How to Use Social Proof To Attract Customers

In case you don’t know precisely what social proof is, it’s one with the key influencers that people use when making a decision who to do business with. People look at the decisions others have made when making a decision for themselves and this is the key reason why testimonials and celebrity endorsements have been so powerful for businesses.

Whenever you scroll through your Facebook News Feed, the stories that usually catch your eye are typically the ones with the most likes, comments and shares.

That’s the exact crowd effect that compels users to observe what all the fuss is about.

Social Proof as defined by Wikipedia:

“Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.”

Basically, social proof, also known as social influence, is the positive (or negative) influence formed when one realizes that others are doing something. Most people make purchase decisions based on the reactions and decisions of the people around them. After all, who wants to be the guinea pig? It’s so much easier to take advantage of someone else’s research as to the best product or service than having to it yourself and risk making the wrong choice. It’s nice and efficient to be able to gain insight through the second hand experiences of trusted colleagues. If there’s some buzz, then it’s got to be good, right?

Getting Social Proof To Work For Your Business

Social media is possibly your best option for attaining influential levels of social proof very quickly. Each and every social media site features distinct methods of communication and consequently features numerous possibilities for ramping your own social proof efforts.

Powerful Influence of Referrals

In the past few years I have received over 115+ written LinkedIn recommendations and thousands of endorsements on my profile. At times, these recommendations bring me more business than I’m able to handle. They have helped me close deals with the discriminating buyer who wants references and testimonials. They’ve helped create trust and with potential clients that knew very little about me and were unsure if they should spend their hard earned money with a complete stranger.

If you have none or few recommendations you will appear less credible when compared to someone that has many more.

Interestingly enough, social proof is one of the main factors in social media’s popularity growing to well over 1 billion users. We saw our friends, family and other professionals using it before we adopted it for ourselves.

When done properly, social media ROI grows exponentially over time.  Your investment in time and money becomes increasingly profitable over time as the momentum continues to build, unlike most traditional media. For this same reason, those who are only looking for short-term results will struggle with tracking accurate metrics. Studies have shown that businesses get better results the longer they use social media.

This isn’t a new concept. Social proof has been studied for decades with a breakthrough study conducted in 1962 by social psychologist Solomon Asch. He teamed up with the famous TV show Candid Camera to demonstrate how quickly a basic social norm (how people stand in an elevator) could be reversed using group conformity.

Think about all the beliefs and behaviors you adopt through the power of social pressure.

Power of Reviews & Testimonials

Another great example of social proof is when Amazon realized that customers were not purchasing their products because of their marketing copy and product descriptions. Rather their buying decision was being influenced by the reviews that people had left about the product.

Here’s an example, let’s says you are looking for a social media consultant that can teach you LinkedIn marketing strategies. Would you feel more comfortable learning LinkedIn from me if I only had 77 connections and 1 recommendation? Would you agree that I appear more credible on LinkedIn with 19,000+ connections and 115+ recommendations? When you check out the recommendations I have from people like Mari Smith (the worlds top Facebook expert), doesn’t that even further boost my credibility? That is social proof.

A Busy Restaurant Must Be Good

Have you ever questioned if a restaurant that was empty was any good?  When you walk by an empty restaurant are you feeling compelled to try it out?

Now compare that to a restaurant where there is a line up to get a table. What’s your impression of each of these restaurants? Naturally we will assume the packed restaurant must be good and question how good the empty restaurant is. This is exactly why social proof is so crucial to your business success.

7 Reliable Ways To Grow Your Social Proof

LinkedIn recommendations

Reviews on Facebook and 3rd party review sites

The number of followers, fans/connections you have on your social sites

Written and video testimonials from satisfied customers on your website (3rd party credibility is your greatest ally)

Likes, Comments, Shares on social sites

Twitter @Mentions & Retweets

People sharing your blog posts and other content

Comments on your blogs

For more information on the power of social proof, I highly recommend that you read, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Dr. Robert Cialdini.

By Melonie Dodaro

Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media an agency that helps business owners, sales teams and professionals use social media marketing to boost their visibility, attract new customers and increase their revenue. Dubbed by the media as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert and social media strategist, she’s also a highly sought after social media speaker and trainer. To download your free report called Stop Wasting Time & Start Getting Results With Social Media visit