Leveraging Social Proof in Marketing

Social proof, a term coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book, Influence, is also known as informational social influence. It describes a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation.

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

Don’t just ask customers for a testimonial, guide them to tell a compelling story with these prompts from branding expert and author Donald Miller:

1. What was your absolute biggest challenge prior to purchasing / joining / attending?
2. How did that challenge make you feel?
3. What changed after purchasing/joining/attending?
4. What specific results can you share?
5. What would you say to somebody on the fence about purchasing / joining / attending?
6. Anything else to add?
7. Do you grant permission for us to feature your company and this testimonial in our marketing materials?

Using photos and video

Always feature a picture of the person who gave the testimonial. Headshots are fine, but candid pictures can lend even more authenticity.

“Since testimonials are about building trust, featuring someone’s full name and face alongside their testimonial helps assure your readers that these are real people and real success stories,” said Miller.

“To up the authenticity and engagement factor, add video testimonials whenever you can,” he added.

PRO TIP: Create your feedback form in Google Forms and link it to a Google Spreadsheet for automated data populating.

The Psychology of Marketing: 18 Ways to Use Social Proof to Boost Your Results

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