Long ago, marketers discovered that word of mouth marketing was one of the best ways to get news of the goods and services out there. It holds true in this time and age as well, but it has changed to keep up with advancements in technology. A term that you might have heard bandied around quite frequently is ‘social proof’, and it’s simply word of mouth in the new, digital avatar.
As an example, we’ve all been ‘persuaded’ to try out a brand new restaurant or even a holiday destination after we’ve seen our friends posting pictures of the dining and travel adventures on social media marketing. On the same note, we’ve been dissuaded from staying in Bloomberg because we spotted nasty review which had been left by some disgruntled customer online. That, my pals, is the modern day version of word of mouth in action.
What is Social Proof? Human beings have this deep rooted instinct to be swayed by other humans as well as their activities. Consumer internet indicates, repeatedly, that individuals implicitly trust other people’s reviews and feedback with regards to brands and their services.
Social proof is everywhere. When you’re shopping on Amazon, you tend to look into the reviews on the product. If enough folks your workplace recommend an eating joint, you’re certain to check it out at some point. Positive reviews have managed to attract crowds for the best hopeless of movies, while lack of reviews have caused stellar cinema to fade into oblivion.
There are 7 billion plus individuals in today’s world. Each day, a lot more of them appear on the digital grid, the omnipresent network that the Internet is. Increased smartphone penetration, internet access and technology at large simply indicates beyond doubt that yes, humans are social animals, and as such, we love to talk about our experiences with one another.
Simply put, if enough people want it, the service or product has to be good. Social proof is currently a valued dynamic used by marketers and firms the world over so that you can influence consumers. Companies have got to prominently displaying reviews, testimonials, ratings, approval seals, expert opinions, ‘popular items’ and what not on their site. And why? Because we’d all rather pass by what others have to say about a particular business than trust the company itself.
The hospitality sector is particularly affected by social proof. Most people depend on testimonials and opinions they are available across on social media marketing. Increasing numbers of people consider Trip Advisor and similar sites to read how many other customers need to say about a specific hotel. And, only when the general perception and feedback is positive do they actually go on and book a room within the hotel.
On the face of this, social proof may be an all-encompassing phenomenon that overlaps many different fields and industries, but from a marketing perspective, it can be classified into 5 specific categories.
Humans trust authoritative institutions, and reputed personalities. Before we know any claim, we must have reassurance and also the expert social proof offers that. You find the words ‘expert opinion’ under articles giving advice and instructions as a way to legitimize it. Ads for toothpaste and tooth brushes are ‘bolstered’ by opinions of leading dentists while beauty creams will most likely possess a skin specialist backing them. And once a cafe or restaurant or hotel turns into a thumbs up from a renowned critic, you can be fairly sure that people are going to flock to it by the hundreds.
The name says everything. Celebrities possess a swaying effect on the population, and they have their very own seal of legitimacy. When a celebrity endorses a hotel, the probability of it rendering it to the top ten establishments inside the city are extremely high. That said, the most authentic and genuine celebrity social proof is definitely the unpaid one.
User social proof can be found in any kind of user generated content that showcases their experiences. This includes successes, pictures on social media, testimonials, and reviews on websites. User social proof is among the most effective ways to improve the credibility of any hotel. Probably the most obvious examples is Tripadvisor, where countless users arrive every knxkot to view and write reviews and recommendations.
“Millions of people can’t be wrong” is definitely the saying most marketers abide by. And they also use sheer numbers to sway prospective consumers. It could be subtle, or obvious depending on who’s doing the marketing. Take leading bloggers, for example, who display their site hits along with other numbers on the blog to build their credentials.
A consumer will invariably rely more on the personal experience with a friend compared to the word of any stranger. Also, the stats reveal that many customers rely heavily on recommendations from family and friends. This social proof has the possibility to grow virally.
On the face from it, you may think that you’ve got a broad playing field in terms of collecting social proof to your business. However, what works for starters industry might not exactly necessarily meet the needs of your requirements. Therefore, you have to discover the perfect concoction of various kinds of social proof to learn which ones are best fitted to your brand.