Social Proof – What is it all about and how it relates to social media marketing?
A person’s decision to buy or invest in a particular product or service online can be influenced by various factors – among the most significant of which is social proof and how you can leverage your social media marketing efforts with it. Statistics from Google shows that approximately 70 percent of online consumers check out product reviews prior to actually buying something online. More than 60 percent of these people purchase products or services from websites that have reviews or ratings by previous consumers or clients. Online reviews and ratings are just one kind of social proof that you can find online in social networks and shows just how much people can be influenced by purchasing decision and experiences of others which clearly demonstrates its power as an online marketing concept and one that business owners need to leverage.
So what exactly is social proof? Also known as “social influence”, it is the idea that people can be influenced to conform to the purchasing decision of others. It’s a validation that consumers often need saying that “if other people are buying or investing in it and are finding much satisfaction for doing so, then I trust that I should as well”. You can use such a validation as a powerful motivator in your online marketing efforts for your business website and various networks life Facebook and Twitter to effectively influencing the purchasing decisions of your prospects and website visitors.
Now social proof as a marketing concept actually isn’t new and it is not only limited to web marketing. For instance, you’ll find television shows playing recorded laughter and applause for the audience, to better instil the perception that they are worthy of laughter or applause. You will also find books boasting the thousands of copies a particular title had sold, elevating it’s recommendation it as a worthy read. The rise of social networks and social media marketing had only made it easier to exploit and leverage as a marketing tool.
Sources of Social Proof
- Users – approval from actual users of a particular product or service in the form of reviews, testimonials and case studies
- Experts – approval from credible and reputable experts
- Celebrities – endorsements from popular and well-known personalities
- Group or Crowd wisdom – approval from a group of people or organization
Leveraging social proof for social media marketing
- Mentions via social media networks can be an excellent source for social proof – Monitor social media networks like Facebook and track positive mentions about your business and feature it for all your prospects to see.
- Embedded Tweets – Twitter features embeddable tweets that you can use to leverage social proof. If you find positive tweets about your business, you can embed such tweets on your business website or case studies to credibility and authority.
- Social plugins – Plugins for social networks like Facebook presents an excellent way to leverage social proof from friends or groups of people. Such plugins in the case of Facebook includes the recommendation plugin, Activity Feed and Like Box which you could link to your blog or website which presents your social proof to the forefront.
- User-generated content – Existing customers can be an excellent source of social proof for your business. Avid fans are often more than happy to do these things for you which means less work on your hands. What’s more is that user generated content is often perceived as more positive and genuine yielding more conversion rates.
- Social Media Follow or Share Features – Follow and share buttons on social networks make it easier for subscribers and fans to share your content. Make use of it! Ensure that you have follow/share buttons on all the web content that you create – that means everything from landing pages and eBooks to blog posts. If it is easier for people to follow and share our content then the more likely it is for them to share it with people greatly improving your reach and spreading social proof that will benefit your business.
- Statistics – What are your business’ most notable statistics? Do you have an impressive number of blog subscribers? How long have you been in business? Is your high customer satisfaction rate something to brag about? All of these statistics are excellent possible sources of social proof.
- Notable mentions via social media and blogs – Blogs and social media can be an excellent source of expert social proof and it’s something that you shouldn’t overlook. See to it that you keep on top of things and make it more social media marketing friendly.
- Ratings and Reviews for Products and Services
- Testimonials and Case Studies
- Advertising via Social media networks
Indeed social proof and your marketing efforts via social networks is a crucial resource that no one in the online marketing business should ever overlook. To improve your chances of success in web marketing, one must do all that they can to leverage it! Take those great tweets, reviews, case studies and testimonials to the forefront. They are not going to do you any good if people are not able to see it!