Social Proof Matters. Here’s How to Get It.
Whether it be solar panels, automobiles, spas, mortgage loans, furniture, or some other big ticket item, companies that sell considered purchases face a unique set of challenges. First, because only a small percent of the population is in the market for a considered purchase at any given moment, targeting your audiences efficiently without blowing your ad budget requires advanced media planning. Second, people often lack the knowledge to make informed purchasing decisions — largely because they buy these products so infrequently. How do you drive more consumers into the sales funnel and convince them to buy from you? The creative makes or breaks your advertising campaign, and a huge part of it comes down to credibility.
In order to successfully market considered purchases, your creative needs to educate consumers, differentiate your company, and prompt a specific action, but none of that will ever happen if you don’t establish credibility. In this era of peer influence, there’s no better way to go about doing it than with social proof. Wondering where to begin? Here is a breakdown of Wingman’s signature Social Proof Strategy.
The 411 on Social Proof
So what is social proof, anyway? Dr. Robert Cialdini, a marketing expert in the field of marketing persuasion, defines social proof as a “psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
When everyone looks at the sky, do you look up, too? Probably. And if everyone in the room rises to give a standing ovation, do you also leap to your feet? Almost certainly. So it follows that if everyone is buying a certain brand of soda, you’ll probably be more than willing to fork over some cash for a sip, too. These are all everyday examples of subconscious motivations which spur certain behaviors.
This same concept can be applied to advertising campaigns as a means of establishing credibility with consumers. But it doesn’t happen spontaneously. Give social proof a nudge in the right direction with this three part formula.
1. Make It Personal
Would you rather make a purchase from a stranger or someone you know? While company owners and CEOs aren’t always the best at reading radio spots or standing in front of cameras, they’re likely to be most passionate about their products and services. This makes them, more often than not, their company’s best salesperson. After all, they’ve built entire businesses around their belief in the value of their wares.
The CEO as Spokesperson Social Proof Strategy adds authenticity while fostering an emotional connection with consumers by showing them the real people behind the company. Consumers are much more likely to believe an owner or CEO over a paid announcer.
2. Third Party Referrals
Why do all the work on your own when you can piggyback off of the efforts of others? Our second go-to Wingman social proof tactic involves leveraging the credibility of others in order to improve your own. Take industry professionals, for example. Not only do they know the ins and outs of the market, but they are also inherently trusted as unbiased sources. Also falling into this category are third party ratings, reviews, product design awards, patents, and certificates from places like J.D. Power, BBB, YELP, ENERGY STAR, Consumer Affairs, and Consumer Reports, as well as credible media publications and trade magazines for your industry.
3. Customer Testimonials
Testimonials are the third and final component in our social proof formula. According to research from Bright Local, 91% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. We repeat: 91 percent. So if you’re not using them, you’re falling way short of your potential. At the end of the day, there’s no better way to establish credibility than with the right social proof.
Social Proof in Action
One last thing to keep in mind? Social proof is nothing new — Wingman has been successfully incorporating our social proof strategy into our clients’ media campaigns for years. One example is with our two-minute radio advertorials.
In closing, we’ll go ahead and break down our social proof formula for you one more time: Engage listeners with the CEO, follow up with third party referrals and seal the deal with customer testimonials. Then kick back and watch your credibility — and conversions — grow.