Online reviews have transformed the way buyers find businesses and make decisions. Whether someone is looking for a place to eat or there are specific products they would like to buy, it's common to look for social proof before picking your preference.
Before the internet, social proof came from the foot traffic you could see moving in and out of a business. For example, if you drive by and see that the parking lot is often full at a local restaurant, then it's a good sign that the food is good. It's common for buyers to choose locations with many people inside because of the psychological impact of social proof.
Social Proof: What is it?
Even if we aren't consciously aware of the factors driving our choices, the truth is that people often follow the actions of the masses. The psychological influence is that if many other people are behaving in a specific way, then it's likely the correct behavior.
The social proof is in the choices and behavior that the majority of people take. Since more people are choosing a specific product or service, there's a strong psychological pull for others to make the same decision.
Social Proof in Digital Marketing
This same concept can be applied to influence the effectiveness of a digital marketing campaign. Even though you aren't comparing products or stores in person, a variety of outside opinions can be found through online reviews. Often, consumers are strongly influenced by these outside opinions, especially because they don't have a product in hand to get a feel for the quality.
How often do you look at reviews before you pull out the credit card? If you are a business owner, you can bet that your target customers are going through this same process. Even when people are shopping at local stores, it's common for customers to pull out their smartphones to research products while standing in the aisles.
It's important to note that your current and potential customers will pass judgment about your business through online information. Regardless of your business design (local services, online sales, or a combination of both), it's critical to be intentional about shaping social proof to encourage customers to choose your brand.
Most Effective Methods for Building Social Proof
How can social proof be built into your online marketing plan? Here are a few of the most effective strategies:
Good Reviews: Encourage happy customers to leave reviews on popular review-sharing social platforms. The specific placement of reviews depends on your industry. For example, Yelp is a popular place for restaurant reviews, and Angie's List is a hub for home contractor services.
Website Testimonials: It can also be helpful to publish a few of the best reviews on your website. These testimonials should be prominently displayed on your homepage so website visitors can see what others are saying about your products or services.
Endorsement: A brand can get a lot of exposure if the product is endorsed by a celebrity. While it would be great to have a movie star or well-known public figure endorse the product, smaller social media influencers can also be an effective strategy.
Number of Customers: Another way to build social proof is by showing a high number of customers who use your product or service. For example, you might show this number on your home page - such as "Proudly serving 1.2 million customers who love our software."
Social Media Following: Social media shouldn't be the only piece of your digital marketing strategy, but it is an important element that needs to be included in the overall plan. Social media can be an effective way to start a viral movement with the right content and entertainment.
Ultimately, the most effective strategy for your business depends on your industry and the way you want customers to interact with your brand. For more information, contact our experienced team to discuss how you can build social proof through your digital marketing campaign.
The Evoke Creative Team is always here and ready to help!