Posted on November 27, 2017
What is social proof?
Social proof, is the psychological and social phenomenon where we determine ‘what is correct’, by observing what other people do in a given situation. When deciding the correct way to act, people will naturally view a behaviour as more correct by seeing others performing it.
This often occurs at the unconscious level, when people adopt the behaviours of others without necessarily knowing the reason behind it. For example, have you ever been in a shop, office or any public space surrounded by other people, when the fire alarm goes off? In most cases, the actions of those around us will be the deciding factor to the action we take ourselves.
How the influence works
Social proof can lead to conformity, when a person is unsure about the correct way to think or act in a particular situation. There have been many reports of bystanders not reporting an incident or going to the aid of a victim, simply because of the presence of other observers. This is largely because, when we are uncertain about the specifics of a situation, we will look around at the actions of others for clues.
Many industries will often use this kind of influence in an attempt to steer our behaviour in a particular direction. Bar staff will often line the bottom of their tip jars to encourage more tips, advertisers love using terms like ‘faster growing or ‘largest selling’ so they don’t have to convince us directly that a product is amazing.
Social proof is very powerful when the influencers are seen as more knowledgeable and experienced than us, and ideas are given a greater level of credibility, when stated by multiple different sources. The effects of this are leveraged by savvy financial marketers in the form of thought leadership, client testimonials and case studies.
Studies show that when evaluating a product or service, we will take on the opinions of others using social proof when we are uncertain about our own views on the topic.
Examples of financial brands using social proof
There are generally 6 forms of social proof that are regularly used by financial brands:
1. Expert social proof is when an expert from your industry endorses your product/services or your financial brand itself has built up its own expert status, and is viewed as an industry thought leader.
2. Celebrity social proof is when financial brands use a recognisable face to endorse their products or services.
3. User social proof is when your current clients recommend your services by sharing the positive experience they had with your financial brand by providing reviews and case studies.
4. The wisdom of the crowd is when a seemingly large group of people are seen to validate the relevance of your financial brand and service. This could be reflected by having thousands of followers and likes on your social network channels.
5. The wisdom of your friends is one of the most powerful forms of social proof as it is given by someone that you already trust and often respect. We tend to find this type of social proof within client referrals, hence why customer satisfaction should be placed at the forefront of marketer’s minds.
6. Certification is when your financial brand is given the stamp of approval by an authoritative figure or body, known to represent your industry. For example, winning awards from industry bodies.
How your financial brand can benefit
Applying the science of social proof to your financial services integrated campaigns, can boost the effectiveness of your marketing by creating authority and building trust in you brand.
More than 50% of IFAs rely on recommendations, believing that this form social evidence is more valuable to them than traditional marketing. Over 65% of CEOs respond better to new business opportunities gained through referrals and 68% of consumers trust opinion polls posted online.
One of the best things about applying social proof when marketing your financial brand, are the various ways that you can increase the perceived credibility and popularity of your brand. Finding the best ways to amplify the power of social proof for your financial brand can be a daunting one, Talisman can help you to simplify this.