Social proof is the psychological concept that people are influenced in their decision making by others, compelling them to act within societal norms or expectations. In the context of marketing, social proof provides evidence of the popularity or usability of a brand among consumers to influence the purchase decisions of prospective and returning customers.

Why Is Social Proof Important for Marketing?

Social proof convinces people that a product or service that gained attention or revenue from other people is something they should also be buying into. This is often the case where people search for a product, find a number of similar items and choose to buy one product based on its high number of positive customer reviews.

Brands leverage social proof as a way to increase conversions and grow their customer base exponentially as more people join in and create buzz around products or services.

Marketing Ideas for Social Proof

Perform market research or customer surveys: Brands often use statistics to get their point across to consumers. Customer studies or surveys serve as a way to communicate that their business is preferred by consumers over competitors or that they have features or benefits desired by potential customers.

Show consumers you’re an authority in your industry: Use original research and data to show others you are an expert or authority in your field or market. You can also cite facts and links from other authoritative sources to have a similar effect.

Use influencer marketing to grow shared audiences: Partner up with an influencer to post on your social media accounts or other marketing channels to boost follower counts and engagement metrics. Choose influencers who have similar audiences to yours to raise the profile of your brand among their community of followers.

Launch promos or giveaways: Increase engagement by announcing a giveaway or special deals for followers on social accounts. To generate more buzz around your brand, ask social media users to share or like posts and follow accounts in exchange for a chance to enter a giveaway or claim a deal.

How Do I Measure Social Proof?

Track metrics for social proof as a way to monitor the effectiveness of a marketing campaign and its impact to convert leads, convince people to buy products and services and retain returning customers. There are a variety of ways to measure the impact of social proof on social networks, business websites, mobile apps and more.

Metrics related to social proof:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Retweets
  • Followers
  • Frequency of brand hashtags/keywords
  • Positive reviews
  • Customer testimonials
  • Number of products sold
  • Referrals
  • Backlinks
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • New users/customers
  • Returning users/customers
  • Email subscriptions
  • Mobile app downloads

Tools to Track Social Proof

Google Analytics: Use Google Analytics to measure metrics related to your own site performance, including traffic for new vs. returning users, conversions like email sign-ups and more. When leveraging social proof for marketing campaigns, note performance before and after the campaign to analyze the impact of social proof on target KPIs.

Google AdWords and online advertising tools: Google AdWords is an online advertising platform that allows marketers to display paid ads wherever consumers visit and then track social proof metrics like clicks and impressions of ads.

Facebook Insights and similar tools: Monitor social media accounts for likes, comments, shares and followers to build up social proof. Social networks feature tools that are built-in to their platforms, such as Facebook Insights, to track engagement metrics for individual posts.

Sprout Social: Beyond the built-in tools found on social media network, use Sprout Social for social listening features that analyze hashtag usage, brand-specific keywords and social conversions to connect with potential and current customers faster and more effectively.

Pros of Measuring Social Proof

Increase engagement. Encourage followers to join in the conversation by highlighting or celebrating social proof metrics like 100,000 followers reached to grow your follower counts even more.

Influence purchasing behavior and decisions. Use social proof to show your brand is trustworthy and authoritative to convince others to buy.

Understand your audience. Track social proof metrics to get insights into how consumers are making buying decisions (through paid ads, social media posts, etc).