It is human nature to follow the crowd. After all, when a group of people are running a certain direction, it is usually for a reason.
This tendancy to follow others relies on the powerful psychological trick of social proof.
Social proof becomes extremely powerful when it is personally very close to us.
Think about how you take recommendations. An anonymous review on a website has a certain influence on your purchase decision.
Contrast that with a recommendation from a coworker or neighbor. Or a recommendation from a trusted friend, partner, or spouse.
Each recommendation has more influence and power the closer it is to you personally.
Personally Localized Social Proof
When social proof is centered around you, or localized to you, it is extremely influencial in your decisions.
Imagine that you are an engineer browsing the Acme Company website. You start to see references to your company. You are intrigued and click on a link with your company name. From there you see a testimonial of someone at your company telling you how great Acme Company is and that they already use Acme’s products successfully.
Immediately, you start to trust Acme Company because someone you trust already trusts them. This is the power of social proof on steroids.
Localized social proof hits so close to home that customers can’t help but notice.
Geographically Localized Social Proof
The same principle applies with geographically-based social proof.
If you think Acme Company is a huge global company but start to see references to your hometown, you may give them a try because you think they are local.
The New York Times had a geographically-based social proof ad at the bottom of one of their articles I read recently:
Notice how they used my state (Texas) to catch my eye and try to influence me.
When you use localized social proof, customers start to trust you because someone they trust (at your company, in your industry, from your hometown) already trusts you. This borrowed trust is a great foundation upon which to build a relationship with a potential customer. It opens the doors for opportunities you didn’t previously have.
Consider how you can sprinkle some localized social proof into your marketing messaging. How can you leverage targeted, specific social proof messages to help grab your customer’s attention and gain credibility in their eyes?