‘Social proof’ can be the basis of powerful marketing. Social proof means justify your buying behaviour by observing and exhibiting similar behaviour of those around you. In simple terms – everybody else is doing it, so I can do it too.
For example, if you see ten other people around you make the decision to buy the latest gizmo, then by doing as they do and ignoring your own information, you deem it to be socially acceptable for you to rush out and buy a gizmo as well.
Even though your own research and private information may have led you to a different buying decision, such widespread social acceptance will effectively remove any lingering thoughts of buyer remorse.
This is the type of behaviour that starts and finishes product fads and produces information cascades in financial markets (e.g. speculative mass buying or selling behaviours that result in a sudden share market movement regardless of underlying asset value).
People seek social proof because everyone likes to feel as though they have made the right decision when it comes to spending money or making a big commitment. There is comfort and social acceptance in believing that so many other people can’t all be wrong.
Improved web access and communication mobility, together with a variety of social networking media, email and text messaging make a social proof campaign so much easier to execute.
Until next time!