Long ago, marketers realized that recommendations was one of the best techniques for getting news of their services and products out there. It holds true in this time and age also, but it has changed to keep up with advancements in technology. A term that you have heard bandied around quite frequently is ‘social proof’, and it’s nothing more than word of mouth in the new, digital avatar.
For example, we’ve all been ‘persuaded’ to test out a brand new restaurant or a holiday destination after we’ve seen our friends posting pictures with their dining and travel adventures on social media. On the same note, we’ve also been dissuaded from staying in Bloomberg because we spotted nasty review which had been left by some disgruntled customer online. That, my buddies, is definitely the 21st century version of recommendations actually in operation.
What is Social Proof? Human beings have this deep rooted instinct to become swayed by other humans as well as their activities. Consumer internet has demonstrated, again and again, that people implicitly trust other people’s reviews and feedback in terms of brands and their services.
Social proof is everywhere. When you’re shopping on Amazon, you tend to check out the reviews on the product. If enough folks your workplace recommend an eating joint, you’re bound to give it a look eventually. Positive reviews have were able to draw in crowds for the most hopeless of movies, while lack of reviews have caused stellar cinema to fade into oblivion.
You can find 7 billion plus individuals in today’s world. Each day, more and more of them appear on the digital grid, the omnipresent network that this Internet is. Increased smartphone penetration, internet connection and technology at large simply indicates beyond doubt that yes, humans are social animals, and as such, we love to share our experiences together.
Simply put, if enough people like it, the services or products must be good. Social proof has become a valued dynamic employed by marketers and firms the world over so that you can influence consumers. Companies took 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 have to say regarding a particular business than trust the manufacturer itself.
The hospitality market is particularly influenced by social proof. Most people count on customer reviews and opinions they come across on social media. More and more people turn to Trip Advisor and other sites to read what other customers have to say in regards to a specific hotel. And, only if the overall perception and feedback is positive will they actually go ahead and book a room in the hotel.
On the face of it, social proof might be an all-encompassing phenomenon that overlaps many different fields and industries, but from a marketing perspective, it could be classified into 5 specific categories.
Humans trust authoritative institutions, and reputed personalities. Before we believe any claim, we must have reassurance and also the expert social proof offers exactly that. You discover the text ‘expert opinion’ under articles giving advice and instructions as a means 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 as soon as a nearby restaurant or hotel turns into a thumbs up from a renowned critic, you can be fairly certain that people are going to flock into it by the hundreds.
The name says it all. Celebrities use a swaying effect on the population, and they come with their very own seal of legitimacy. In case a celebrity endorses a hotel, the likelihood of it which makes it to the very top ten establishments within the city are incredibly high. Having said that, probably 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 consists of success stories, pictures on social media marketing, testimonials, and reviews on websites. User social proof is probably the most effective ways to boost the credibility of any hotel. One of 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 may be subtle, or obvious based on who’s doing the marketing. Take leading bloggers, for example, who display their website hits as well as other numbers on the blog to build their credentials.
A consumer will always rely more on the personal experience with a pal compared to the word of a stranger. Also, the stats reveal that many customers rely heavily on recommendations from friends and family. This social proof has got the potential to grow virally.
On the face from it, you might think that you’ve got an extensive playing field with regards to collecting social proof to your business. However, the things that work for starters industry may not necessarily focus on your preferences. Therefore, you need to get the perfect concoction of different types of social proof to learn the ones that would be best suited to your brand.