Using Honest Social Proof to Go Viral | distilled

Posted: September 28, 2012 by wjfkee in Uncategorized

Using Honest Social Proof to Go Viral | distilled.


Using Honest Social Proof to Go Viral

Among my many pet peeves, marketers who make clumsy appeals to science are close to the top. You may, at some point, have read a blog post from a marketer who talks about “social proof” like it’s some kind of Jedi mind trick marketing gurus pull on their customers.

Not only does the “psychology of manipulating people to buy stuff” irk me on a moral level, but it can lead to some really poor marketing decisions. Using psychology as a tool to manipulate people misses the true marketing value of psychology: understanding people and what they want.

The following are commonly cited examples of social proof:

  • User-generated reviews for products and local businesses
  • Celebrity endorsements from famous actors, musicians, or other public figures
  • Endorsements from doctors, scientists, or industry experts
  • High counts for tweets, likes, shares, +1s, and comments.
  • Word of mouth recommendations

It is true that these are (or at least can be) types of social proof. All of these types of social proof can increase sales or engagement. Now the question is, “what are you going to do with that information?” If you view your customers as pawns, you’re probably going to:

  • Buy user reviews or have your friends post reviews

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