Leverage Social Proof for your Small Business


Word of mouth is often considered the best advertisement you can get, and also the hardest to drive. Human behavior is often driven by our impressions of other people. If my best friend says that The Drawing Board is a really awesome and tasty restaurant, you bet your bacon I’m going to go there. 

Really cool story, I know, but what I’m trying to say is that you can use word of mouth as a way to help drive more sales to your website. How?

Let’s look at Amazon. One of the things they do is showcase to users what other people have bought. “Customers also bought…” is a little section right below every product page. The reason? The more people doing something, the more “proof” that its valid and trustworthy. 

Stanley Milgram is known for his 1969 experiment, where he showed that people could be compelled to give out lethal shocks if told to by an authority figure. He also ran other types of experiments, like this one:

He paid someone to stand on a busy sidewalk and do nothing but look up at the sky. Approximately 40% of people would stop to look up. When he hired 2 helpers, the number jumped to 60%. With four, it becomes 80%.

Four people looking up in the sky drove the behavior of 80% of people walking by. 

Now think again how Amazon likes to show you what other people bought, and you can start to see how powerful this is.

Still not convinced? 

By 2011 only 13% of consumers purchased products without first consulting the internet in some capacity. (Lightspeedresearch.com, April 11, 2011) 

Here is the essential take home: They were not looking for professional review sites; they were looking at what other consumers said — their peers. 

Influencers are a potent mechanism for driving behavior because your product needs to genuinely be useful to have it be picked up by influencers. The good news is that 90% of marketers say influencer marketing provides one of the highest ROIs for marketing dollars spent. 

Also, think about having a review function on your website for your products. Or have a blogger or influencer review your product with their audiences. Such things will help increase your perceived social trustworthiness as a company. We have an article on how to help boost yourself on Instagram here if you want to learn more. 

How about some anecdotal real-world examples? Know how baristas will “prime” a tip jar? You’re more likely to get tips if people see your tip jar fool. You’re more likely to think a nightclub is fantastic if there’s a long line outside. You’re more likely to feel a restaurant is “good” if a lot of people are dining there.

You’re more likely to associate Apple products with quality when people are lining up around the block on a release day. 

Powerful stuff. Never forget it. Facebook can help you interact with your customers better and help create more social proof. 

Social proof is powerful. Understand how to leverage it, and you will find that your reputation will become much better.

If you’re looking to rapidly expand your marketing efforts, video is the way to go. We have an eBook that helps show you how its broken down into multiple pieces of content below. 


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