Social proof is a term first coined by author Robert Cialdini in 1984. However, it is a phenomenon that has been studied since the early 1900’s. It is the generalised concept that people will follow the masses. The belief being that if so many people are doing a behaviour, then it must be the correct or better thing to do.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) can bridge onto this concept too – a pervasive apprehension that you are absent or excluded from a rewarding experience. This is a type of social anxiety, fuelled by a desire to be constantly connected with what others are doing. Social media is the obvious way for people to stay tuned into what others are up to.
Your brand can make use of FOMO to amplify your social proof and grow. Put simply, FOMO can create urgency, which consistently entices customers to spend more money. Whether it is a flash sale or limited stock numbers – communicate the sense of urgency to your customers and motivate them to act with haste. Countdown timers and posts highlighting the dwindling timeframes will help accelerate this process.
The FOMO of today is firmly rooted in social media as people’s social lives are increasingly transparent across these platforms. Come up with an idea that’s relative to your product or experience and create a user generated content competition. Eg. a photo competition of your sunscreen brand being used in exotic places far and wide. Have your customer’s post to their own profile and create a sense of FOMO amongst their friends and followers. Your customers feel like they are collaborating with your brand and it’s also an opportunity to gain new followers.
Activate your follower’s FOMO by offering them up some exclusivity – whether this is in the form of a loyalty program or elite club. Make your customers feel special and valued as well as offering them exclusive discounts or limited offers.
FOMO is a very complex subject however, the above are simple ways to integrate the use of FOMO into your marketing campaigns, priming your customers to act and ensuring your brand is relevant in this increasingly digital age.