Social Media Marketing

Social Proof on Instagram: What Is It and How You Can Use It to Grow Your Account?

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Turning your Instagram account into a roaring success requires a combination of basic tactics and more advanced strategies. Social proof is one of the latter, and those who manage to master it will have a definite advantage.

Penned by Robert Cialdini in 1984, social proof is a psychological phenomenon that seems to have been created with Instagram in mind. Today, social proof can help you convince more people to buy your products or choose your services. But how can a decades-old concept be trending in this time and age? 

Come with us to discover how social proof can help you grow your Instagram account and boost your revenue. This article explores the very meaning of social proof and the various ways you can use it for your Instagram marketing efforts.

Ready? Let’s prove the value of social proof for Instagram.

Let’s start with the beginning: what’s social proof?

In its by-the-book definition, social proof is what drives people to follow the actions of others. Robert Cialdini, recognized as one of the most prominent voices in the field of influence, constructed the social proof model to explain what happens when people have no idea what to do.

To understand what social proof means, think about a situation in which you were uncertain. Maybe you were pondering whether or not to buy a product, or perhaps you were in doubt about what vacation destination to choose. 

What did you do? We’ll bet our following count that you tried to settle the issue through research. Chances are you searched for product reviews, articles, or even experts’ advice on what to do. Let us break it to you gently: you were looking for social proof. But you’re not alone.

We all want proof to guide and reinforce our choices. Sure, we might have no idea that our behaviour falls under the social proof model, but it doesn’t mean we don’t act as prescribed by it. Truth is that looking for evidence is second nature to humans. Luckily for us, in the world of social media, it’s easier than ever to get our hands on tons of evidence. 

As a brand or business, you can take advantage of this by sharing the types of info your followers might be looking for. 

Why use social proof on Instagram

The latest research shows that more and more people use Instagram to discover new products and services. In fact, 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business and a staggering 83% of Instagrammers use the platform as a discovery tool. 

And you can bet that once they discover the products they need, they’ll start searching for proof to make up their mind. And who do you think they will turn to on Instagram? Influencers, of course. However, there are also other creative ways to offer Instagrammers evidence that your offer is the one.

Social proof on Instagram comes as a powerful strategy to increase your chances of being picked by users. As Instagram competition is intensifying, it’s no longer enough to have your products or services on display. You need to tell an authentic story and carry your followers through a buyers’ journey from awareness to consideration and decision.

Yes, you need social proof on Instagram. But how does it translate into concrete actions and tactics?

How to use social proof on Instagram

The first thing that comes to mind when speaking about social proof on Instagram are influencers. Fair enough. But we want to help you take your strategy a notch further. So here are some efficient tactics of generating social proof on Instagram.

Get your verification badge

Verified Instagram accounts have more authority in front of followers. To get your verification badge, you must request an account verification from your Settings menu. To apply, you’ll have to fill in an application form and submit a photo of your ID.

verification badge as social proof on Instagram

Have experts take over your Instagram account

Instagram takeovers are a great way to gain followers’ attention and build authority. By inviting an expert in a field related to your business address customers, you can encourage positive associations with your brand. Plus, an experts’ opinion will educate your followers and guide them in their buyers’ journey — one step closer to purchasing from you.

How to plan and implement an awesome Instagram takeover? Consider doing an Instagram Live or announcing in advance that a certain expert will be posting on behalf of your account on a specific day.

Share user-generated content

Encourage user-generated content and don’t let it go unremarked. 

Make sure you interact and thank the users who decided to mention you — after all, that’s the best testimonial you could ask for. Don’t forget to share the content on your profile for an even bigger social proof impact. 

If you decide to share it as a story, make it evergreen by adding it in your highlights. 

Display customer testimonials on your profile

Customer testimonials are the core of social proof. On Instagram you can repurpose reviews as Instagram stories or even create carousel posts to display your customers’ opinions. The great thing with Instagram is that reviews can take any form, from captions to images and even videos.

Take a look at this example from @clek, who decided to create a Stories highlights category, especially for their customers’ reviews. 

Create unique influencer campaigns

Last, but certainly not least, use the power of micro-influencers to spread your social proof. But don’t settle for the norm. Go beyond simple influencer endorsements and create powerful campaigns that have an authenticity label attached to them.

Check out this great campaign from Hyundai and influencer @chelseakauai, who went above and beyond with the photos and caption. In essence, the campaign is so impressive because it embodies an authentic way of life (great compatibility between brand and influencer).

Influencer campaign as social proof

Ready to use social proof to enhance your Instagram marketing?

Instagram is all about community engagement. That’s why social proof fits so well within its format. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking how important it is.

To focus on advanced strategies as social proof, declutter your schedule from repetitive tasks such as posting. Preppr is here to have your back and help you get organized so that you have time to get creative. 

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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