When we sit down with our clients and start designing their specific marketing plan, we often discuss something called Social Proof. And if you have been reading our blogs or watching our videos, you would have heard us mention this on many occasions.
So, what exactly is Social Proof?
As part of our intrinsic nature and psychology as humans, we tend to want confirmation of our decisions by a greater number of people so we can feel more comfortable about these decisions. This is especially true if they are large decisions or if we don’t have a lot of other information. These intrinsic motivators are very difficult to override, as they form part of our basic fundamentals, much like a survival mechanism.
Let’s travel back in time 100,000 years. We are part of a tribe and walking through the forest. The tribe stops to eat at a bush with berries, so we eat those too and are nourished. We pass another tree with fruit, but no one eats from that, so we don’t either, and we live. We learn following conformity keeps us alive.
Society may have developed significantly over the last few millennia, but like many physical and psychological aspects about humans, we are still tied to our distance ancestors and it is these aspects that continue to dictate our actions even in today’s society.
To use a modern-day example, let’s take a strip of restaurants. You pass the first restaurant, and it seems pretty full, people laughing and enjoying themselves. You pass the next, and it is just about empty – which one do you choose, when you know little about either?
The first is packed, so it must be good, right? Otherwise, why would all those people be there? Similarly, the second must be bad. If no one is eating in it, there must be something wrong.
This illustrates social proof at work. Our decision was influenced solely on the actions of others. This also shows you can have both positive social proof (the full restaurant) or negative social proof (the empty restaurant).
How does social proof relate to marketing your home?
Let’s take open homes as one example. One of the main reasons we run open homes is to help create positive social proof. Firstly, we strive to form an environment about the home, which creates positive emotive triggers such as want, need, lust etc. This is achieved in both the preparation and presentation of the home, along with how the home is marketed.
If you have done this right and been loud and proud by advertising everywhere (casting a large net), you will create a lot of interest, which will translate to more people in the home.
Next, you open the home for a relatively short time, say 30 minutes. This will ensure as many people as possible will ‘eyeball’ each other whilst still allowing enough time for interested parties to take in the home and not be rushed. You have now created the ‘crowded’ restaurant.
The inner monologue of the people will be “wow, this is packed, it must be a good home” or “all these people, it must be a fair price” or even better “Damn, all these people, I better do something, or I am going to miss out”. Congratulations, you have created positive Social Proof plus a perceived sense of competition that will all ultimately help your final price substantially.
What’s the opposite of social proof?
The opposite can happen too. Having no-one at an open home will bring a different negative inner monologue. “Hmmm, this place is empty, I wonder what they know that I don’t?” or “No one here, what’s wrong with this joint?”. And if you do manage to convince someone to buy, they will err on the side of caution and offer low. Plus, they now feel they hold the power as you have no one else, so they believe they can dictate the terms.
Now you can see why Social Proof is such an important aspect of (neuro) marketing and cannot be ignored if you wish to achieve top dollar for your home. And it is one important ingredient in the successful marketing of your home.
Written by Shawn Kristofer