The Phenomenon of Social Proof

The Phenomenon of Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon, also known as informational social influence, where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. If your friends say they like something their opinion means more to you than a stranger online and a stranger online’s opinion means more to you than what is said in a commercial. It’s a bit like FOMO (fear of missing out).



In general, there are 6 types of social proof:

  1. Expert: Expert social proof is when an expert in your industry recommends your products or services or is associated with your brand.
  2. Celebrity: Celebrity social proof is when a celebrity endorses your products. (Influencers, celebrity Twitter feeds, etc.).
  3. User: User social proof is when your current users recommend your products and services based on their experiences with your brand (reviews and testimonials).
  4. The wisdom of the crowd: This type of social proof is when a large group of people is seen to be endorsing your brand.
  5. The wisdom of your friends: This type of social proof is when people see their friends approve your product.
  6. Certification: This type of social proof is when you are given a stamp of approval by an authoritative figure in your industry.


Tell, don’t sell.

People don’t want to be sold to but they do love hearing a good story. This is where client testimonials and reviews come into play.

Have you seen those ads where companies pat themselves on the back? Cringy, right? The best ads tell the story of a client or consumer’s first-hand experience. 

This especially helpful if your client base is local. Word-of-mouth from a friend, relative or co-worker is the best form of advertising around and will go further than an ad as far as conversion.


Tips for showcasing social proof:

  • Send requests for reviews (automate this if you can)
  • Email customers asking for a testimonial (automate this if you can)
  • Use LinkedIn recommendations
  • Optimize your website to simplify review submissions
  • Create case studies based on customer experiences
  • Share video testimonials of your client’s experience

Caitlin Stedman

In addition to being Advokate's Marketing & Communication Director, I own the film production company Snarky Aardvark Films, LLC, in Queensbury where I live with my dog, Vinny. Helping people succeed in a way that aligns with their values is my passion. I enjoy planning and executing anything clients may need to thrive. My work experience is varied but it all centers around community interaction and project management. I especially love Instagram!