What Is Social Proof, and Why Does It Matter for Your Event?

illustration of hand pointing to five stars coming out of tablet

Marketing is a vital part of event planning. You have to get the word out about what you’re planning and make sure the right people see your messages and advertisements. You also have to make that advertising compelling enough that they’ll want to attend. Incorporating elements of social proof in events marketing can help you do it all. Here’s how.

What Is Social Proof?

The concept of social proof originated in the field of psychology. It describes how people behave in social situations where they feel unsure of themselves. In those situations, people look at what others around them are doing to get an idea of how they should behave. They mirror the behaviors they see, which helps them feel more secure in unfamiliar situations.

Why does this matter for events?

It also describes how people behave when they’re considering making a purchase. This is especially so when it’s an item (or a service, or an event) that’s new to them. When purchasing a product that’s new to them, people look for recommendations from others. Certain kinds of recommendations carry more weight.

In fact, there are six forms of social proof. You can leverage all six kinds of social proof in your events marketing:

  • Expert: When an industry expert or thought leader recommends a product
  • Celebrity: Many celebrities tweet or post on Instagram endorsing products (and are usually paid for doing so).
  • User: Testimonials act as a vote of confidence from someone who’s used the product
  • Certification: A “seal of approval” from an individual or organization with recognized authority
  • Wisdom of the crowd: When lots of people endorse a particular product, it has a snowball effect that prompts new users to try it out. Sometimes it’s also a kind of FOMO (fear of missing out), where people try it because they don’t want to be the one person in the crowd who didn’t.
  • Family, friends, and peers: When people see someone they know use a product, they’re much more likely to try it themselves.

Of course, people respond to these different kinds of social proof in different ways. Some are influenced by expert recommendations but ignore celebrity endorsements. Others rush to buy products that their favorite celebrities or influencers post about on Instagram. And some read dozens of user reviews before buying any new product.

Whatever specific kind of social proof is involved, it tends to work better than a hard sell. After all, humans are social animals. We’re all individuals, but there are instances where we give in to the impulse to follow the crowd. Social proof lends authenticity and inspires trust. That helps people feel like they’re making the “right” purchasing decisions.

Everyone uses some form of social proof to help them make purchasing decisions. The question is, how can you use social proof in event marketing and management?

group of people seated and standing in an office

Use Social Proof to Market Your Event More Effectively

Social proof can give any product marketing campaign a healthy boost. And it’s just as effective when deployed as part of an event marketing campaign, providing you focus on the right kinds of social proof.

Here are some ways to incorporate social proof into an events marketing campaign.


Endorsements are simple but effective. For industry and business events, display endorsements from relevant organizations and brands on the event website. This can help convince website visitors that your event is legitimate and valuable. Legitimacy is of increasing concern these days, as scams are rife on the internet. Any endorsements you collect should be prominently displayed.


A testimonial is the most common form of social proof because most people will readily give their opinion of a product if asked. What’s more, they tend to be the form of social proof that people trust most because they’re viewed as non-biased and spontaneously given. Plus, when there are lots of reviews available, the “wisdom of the crowd” effect kicks in too.

Using testimonials is as easy as finding positive quotes from previous event attendees and displaying them prominently on your event website. Some other ways to use testimonials include:

  • Use testimonials as talking points to prove value for the event. This can help especially with getting decision-makers or stakeholders to sign off on an event or budget.
  • Use testimonials in your sell sheet to help you sell sponsorship or exhibitor packages.
  • Write a blog post that highlights attendee stories, or ask one or more attendees to write guest posts.
  • Sprinkle quotes from former event attendees into emails you send out for promotional campaigns for new events.
  • If you see people on social media talking positively about an event you hosted, retweet them or share their posts on your own page.
illustration of hands holding a sign that says feedback

Influencer Marketing

Depending on the influencer and the industry you’re operating in, this might count as celebrity or expert endorsement, or both. Either way, the basic principle is the same: Choose one or more people to work with, and leverage their clout or expertise as a form of social proof. For instance:

  • Hand over the reins of the event’s Twitter or Instagram account for a day or a week, and let your influencers post about the event. As well as posting on the event accounts, they can also tag their own accounts and bring their followers into the conversation.
  • Ask influencers to post discussion starters or questions and then engage with people who post responses.
  • Ask influencers to post short videos where they discuss something pertaining to the event. For instance, for someone who’s presenting, ask them to give a brief teaser on what they’re planning to talk about.
  • Provide influencers with discount codes to offer to their own networks of followers. Make sure to give each one a unique code, so you can track how effective they are.

User-Generated Content

This is content that’s created and posted by people who aren’t officially part of your event marketing campaign. It may not be planned, but this kind of content is a powerful form of social proof. Whether it’s a photo, a video clip, or even just a single tweet, any positive content about your event can have an impact. And the more content there is, the bigger the collective impact becomes.

  • Increase the impact by creating an event hashtag and encouraging attendees to use the hashtag when they talk about the event on social media.
  • Not everyone will remember to use the hashtag. But you can search on social media sites for posts and tweets that talk about the event, then share or retweet them on your event accounts.
  • Drive more engagement with polls, trivia questions, or giveaways in the run-up to the event.

Leverage Social Proof for Bigger, Better Events

Social proof is a powerful marketing tool, whether you’re selling products or event tickets. As part of your event marketing campaign, it can help you sell more tickets and exhibitor packages, and even increase the number of sponsors you snag. Use it well, and grow your events bigger and better than ever.

Jack Connolly

Executive Creative Director

As an experiential creative director, Jack prefers to draw outside the lines. He tells stories with original content and impactful design to ignite meaningful conversation.


Jack brings 20 years of event industry knowledge to ProGlobalEvents. He specializes in building live & virtual platforms for audiences to connect, engage and immerse themselves in the power of a shared experience. His skills range from ideation and concept development to defining an attendee journey through storytelling and design.

Jack understands the creative process is not linear, but a collaborative process between agency and client. He manages teams of designers and technology developers to pioneer impactful brand experiences. His diverse skillset and leadership ensure for award-winning results and memorable impressions.


In 2019, BizBash named Jack one of the top event designers in North America. SXSW awarded his work the “People’s Choice in Innovation” in 2021.

Jerome Nadel

Chief Marketing Officer

Jerome Nadel is Internationally experienced design-led marketing executive (CMO and GM) with a track record of improved market position, revenue growth, and M&A. He is an advance degreed psychologist and user experience product/service design expert, board member and advisor.


Prior to joining ProGlobalEvents |ProExhibits |XtendLive, he has had a variety of chief marketing officer and chief user experience officer roles at companies including Rambus, BrainChip, Human Factors International, SLP InfoWare, Gemplus, and Sagem. He started his career in the IBM Human Factors Labs.


He is also an avid cyclist with National and multiple California State Champion titles.

Ivan Fujihara

Chief Financial Officer

Ivan brings 25+ years in senior level management experience from a variety of technology industries.  His background includes accounting management, analytics and audit management for technology companies.  He has worked with companies such as THX, Ltd, Recruitology , Double Click, Creative Labs and more.  Ivan has also served on the board of Lincoln Families, a non-profit that supports East Bay children with the objective of disrupting the cycle of trauma and poverty.

Matt Rulis

Vice President of Sales

Matt is a marketing professional and has been managing marketing strategies, campaigns and environments for a diverse client base for over 15 years. From a service perspective, Matt and his team of Account Executives focus on fostering relationships to uphold a greater than 99% customer satisfaction rating year-over-year. Additionally, with extensive experience on the client-side of the industry, he understands that alignment between expectation and budget is paramount to a successful project. As a result, ProGlobalEvents' clients can expect a competitive advantage paired with top quality products and services. Matt is an avid fly-fisherman, enjoys most outdoor activities and is a true college football fanatic.

Tom Foley

VP of Operations

Heading the fabrication side of ProGlobalEvents is exhibit and event industry veteran, Tom Foley. For over 35 years he has been responsible for building amazing exhibits and environments for clients. Tom started out in the production area and has broad experience in project and operations management. He currently oversees production, warehouse, graphics and project management departments. Tom studied machine tool technology and welding before entering the industry. As a true "builder" he also enjoys restoring and modifying classic American cars.

Dick Wheeler


Dick serves as President of ProGlobalEvents and President of ProExhibits and is a board member of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association). At ProExhibits he has been nationally recognized as an innovator and driving force in the fast-growing trade show exhibit and event industry. Under his leadership in 1997, the firm received INC magazine’s INC 500 award as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. His informative articles on developments and innovations in the trade show exhibit and event industry have appeared in national trade publications. Dick has a B.S. degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide and is a member of CEMA and EDPA.

Jody Tatro

Chief Executive Officer

In addition to being CEO of ProGlobalEvents, Jody is also the CEO of ProExhibits. With Jody at the helm, the company has been recognized repeatedly as one of the Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley. She has set the outstanding client service standards for which the firm’s account management team is noted. Jody is a recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, the Junior League Community Volunteer Award and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business. Following her graduation from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Jody held various sales positions in several technology companies.