Social proof is a psychological term, which, simply put, is the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something, and they then assume the actions of the other. It’s a form of social influence.
So, for example, by showing what other people are doing will hopefully increase the chance of influencing other people to follow suit. Social psychologist, Professor Robert Cialdini demonstrated this using the example of highlighting specific dishes on a restaurant menu as ‘our most popular dishes’ and then seeing resulting sales of these rise by between 13 and 20 percent.
He also used the example of a sign in a hotel room which says ‘75% of people use their hotel towels more than once’. This then increased the influence of people reusing their towels by 25 percent – a significant rise in numbers.
Or using a typically British example, if we see a queue, we wonder ‘what it’s for, should we join it, are we missing out on something’? It raises our curiosity, if other people are doing it, and it’s ok, then it must be ok for us to do it too! It’s like following the herd mentality.
In a business context, it’s a way of attracting and influencing consumer behaviour. In a society where companies are constantly battling for consumer attention, particularly with the advent of the internet, social proof is a way of enticing interest.
So how does this relate to video testimonials?
Well, I would argue that they too are a form of social proof, a way of encouraging potential customers to also use your service, by demonstrating how effective it is and confirming that it’s acceptable for them to use it too.
It’s a great marketing tool to help you put your head above the parapet and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Confirming that your business is trustworthy, and using a third party to say, on video, positive comments about your company should have the same effect as ‘the most popular dishes on the menu’. It should lead to increased sales.
In addition, the person that is telling their story on video has extra kudos if they are well known – it’s like the equivalent of a celebrity endorsing a product – if Usain Bolt has got Virgin Media in his house, then it must be good, and I should get it too. Therefore, if there is a particular customer that has used your service that is well known in the business community, then it’s worth seeing if they are happy to be the one that is filmed. They will help leverage your brand, and make it more socially acceptable to use your company.
Social media is one of the biggest examples of social proof that we have in today’s society, particularly when it comes to Twitter. Consider how many millions of followers certain celebrities have, again, if you see other people following a celebrity, social proof will mean that you are more likely to follow them yourself.
Combining video testimonials on social media is therefore a no brainer!
So, there you have it. Psychological proof that video testimonials work. What more evidence do you need? If others are using it, then shouldn’t you be too…