In our latest SaleCycle Academy video, CMO Chris Sheen explains the concept of social proof, and how brands can use it to their advantage. 

Video Transcription

Today, we’re going to look at social proof, which is when people are influenced by the opinions and actions of others.

Social proof can be a powerful tool, and it’s something that most ecommerce sites use to reassure visitors and persuade them to buy.

Let’s use a real world example. Street performers have been know to ‘seed’ their hat or guitar case with money as a subtle suggestion to passers by. This sends a signal to show that others have thrown in some money and so should they.

In an online context, social proof works by reassuring people that their decision to make a purchase is the right one, and one that other shoppers have been happy with.

One obvious example is customer reviews, which are highly effective at persuading people to convert. They tell shoppers that other people have bought a product and are happy with it.

For example, AirBnB uses reviews to reassure people booking accommodation that the details are accurate and the service was great. People can then book with confidence.

Social proof can be used in several ways.

For example, displays live data showing the number of people who are viewing a hotel and the last time someone booked a room. If other people are viewing and booking, this sends a positive message about the hotel.

Clothing retailer Modcloth actively encourages its customers to send in pictures of themselves wearing the clothes they purchased on the site.

These are shown on product pages, telling shoppers that people have been so happy with the clothes that they’ve made the effort to send in photos.

In all of these examples, social proof is being used to say: ‘Lots of other people use our site or products, so they must be good’.

And this is how it works – people see their peers doing the same thing, and they’re more relaxed about buying themselves.

Social proof is a very powerful tactic so, if you’re not using it already, give it a try!