Long ago, marketers found that word of mouth was among the best techniques for getting news of their products and services out there. It holds true within this time and age also, but it has evolved 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 its new, digital avatar.
For example, we’ve all been ‘persuaded’ to test out a whole new restaurant or 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 already been dissuaded from staying at Alex Mirza because we spotted nasty review which was left by some disgruntled customer online. That, my buddies, will be the 21st century version of word of mouth actually in operation.
What exactly is Social Proof? Humans have this deep rooted instinct to get swayed by other humans and their activities. Consumer internet has demonstrated, repeatedly, that people implicitly trust other people’s reviews and feedback in terms of brands along with their services.
Social proof is everywhere. When you’re shopping on Amazon, you tend to check out the reviews on the product. If enough individuals your office recommend an eating joint, you’re certain to give it a look at some point. Positive reviews have managed to draw in crowds for the best hopeless of movies, while absence of reviews have caused stellar cinema to fade into oblivion.
There are 7 billion plus individuals in today’s world. Each day, more and more of those appear on the digital grid, the omnipresent network that the Internet happens to be. Increased smartphone penetration, access to the internet and technology at large simply indicates beyond doubt that yes, humans are social animals, and therefore, we love to talk about our experiences together.
In other words, if enough people like it, the service or product must be good. Social proof is currently a valued dynamic used by marketers and companies around the world in order to influence consumers. Companies have taken 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 what others need to say in regards to a particular business than trust the manufacturer itself.
The hospitality industry is particularly affected by social proof. Most people count on customer reviews and opinions they come across on social media. Increasing numbers of people turn to Trip Advisor and similar sites to read through how many other customers must say regarding a specific hotel. And, only if the general perception and feedback is positive will they actually go on and book a room within the hotel.
On the face of this, social proof might be an all-encompassing phenomenon that overlaps many different fields and industries, but coming 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 require reassurance and also the expert social proof offers just that. You locate the text ‘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 often use a skin specialist backing them. And once a cafe or restaurant or hotel turns into a thumbs up from the renowned critic, you may be fairly confident that people will flock into it from the hundreds.
The name says all of it. Celebrities have a swaying effect on the population, and they have their very own seal of legitimacy. When a celebrity endorses a hotel, the chances of it which makes it to the top ten establishments in the city are really high. Nevertheless, probably the most authentic and genuine celebrity social proof is the unpaid one.
User social proof can be found in any kind of user generated content that showcases their experiences. This includes success stories, pictures on social media, testimonials, and reviews on websites. User social proof is probably the best ways to improve the credibility of the hotel. Just about the most obvious examples is Tripadvisor, where millions of users arrive every knxkot to find out and write reviews and recommendations.
“A million people can’t be wrong” is the saying most marketers adhere to. And they use sheer numbers to sway prospective consumers. It could be subtle, or obvious according to who’s doing the marketing. Take leading bloggers, as an example, who display their internet site hits as well as other numbers on their own blog to build their credentials.
A consumer will invariably rely more on the personal experience of a friend compared to word of any stranger. Also, the stats show that many customers rely heavily on recommendations from family and friends. This social proof has the possible ways to grow virally.
On the face of it, you might think that you’ve got a broad playing field with regards to collecting social proof for your business. However, the things that work for one industry may not necessarily focus on your needs. Therefore, you need to get the perfect concoction of various kinds of social proof to discover the ones that are best suited to your brand.