Inner Circle

Event Marketing  

How to Use Social Proof in Event Marketing

by Kimberly Hardcastle-Geddes


There’s a reason that the average consumer reads 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision — people trust recommendations from other people. Understandably, we put more stock in what users and experts have to say than in promotional messaging. And that’s what makes social proof such an effective tool for event marketers. Here are five ways to leverage this tried-and-true concept to convert attendee prospects:


Bring in the experts (and celebrities). Industry luminaries are often thought of when creating speaker lineups and influencer marketing strategies. But even if you’re not bringing them in as official influencers for your attendee acquisition campaign, a few words of praise or simply having their names associated with your brand can go a long way. In a recent campaign for a large foodservice client, mdg leveraged the words of renowned food and beverage experts to add credibility to the show’s brand. Even though the quotes spoke to the state of the industry instead of the event itself, having their names associated with the brand helped prospects see the show as in tune with their field and trusted by people in the know.


Showcase past attendees. Give your prospects opportunities to hear what their peers gained by attending your show (or what they’re looking forward to this year), and they’ll have an easier time picturing themselves on-site.


Go with the crowd. When a large group is seen to be endorsing your brand, other people want to know what it’s all about — and FOMO kicks in. Highlight the organization behind your show and any related associations or stakeholders involved with it. Also consider positioning your event as the place where key members of the industry gather to shape next practices and trends.


Don’t forget the friends. When prospects see that people they know liked a post about your event or RSVP’d, they’re much more likely to consider attending. Regular posting can help ensure that more of your prospects have the chance to see names they recognize in a list of likes. Leveraging partner in promotion tactics (like scripted posts and images that make it easy for speakers, exhibitors and even other attendees to promote their presence at your event) can also lead to more conversions.


Seek certification. For products, a “certified by” line with the name of a well-known, standard-setting organization instantly adds credibility and creates trust. It’s a little different for events, but the same idea applies. Think of authoritative figures in your industry who can give your show their stamp of approval and feature their endorsement in your campaign materials. For example, showcasing a keynote session with a speaker from a respected company in your field will read as a sort of certification for your event.


A version of this article originally appeared in PCMA Convene.