I’m planning a trip to San Francisco (sidenote: so excited).
I’ve never stayed in the city before, so I’ve been Googling and Pinterest-ing like crazy, trying to find the best insider information for my itinerary. And I have a ton. Too much, actually. I’m so inundated with information that I don’t even know where to begin.
So where did I turn? Facebook. I asked my contacts if they had any suggestions for things to do and places to stay. I got some fabulous replies — and I booked a hotel based on the feedback I got.
That, my friends, is social proof.
Also called social influence, social proof is when someone uses the actions or reactions of others to help him or her make a decision. Or, if you want to get really Wiki-technical:
“Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.”
People are being influenced on social media all day, every day. So how can your school control or leverage social proof in a positive way?
In the TechCrunch post “Social Proof Is The New Marketing“, Aileen Lee writes about five types of social proof. Here’s how to consider each in the context of your school’s marketing:
This is social proof that comes from someone with a known or respected authority. Think magazine articles or highly regarded writers or bloggers.
Pretty straightforward: like expert social proof, this type of influence comes from a well-known name. But remember: “celebrity” nowadays is a broad term. Because of social media, everyday individuals who produce great content can amass a celebrity-like following.
This comes from “customers” (aka, students, families, even faculty and staff). They know your school, because they’re part of the school community. That gives them lots of credibility — and lots of influence.
“Over 1 Billion Served”. Yep, this one has to do with sheer numbers. Because if lots of people like something, it has to be good, right?
The people you know and love in real life are huge influencers on decision-making. In fact, in a recent study, 68% of millennials said they trust peer review of products — which is more than they trust professional reviews!
Those are five types of social proof that you can use to win friends and influence people online, but there are many more. How is your school creatively utilizing social influence? Share your ideas or success stories in the comments!