Have you heard the term social proof? Did you wonder what it meant? The term is used most often when discussing the impact or influence of word of mouth marketing but in reality, social proof is a lot more than that. It’s really a documented psychological phenomenon where people adopt the actions of others in an effort to reflect standard or acceptable behavior for culture or situation.
Basically, we are hardwired to follow the crowd because we assume that if others are behaving in a certain way, it must be a good idea. Social proof is the reason that your mother used to ask the teenage you, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?” and if you were being truthful, you probably would have said “Yes!”
Why is a social proof so important?
Social proof is WOM on steroids. It lends power to any marketing campaign by inspiring trust and giving you an edge over your competition. Customers are more apt to believe a positive event review on your Facebook page than a boosted post from you on the same page. And that positive review can be a convenient decision maker if a prospective attendee can’t decide between your event and a competitor’s event. And in the end, social proof is relatively cheap and easy to leverage when compared to other marketing strategies.
Let’s review some of the most common forms of social proof that you can use to build awareness and ticket sales for your events.
The most common form of social proof is testimonials. Positive customer testimonials are a powerful tool. That vote of confidence can be very impactful. According to recent research, 91% of consumers read online reviews and 84% trust reviews as much as a personal endorsement. We’ve written a blog dedicated to ways you can use testimonials when promoting your event. Learn More
Influencer marketing has been considered the fastest-growing consumer-acquisition channel. Today, about 56% of companies use influencers to drive sales. The market has expanded considerably to include both offline and online efforts as well as all types of people as influencers. Gone are the days of needing a celebrity in order to drive influencer attention! Read our blog on leveraging influencers to sell tickets to your events.
Organizational endorsement or ratings
If you are hosting business-related events, collecting endorsements and/or ratings from industry organizations or business leaders is an effective form of social proof. According to Voices.com, placing business or association logos on your event website can increase conversions by as much as 400%.
57% of consumers will only buy or use a business service if it has at least a 4-star rating. While user testimonials can convey value or positive user experience, a business endorsement offers trust. Approach a couple of respected organizations and ask to make a deal that is mutually beneficial to both parties or apply to be evaluated for a standardized industry rating survey.
Along the same lines as organizational endorsements, collecting industry certifications are important to build positive social proof. Website visitors will look for those logos on your site. Check out the Better Business Bureau for your company certification and don’t forget about event planning certifications like the CMP and CSEP for your professional certifications. This also includes making sure your social media channels are verified if you’re in a very competitive industry or your competitors have similar names.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Testimonials and reviews are great but a photo is worth 1000 words. This is absolutely true. A video is exponentially greater. But authenticity is important. Event attendees are not often wowed by stock photos of plastic, smiling people listening to a faceless speaker. They want to picture themselves in the crowd, being inspired or learning something new. UGC can build your social media following and drive traffic to your website. Encourage your attendees to upload their photos and videos of your event to your digital platforms or to their own digital platforms using a hashtag. This is especially impactful on visual social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.
There is an infinite number of ways to show social proof both online and offline. Any opportunity to collect, react to, and leverage attendee attitude in order to drive event ticket sales is a chance to build social proof. It’s an incredibly effective method for promoting your company and your events. To illustrate the strategy, we are going to ask for your opinions and testimonials in the comments below! You can help us build our own social proof. Thanks!