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Providing Social Proof

Donna Brooke

July 2019

Social proof can have a huge effect on building trust, because it taps into that fuzzy human logic that drives associative reasoning, including the fear of missing out (FOMO). 

Guests book bed and breakfasts based on the reviews they read, they try new restaurants based on how many people they see inside, and they buy products based on the testimonials they’ve read.

Even when people are impressed by your products and services, they almost always look at the actions of others to guide their decision-making process.

I’m often asked “but do you get bookings from your social media platforms?”, the simple truth is no, not directly. So why does building social proof actually work?

The strategy of incorporating social proof throughout your marketing plan has allowed many bed and breakfasts to grow in popularity and experience increased sales - albeit not directly.

Social proof has been known to help your bed and breakfast in three main ways:

  • Build trust
  • Add credibility
  • Validate and simplify your guest’s buying decision

Here is a brief outline as to how these social proof strategies actually work:


#1. Social Proof Builds Trust and Credibility

People trust other consumers more than they trust marketers.

No matter what arguments you’re going to use on your landing page, website or ads, your prospects will still believe your other customers more than you. For example, prospects are more likely to believe a guest testimonial than your polished marketing copy.

If you’ve ever launched a new product or a company, then you know how hard it is to convince others to try your product or book your service without any proof of how it’s helped others. Prospects don’t know if your product works, if it’ll meet their needs or even its quality.

Social proof, like reviews, testimonials or even the number of sales to date, show that other people have taken the leap and chosen you to help solve a problem.


#2 Social proof helps to validate the buying decision

Social proof makes it clear that buying your room will help guests emulate the traits they admire in their friends or even their idols. In fact, when creating a Facebook ad for example, you have the option of selecting an audience of “People Like Me”.

Think about how popular beats headphones are - Apple bought the brand for over $3 billion in 2015.  Celebrities wear them everywhere and more customers are buying them in the hopes of creating the same kind of prestige they believe.


#3 Social proof simplifies decision-making

People aren’t always the best at making decisions. We have so many options to choose from that we suffer from decision paralysis. Social proof provides a safe path of least resistance that we can follow without thinking about it.


To me, social proof is a given in this day and age. How you use it is also important. Is it time to look at what you are doing to provide social proof?

Donna Brooke

July 2019

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