We are being influenced by social proof all the time whether we realize it or not.

A great example from Sprout Social illustrates how we’ll walk past an empty restaurant to eat at one with a crowd of people inside – even though the first restaurant might have better food.

We assume the empty restaurant isn’t as good because there aren’t any people inside. This is social proof – the idea that since so many other people are behaving a certain way, it must be the right way.

Humans are always looking to fit in with the crowd. Our desire to be accepted is consciously and unconsciously affecting our purchasing decisions.

This is why reviews, recommendations and testimonials are so influential. A recommendation from a friend or influencer is a powerful force in marketing.

READ: How to Ask for Referrals And Get More Business

So how do you harness the power of social proof? Here are 4 ways:

  1. Case Studies
    Case studies are a great way to show potential customers real-life examples of your product/service in action. Case Studies turn client observations and experiences into usable data and tell a story. You can use a case study to walk your audience through a real-life scenario using “storytelling” which is always more effective than a packaged sound bite. Case studies can be featured on your website, mentioned in your catalog, or incorporated into your pitch deck to investors.

READ: Storytelling in Catalog Marketing 

2. Testimonials
Testimonials, written from satisfied customers, are one of the most potent tools of marketing according to com.You can use testimonials as call-outs near products in catalogs or feature them on your website or social media. In this great example from PrintWand, Etsy used a genuine testimonial and featured it in an advertisement as part of a beautiful “handwritten” design.

3. Reviews
Reviews are also extremely powerful because they are seen as unsolicited (even though they can definitely be solicited) and authentic. Generally, if you ask a happy customer for a review, he or she will be more than happy to oblige. Reviews can be featured on Google, Amazon, Facebook, Yelp and other similar platforms.

4. Influencer Endorsement
Influencer endorsements are a bit different than testimonials or reviews because they are often paid or require product in exchange. While sometimes pricey, influencers with thousands of followers can bring attention to your brand that’s well worth the investment.

READ: Influencer Marketing: What Works and What Doesn’t

If you’re looking to convince potential customers to try your products or services, consider using social proof to sway them.

As consumers, we are more sensitive than ever to canned company advertisements. Consider using peer recommendations instead – in the form of case studies, testimonials, reviews or endorsements to draw in new customers.

Sources: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-proof/

https://buffer.com/library/social-proof/

https://www.oberlo.com/blog/social-proof

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-proof-examples