Social Proof: Mother Of Influencer Marketing

Social media is changing the way consumers are influenced to take action. When it comes to experiencing unfamiliar products or brands, consumers face a lot of uncertainty:

  1. “Who are you?”
  2. “What do you have to offer me?”
  3. “Why should I buy it from you?”
  4. “How do I know you’ll deliver?”

For most consumers, that means not taking action until these questions are answered. That could take days, weeks, or even months to happen. Our brand answers the first two questions and Influencer marketing answers the last two. Influencer marketing is changing the way trust is built with our audience. The idea behind influencer marketing is to have popular social media entities(people, brands, niches) promote our brands products/services and get their audience to take action. Traditional methods of digital advertising(Facebook ads, Adwords, etc..) creates a flurry of negative user experiences such as:

  • Intrusion
  • Lack of trust
  • Disrupts browsing habits

Using Influencers to promote your brand accomplishes 2 things:

  1. It gives you direct exposure to your targeted audience in a non-intrusive manner.
  2. It creates massive trust with your audience because someone they trust is talking well of you.

It taps into our deepest primitive drive that helps us make decisions and take action. These drives guide us into deciding to buy those shoes on sale or to follow specific instructions from our parents. These drivers are called Authority & Social Proof.

Social Proof: Everybody’s Doing It

Social Proof is the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when everyone else is doing it. This principle applies mostly when a consumer is uncertain about your brand. Local businesses take full control of this principle with tools like:

  • Google reviews
  • Yelp
  • Foursquare

Why? Because they know what other consumers have to say about them speaks volumes!

Ever made reservations at a restaurant with a 1-star review? Not likely. Reviews are a way for consumers to receive authentic testimonials from other people about your business. Imagine if your best friend told you about this great sushi place she went to. She loved the service and the food was excellent she says. How likely are you to try the sushi restaurant out? Very likely. Because it has been endorsed by someone you know, like, and trust.

Now, take this same concept and apply it to a brand online. And your “friend” is now fitness expert Brandon Carter, who has over 1m followers, whom you’ve been following on Instagram ever since you decided to lose weight. Brandon posts a video recommending you to try an unfamiliar brands’ pre-workout formula. He says it pumps you up and doesn’t make you crash afterwards. Then, leaves a link for you to go try it yourself. How likely are you to try it? Very likely. Because it has been endorsed by someone you know, like, and trust.

Social proof gives us clarity in the face of uncertainty.

Authority: Who’s The Boss?

Since birth we’ve been indoctrinated into a sense of moral duty to people “above” us. Parents, doctors, lawyers, policeman, teachers etc.. This duty has conditioned us to follow their instructions blindly without question. As we grow older, this habit doesn’t fade away in most of us. We are wired to follow those who appear to know more than us. And with good reason, it’s how we survive. As children our parents know better than we do. To live meant to follow their guidance.

When were sick, it’s best to follow a doctor’s orders than to not. In handcuffs, we trust our lawyers knowledge and follow his plans to free us. In most cases, we follow these directions because we don’t know more than these people in their given field of study.

As marketers, we use this principle to guide our audience towards our product or service. Influencers typically have a great amount of authority in their field. Their history of sharing information over the course of years gives them an edge in being able to persuade their audience to take action.

Using the previous example, if your “friend” was instead a sushi chef, how likely are you to still follow that recommendation? Still very likely. You recognize this person has a lot of experience in that given niche and that their opinions hold a lot value based on the perceived experiences of that individual. Someone like Brandon Carter has massive authority in fitness due to him sharing great advice over the years AND how he looks!

Authority has given us light in a tunnel of darkness.

Conclusion

As stated, social media is changing the way consumers are influenced to take action. It has created a shortcut for new startup brands to gain trust and convert leads into sales quickly. Influencers can now monetize their followings and offer their audience support by recommending products/services that encourage growth and novelty experience. Businesses can now make their brands more relatable by introducing familiar faces next to them. Social media has given Influencers the opportunity to become your audiences new best friend.

Give a new entrepreneur insight by sharing this! Success breeds success.

This article was originally posted here

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