Have you ever purchased a product or service after reading online reviews? If you have, you may not have realized, but you were influenced by the principle of social proof.
Often, psychologists refer to these actions as conformity, informational social influence or the bandwagon effect.
To everyone in the marketing world, it’s a powerful method to increase trust, value and conversions, as consumers assume that the engagements of products and/or services by others are correct.
While there are several factors that drive the customer buying cycle, research shows that social proof is highly important, as more than 97 percent of customers say they look at online reviews prior to making a purchase.
Here are four ways you can demonstrate social proof to positively influence the purchasing behavior of your customers.
1. Maintain consistent and positive reviews
By now, we all know that positive reviews can have a huge impact on your business. But, did you know that 44 percent of customers say that for a review to be relevant to them, it must be written within one month of their search?
An easy way to accomplish this is to make sure that your review strategy includes consistently asking your customers to leave feedback following their service with you. More than 70 percent of customers will leave a review for a local business when asked.
2. Take advantage of social sharing
Once you have built engagement on your social platforms, take advantage of adding social widgets. These widgets will show new visitors the size of your following, profile photos of your followers and recent comments, tweets and shares.
If you find that your engagement has dropped or that you are no longer utilizing these platforms, remove the widgets. Research shows that it’s worse to show small engagement numbers or a page that is not being updated regularly.
3. Combine social proof with endorsements
Has your business ever received a compliment from a celebrity or from a well-known person from your local community? If it has, take advantage of this and include the endorser on your website, social media platforms, etc.
Remember, the more influential the endorser is, the more potential increase in customer trust. Authority endorsement can include celebrities, local celebrities, industry leader endorsers, certification from an industry group or endorsement from an eminent company.
4. Be mindful of negative social proof
As the old saying goes, any press is good press. But, if you’re thinking that all social proof is good social proof, you’re wrong.
Take a step back and take a look at your business as if you were a customer. If you see anything that demonstrates negativity about your product or services, it’s time to take action and remove it.
How many reviews do you have?
If you have less than five reviews on any site that you are publicizing, you simply do not have enough to showcase them.
By not having enough testimonials, it can make potential customers think that you are a newer business, inexperienced or not valued highly by your regularly visited customers.
When was the last time that you monitored your Facebook Page likes or your tweets from your last blog post?
If you notice that these numbers are steadily low, it’s time to get rid of your social sharing plugin. These numbers will not be attractive to your consumers and will not have a positive influence on you.
If you are planning on using a celebrity, or even a local celebrity, to endorse your services, pay attention to their reputation, how their goals align with your business goals and how they have used your services. If this isn’t planned out carefully, it could do more harm than good.
As we know, social proof comes in many shapes and sizes, so we challenge you to test out different tactics to see what works best for your business. We are sure that you’ll be on your way to seeing results in no time!