Social Proofing and the power of Influencers
How often do you do something, just because you see a group of others doing it?
Maybe you’ve lined up to get into a bar because everyone else seemed to be. (And found it weirdly empty when you got in.) Or watched a show laced with professional clappers or canned laughter. (Everyone else is laughing; I’ll laugh too!) And what about those people standing behind pollies in their press conferences and nodding at everything they say? (The person speaking must be saying something good if everyone is nodding, right?)
Hello social proofing! Social proofing is a term coined way back in 1984 and reflects the phenomenon of ‘informational social influence’. Ultimately we’re left thinking something is good, because ‘everyone else’ seems to affirm it.
Most of us have an inherent desire to fit in, and social proofing can be a really useful thing to bring into your marketing strategy. Consumers look for affirmation on what products to buy, places to go, brands to interact with. Tactics like implied popularity (“Australia’s favourite…!”), showcasing 5 star ratings and endorsements are all ways we see social proofing in play. And then of course there’s influencer marketing.
We’ve all tried a product or brand because someone we know recommended it. Influencers do this at scale, giving ideas and recommendations to an audience of people who choose to follow them. These followers enjoy their content and place some degree of trust in the content, essentially making the followers a high quality lead.
So what is best practice around partnering with an influencer? A recent WARC study provided a useful overview, which I’ve summarised below:
- Consumers want to see authentic relationships between brands and influencers. You know your brands values, so look for an influencer with aligning values. Nothing screams paid ad more then someone using a product that has nothing to do with their regular content!
- A consumer’s trust in an influencer has more impact on the purchase decision than an influencer just making a recommendation. Your own brand trust can be reinforced by partnering with a well chosen influencer.
- Consistency is key – repeated engagement through a long-term partnership or an ‘always on’ component helps your brand become established to an influencer’s community of followers. Over time you can get a feel for what people engage with the most, continue to refine your strategy and add value.
- Consider your audience – Gen Z is the audience most likely to follow influencers, but they want to see content that’s actually valuable to them, from real people with knowledge in the area. Influencers with huge popularity often fall short here, with mid-level and micro-infuencers tending to have more engaged audiences.
A number of AFFINITY clients have added influencer-led content to their marketing mix over the past few years, and we work with both client and influencer to ensure activity delivers at both strategic and brand levels. If you’d like to discuss the opportunities for social proofing your brand, reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you.
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