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Social proof: what is it and how to use it in marketing

Here’s what social proof is, and how you can harness it to grow your brand and increase the effectiveness of your sales.

If you’ve ever spent any time with a marketing professional, you’ll know that they consider themselves as quasi-psychologists – and they really are.

The work of marketers hinges on a deep understanding of how people think, behave and react.

So, it should come as no surprise to learn that the latest buzzwords in marketing, including ‘social proof’, have roots in a psychological concept that lies at the heart of the human experience.

Here’s what social proof is, and how you can harness it to boost your brand awareness and increase the effectiveness of your sales funnel and bottom-line results.

What is social proof?

Social proof is a psychological concept that recognises that people have an unconscious or conscious desire to conform in order to be liked or validated by others.

We see social proof playing out in much of our own decisions. We might choose our clothing based on social trends; we might buy products because they have been endorsed by influential people; even our opinions on really important issues such as COVID-19 vaccinations can be reinforced by the opinions of those close to us or leaders we may never have met but who are highly regarded.

Social proof comes from politicians, celebrities, corporates and brands, our friends and family, and the wider community in general, and it exists in real life and online.

Why is social proof important?

Social proof is essential in marketing because, put simply, telling the world that your product or service is great isn’t enough. To yield maximum marketing outcomes, you need to show that others agree.

Social proofing can bolster your marketing efforts at every stage of your sales cycle.

Leads will be attractive to a product or service that has a buzz, and they will be driven down to the conversion phase of the buying cycle by recommendations and endorsements.

The stats around social proofing back up the theory. Multiple studies have shown that about 40 per cent of consumers find new brands to follow online based on recommendations; while 90 per cent of buyers read online reviews before making a purchase; and more than 80 per cent ask for referrals and recommendations before making any kind of purchase.

How can you use social proof in marketing?

Here are some simple ways to boost your social proof via marketing:

Case studies

Put simply, case studies provide evidence that your business provides results.

Including facts and figures in your marketing show that your solution has worked for others and is particularly effective in the B2B space. For example, this software helped an established branch reach their targets, or this campaign enabled another company to fill an event.

If you are a consumer in the same situation, you can trust that this will work just as it has for others.

Reviews and testimonials

There’s a reason why Facebook is so intent on reminding us that these friends of yours like a particular company – because recommendations work. It provides assurances that the decision you’re leaning towards is the one chosen by others.

Recommendations from people you trust are great, but if you’re a business using reviews from lesser-known people, elevate them by including their title and organisation.

Customer feedback

If your customers have had a positive experience, share it.

Customer feedback is particularly effective at the pointy end of the sales funnel, when your customer knows they want to make the purchase but need a little help getting across the line.

Share trust icons

They are the little symbols that scream social proof: logos of companies who are your clients or customers, and logos of partners work a treat.

They tell the world that you work with known and highly regarded partners, and that high-performing companies choose you.

Trust icons can also include media organisations that featured or reviewed your business, bureaus or professional organisations of which you are a member, or social media influencers who have endorsed your offering.


Sharing milestones is a great way to reinforce social proof.

You will have seen these before: “One million burgers sold!”, “Two thousand houses built!”, “Five thousand Instagram followers!”

While these might at first appear to be not-so-subtle pats on the back, what they are really telling potential customers is that many people like us and are happy with our service.

Speak to the social proof professionals

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne, with skilled and experienced quasi-psychologists (AKA marketing experts) that design marketing strategies based on a deep understanding about consumer buying behaviour and digital marketing.

To find out how we can help your business, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or send us a note via the contact form below.

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