proof is – the greatest example I can give you is a celebrity endorsement. “Tiger Woods uses this golf club”. That’s authoritative.

Now, here’s the part that will probably blow your mind. Guess which is the most powerful form of social proof? Relative social proof.

The problem with celebrity endorsements is they never remember the product they just remember the celebrity.

Where is social proof most important? When people are unsure of what to do. When people are unsure of what to do, what do they naturally do as a consequence?

They look around. They go, “What is everyone else doing? What is everyone else doing right now? If everyone else is doing that then I should probably do that as well.”

And that’s where, in the context of marketing, social proof, is very powerful. You know, in the context of sales, social proof is very effective. Social proof, as far as I’m concerned, is probably one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal when it comes to sales and marketing. Hands down. Very, very, very powerful.

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Kerwin Rae