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Let Them Talk – how to use Social Proof in practice

social proof of equity

“Let them talk” is not only the debut album of actor Hugh Laurie, known for his title role in the series House MD. It is also a sentence that should be considered by every entrepreneur who wants to improve the effectiveness of marketing in their business. Using statements and customer activity is an effective way to attract new consumers but also to encourage those unconvinced to use our services or buy a product.

  • What do we gain from social proof
  • How to use it in our business? 
  • How to approach this topic creatively?

Social Proof can be used by placing customer logos on your websi…Not this time! I would like to introduce a few more unconventional methods than just pasting the names of contractors on the website. At the beginning, however, a word of explanation. Using social proof is not an e-commerce dark magic or a trick to fool customers. It is showing and communicating the strengths that we have. Allowing the recipient to look at products and services not from our side as the owner of the company, but rather putting ourselves in the shoes of existing customers and convincing ourselves that our offer suits both parties.

I will not give the definition of Social Proof, everyone can find such information themselves, for example in the classic “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Cialdini. In this article I would like to present several methods of using Social Proof in marketing activities, in particular by Polish brands. First of all: tactics of global corporations may not always be adapted to Polish realities. Secondly: in our market we can also find many great examples that are worth following.

User Generated Content

User Generated Content is content created and shared by the company’s end users / clients. Usually these are photos, video materials, reviews – all characterized by the fact that they contain information about a particular brand.

What are the benefits of using user-created content?

  • Saving time. Each material that we, as a company, do not need to produce is a time saver for us. Instead, we may develop other content, focus on post responses or brand marketing strategy;
  • Saving money. Graphic designers, copywriters, social media specialists – professionals cost money. Thanks to the content shared by users, we can invest in other, additional activities;
  • Community building. Fans often feel appreciated if their favorite brand just shares the photo they took. As a result, they become more loyal and feel part of something bigger, a community;
  • Earning audience trust. When other people inform about our brand on their personal profiles, it means that it is more reliable than the one about which we can only find information in paid articles, right?
  • Self-propelled wheel. The more people share information about our company…the greater the chance that more people will see it and also share it. “If she put it on her Instagram, why shouldn’t I?”

What are the risks associated with such activities?

  • Copyrighted materials created by users. Let’s put it simply – we should not steal photos or videos made by our fans, considering them “ours”. How to solve it? I will give 2 simple options.
    First of all: on Instagram we can repost photos on which our profile has been tagged. Thanks to this, we don’t post content as ours, we only share it further.
    Secondly: we can ask the author to use a given photo. From my experience, the vast majority of people agree without hesitation, asking only to mark them as authors;
  • Monotony. Remember that we should not focus only on content shared by users. Fans follow us because they like our brand and how we operate. Let’s not forget about our own content, which should be consistent with the company’s vision and values;
  • Poor quality of visual content. You should pay attention here when working with the beauty industry, where our look is very important. If our brand has the image of an exclusive company, we cannot share poor quality photos. This will disrupt our communication strategy and discourage the target group.

Mokosh Cosmetics and photo sharing of fans on Instagram Stories

Mokosh is a Polish producer of natural cosmetics. Due to the good reputation among their clients, who often and regularly use social media as Instagram, photos of the brand’s products are willingly shared on this platform, very often as Instagram Stories.

It’s a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity, right? The Mokosh brand is also aware of that and therefore systematically reposts photos of fans in their channels.

social proof of equity
Source: Instagram MOKOSH Cosmetics

Moreover, they created a dedicated hashtag #mojemokosh (eng. #mymokosh), which they use as part of the competition for brand fans. The best Mokosh product photos taken by the company’s client are awarded. These photos are shared later in the “Stories Highlights” section.

social proof of equity
Source: Instagram MOKOSH Cosmetics

I would like to mention that Mokosh uses the opinions of its clients on the website in an interesting way. On specific products they place recommendations of the customers themselves that give opinions on them after purchase. Not opinions about the company as a whole, but about specific products.

social proof of equity
Source: Mokosh Cosmetics website
Reviews
Kamila: The butter has a beautiful smell. It wonderfully oils the body. I will definitely buy it again 🙂
Monika: A wonderful smell, efficient due to its consistency, perfectly moisturizes the body. Met my expectations, I highly recommend it and it will be 100% on my list of body care cosmetics.
Magdalena: A beautiful smell that lasts long. Great moisturizing.
Elżbieta: Moisturizes, smells beautiful and does not leave oily skin.
Mirka: A very good moisturizer.
Dorota: A very pleasant product. Nice to use. I will definitely come back for more.

It is easier to trust the company and products about which you can read positive reviews from real users.

Just Join IT and sharing photos of programming setups.

Just Join IT is a job board for programmers, “a map of the labor market for Polish programmers”, as they write on their website.

The portal has created the hashtag #justjoinit, which instagrammers can use to have pictures of their setups (workplaces, computers and other equipment) reposted on the Just Join IT profile. The company itself officially informs about how to do it in its bio.

social proof of equity
Source: justjoin.it Instagram

Hashtag is regularly and willingly used by programmers, thanks to which they can show professional equipment on which they work and share it with development brotherhood. A startup from Gdańsk, on the other hand, reaches its target group and builds brand awareness and recognition.

social proof of equity
Source: justjoin.it Instagram

People like to share what they create, but only with the brands they sympathize with. If developers want their photos to appear on the Just Join IT profile, then they sympathize with the portal. There is also a high probability that they use it. Such actions, using Social Proof, allow the brand to reach their network of contacts.

Magic numbers

It’s no secret that people like numbers. They give the opportunity to visualize what is hard to explain by the text itself. Moreover, “numbers don’t lie” – they are a specific value, confirmation of the words of the brand.

How to use them?

Maciej Aniserowicz and sale of Droga Nowoczesnego Architekta (DNA) (The Way of a Modern Architect) programme.

The presale and sale of Droga Nowoczesnego Architekta course published by Maciej Aniserowicz not only ended with a record amount when it comes to online courses in Poland (PLN 6,000,000! – in the first edition). This is also a great example of using Social Proof in sales.

Maciej openly and regularly communicated on his channels the progress in the pre-sale and sale of The Way of a Modern Architect course, giving specific numbers that were flowing into his bank account. Thanks to this, he not only gained the attention of the media, which eagerly and with a hint of excitement shared the news about ever new broken records, but also proved that programmers trust him (and his team) every day by spending considerable amounts on the online course.

social proof of equity
Source: Maciej Aniserowicz LinkedIn Profile

The progress was impressive, as was the final presale result. And this was just the beginning, because Aniserowicz’s team was ready for the final sale 🙂

social proof of equity
Source: Maciej Aniserowicz LinkedIn Profile
Maciej Aniserowicz:
First, a PLN 1,000,000 within a week
then the second million in 1 day
Is something important happening in Polish online business today?
Thank you for such trust!

Specificity regarding the number of course participants is also provided on the website.

social proof of equity
Source: The Way of a Modern Architect website
As many as 3,000 programmers use the program, maybe you should too? 😉

More about the use of the above methods Maciej Aniserowicz tells in the 294 episode of the Mała Wielka Firma podcast (eng. Small Big Company). I encourage you to listen to it in Polish!

Poland Business Run Foundation and reports on image-building activities.

The Poland Business Run Foundation helps people with mobility impairments by raising money on the largest charity relay-race organized by them in Poland. Employees of large corporations take part in the race.

The Foundation publishes a report in which it provides numbers related to the image-building activities they perform for the above-mentioned corporations as part of CSR activities (CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility).

Imagine a situation in which a corporation has an image slip-up. There is a problem and you need to improve the company’s position among potential employees of the company.

And here comes the Poland Business Run Foundation, whose – as we know from the report – tones are 99.8% positive or neutral.

social proof of equity
Source: Report on image-building activities Poland Business Run 2019

Since as many as 99.8% of publications are perceived as positive or neutral, it means that people have good associations with the Foundation, right? 🙂 If we support the campaign and the logo of our company appears on the list of partners and promotional materials, then we are also automatically associated with positive emotions.

Let’s add the equivalent advertising value in millions of PLN and growing from year to year. Isn’t it worth continuing your sponsorship in the coming years?

Source: Report on image-building activities Poland Business Run 2019

And this is just the beginning. We also get specific data on the satisfaction of runners (corporate employees) from participating in the action, which improves the company’s internal employer branding.

80% of sponsors declare support in the next edition? If so many, so should I! 🙂

Effectively and in a short time – Lean Marketing Sprint

We use the Effect of Social Proof in Project: People regularly during cooperation with our clients as well. I’ll show you one example based on marketing and PR activities.

Omni Calculator and #Pączkowanie (eng. #donuting) action.

Omni Calculator is a Krakow startup that offers on its website the ability to easily calculate everything that can be counted, including body mass index (BMI) or how much shorter the life of the smoker will be. For Omni, we conducted Lean Marketing Sprint in 2017 – an effective marketing campaign lasting…a week.

#Pączkowanie (eng. #donuting) is an action promoting calculators on the Omni Calculator website, and especially one on Fat Thursday. It’s about counting the hours of sex you need to burn the number of donuts given 😉

In this action, we used the Social Proof in many ways.

  • We reached the media and took care of informing them about our campaign and a special calculator, thanks to which a dozen or so publications about the Donuting campaign finally appeared on the Internet. We’ve published the publications on the Omni Calculator Facebook page. Large portals, such as Gazeta Wyborcza, Playboy or Spider’s Web wrote about the campaign, which proved that the calculator is worth using.
social proof of equity
Source: Omni Calculator Company Fanpage on Facebook
Omni Calculator: And it happened, we also landed in Playboy!
Playboy: After eating the donuts, it’s worth burning those calories the same day. And how do we like to burn calories the most? Of course during sex! Are you curious about how much love you need to make tonight due to the increased consumption of donuts? It’s easy to calculate. At least if you have the right calculator. And this one especially for today’s occasion was created by Omni Calculator.
  • In addition to informing about external publications, we posted regularly about the number of likes of the fanpage itself. Thanks to this, visitors have seen that the number of “likes” is growing rapidly during a short period of time and it is worth joining this trend.
social proof of equity
Source: Omni Calculator Company Fanpage on Facebook
Omni Calculator: Today, probably everyone is wondering how to burn all those donuts eaten yesterday 🙂 Since the number of likes has just exceeded 500 <3 So which ways to burn calories have you already tested?
Donuting
Calories might be burned in different ways. Some are more efficient, some more pleasant 🙂 The donut calculator counts how much time it will take us to burn Thursday donuts.
  • Content such as the above calculator is eagerly shared on social media. The whole action was designed to achieve the effect of virality, which definitely succeeded. A well-conducted Lean Marketing Sprint leads to large ranges, which is really a self-propelled machine. The more people see other people’s posts, the more – based on social proof – they decide to use and share the calculator.

This effect was also supported by monitoring the Internet using Brand24 and responding to all mentions of the calculator.

Are you interested in Lean Marketing Sprint? Check Lean Marketing Sprint Canvas, a tool that will help you design a weekly marketing campaign:
https://www.projectpeople.pl/biblioteka-narzedzi-pdf/pl/Lean_Marketing_Sprint_Canvas_pl_a3_pp.pdf

Closing remarks

There are of course more methods of using Social Proof. From the logo or recommendations on the website mentioned at the beginning, through:

  • “This apartment has just been booked, I’m sorry! Check this (…) ”served by Booking.com portals;
  • “Last 2 places available in this price”, by Ryanair or Wizzair;
  • “Sold out today” The Lumberjack’s Sandwich by McDonald’s.

Finally, I would like to say one more example from the Krakow’s market. GoodLood ice cream parlor has been a popular place to buy ice cream in Krakow for some time. It has become popular due to a great product, large scoops of ice cream, a modern approach to the customer, a mobile application or a loyalty program. However, at one of the meetups in Krakow, there were rumors that GoodLood owes its success to…queues! Queues, which were to show that since so many people are waiting for ice cream, it means that it is worth trying. A similar mechanism can be seen in the queues for casseroles in Krakow’s Kazimierz or at the premises of the Manekin creperie network in Warsaw.

A special Facebook page has been created, which informs if “there is a queue in GoodLood” 🙂

social proof of equity
Source: Is there a queue in GoodLood? Fanpage

Did the queues form themselves or did GoodLood help a little? I leave you with this question 🙂

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Grzegorz Górzyński
Creates and helps clients develop their marketing and business strategies.

He has gained experience in NGOs, corporations, startups, SMEs and agencies, thanks to which he looks at business holistically. He has worked with Facebook Inc. on the Global Developer Circles project.

He has trained several hundred people in marketing, social media and validation of business ideas. He stood on the stage of, among others, Social Media Week Warsaw, BOSS Festival, PR Camp.

He loves Lean Startup approach, travel and good food.

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