Social proof is a very old psychological phenomenon that has recently become an essential part of marketing. Social proof has been used by humans since ancient times, but a Turkish-American social psychologist, Mozafer sherif, began his first research in 1935, using it as a psychological term. Robert Beno Cialdini, a professor of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University, in 1984 referred to the social proof issue in his book “Influence”. As a result, social proof becomes a popular and very effective psychological term in marketing today.
Fields of Social Proof Use
There are many fields of social proof use. People used to use social proof in their daily work and even now people are using a lot of social proof / evidence in their daily life. You must understand that there is no lack of field in daily life.
In religious field
There are many examples of using social proof in religious matters. In the field of preaching, all religious scholars present different examples of the respective pioneers of their religions. In fact, the examples are all social proof. Not only pioneers of religions but also special peoples of certain religions are used as social proofs in preaching.
In education field
In the field of education, teachers use social proofs to instruct students. Not only teachers but also parents present social proof from the educational field for the bright future of their children.
An example might make the matter clearer. A friend of mine did a 4 year diploma course in electronics after finishing his school life. He saw a senior brother he knows to get a job in a top level company with a superior salary by doing a diploma like this. This is the only reason why he decided to do a diploma.
The senior brother was the social proof for him and he is also social proof for the next generation.
There is a wide range of uses of social proof in the marketing field. In terms of increasing conversion rate, showing social proofs is comparatively leading tactic. There are various types of social proofs available that can be achieved for marketing field. You can activate different emotional points using social proofs that motivate people to purchase.
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In the medical field
In the medical industry where you go to take treatment to heal yourself. You can easily understand how important social proof is in terms of this field. Social proof mostly required for curing psychotic disorder and for applying mental or physical therapy.
In order to cure mental illness, many different types of patient information are recorded so that required references can be taken from them when solving new cases later.
Psychological facts of social proof in terms of marketing/sales conversion
Generally we think we purchase something according to a lot of logic but research says that we purchase only according to our emotions. Then what about the logic?
Ok…… Logic is actually what we create to justify our emotions. Whatever we buy, somehow our subconscious mind decides it in advance. After a lot of reasoning, we bought exactly that.
People have different types of psychological or emotional stages, some of which motivate people to buy. Marketing psychology specialists are always trying to find out the way of activating the human emotional points of purchase so that marketing world can get the highest conversion rate.
1. Awakens the tendency to believe
By design people have been created with the tendency to believe. You will understand the matter if you notice it in yourself. As soon as someone said a lot of strange things in your childhood, you believed it. Especially, you believed everything your parents said. Not just you, we are all like that.
We did this because by default we have an extreme tendency to believe. I, you and all of us still cherish that tendency to believe. But in the course of life we see and learn such things that motivate us not to believe without understanding. We require something that will convince us to believe.
When we see some proof in favor of something, our desire to believe is awakened. Social proof is the required thing that creates the believing environment. Social proof makes us willing to believe.
2. Creates urgency in mind
Creating urgency is a psychology based marketing tactic that used to speed up the conversion rate. Urgency basically originated from the fear of missing out something. The fear of missing has existed in human since the beginning of creation.
This psychological fact has existed in humans for a long time but the fear of missing out is first identified by Dr. Dan Herman in 1996.
There are some social proofs that are number oriented. These number oriented social proofs create the fear of missing out.
If you tell your visitor about how many products are left to buy then it will be a social proof as well as instill in people a fear of missing that product.
3. Creates the desire to imitate
People are naturally imitators. We love to imitate and we find the perfect person to imitate. If you listen to a short story, you will understand the level of imitation of people.
Once a baby girl somehow got inside a dog farm. The girl was very little and she started living on that farm. Either way, the owner of the farm never noticed the girl. The girl ate whatever the owner of the farm gave to the dog to eat.
After about 15 years, the girl somehow came to the notice of the people. At that time the girl was just a physically human, mentally she became completely a dog. She did not use her hands. She used to eat only with her mouth without using her hands. Even she sounded like a dog instead of talking like human.
There were only dogs to imitate in front of her and she imitated them perfectly. Social proofs like expert endorse or story telling arouses the desire to imitate people.
4. Creates the dream of success
Imagination is an innate feature of human beings. But not all people are equally imaginative. Although not equally imaginative, almost all people dream of being successful in their life. Since people dream of success, a success story takes peoples close to their dream.
A success story inspires people to bring their dream into reality. A success story indicates people that success is not far from them. This indication makes them impatient to achieve the success.
Due to this psychological issue, sharing a success story type social proof not only increases the conversion rate but accelerates its speed.
Negative psychological fact of social proofs
Basically social proofs have no negative psychological effect. But if you are on a cheating mindset then you will get the negative effect of social proof.
If your product is not a quality product then of course your business is going to sink. You can get a lot of fake social proof by spending money for your low quality product but it will give you the business for a very short time. And besides, people are not so stupid that they can't catch your fake social proofs.
Once people discover the social proofs are fake they immediately through away your product and you notice the negative talks about your product.
So if you want to get only the positive effects of social proof then keep maintaining quality and stay real as much as possible.
Not share social proofs only for increasing conversion rate. People want to see social proof to understand a product clearly. So, share social proof to help people understand your product clearly. One mandatory thing is maintain the high quality of your product because if people understand your product properly, they will also understand that there is quality in it. This will automatically increase the conversion rate of your product.
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