There are two words that we are hearing being used more and more in search marketing and these are ‘social proof.’ Social proof is the concept that people are going to follow the actions of the masses. The idea is that when such a large number of people act in a specific way, it has to be the right way. Think about it: you have two restaurants. The first restaurant sells better food but it is empty. However, the second restaurant has a lot of customers. You’re going to be much more likely to go with the latter, right?
Social proof is not a new concept. It has been featured in a number of different studies for many years now. Nevertheless, we’re seeing it used in many different ways now thanks to the dominance of the web.
Why social proof is imperative when it comes to online shopping
When buying products or services over the Internet, things can be a little bit more challenging. After all, you’re going to be relying on outside opinions in order to make your final decision because you have no experience with the service nor do you have the product in your hand to try. So, before you purchase something online, you are going to look at feedback to see what other people think of it. Customers who have purchased the item before are going to be more knowledgeable about it, which can sway your opinion.
Different tactics that you can use in order to increase conversions with social proof
There are a number of different approaches that can be used in order to increase conversions with social proof. So, let’s take a look at some of them in further detail…
There is only one place to begin, and this is with positive reviews. You are going to be more likely to secure purchases if you have lots of great reviews about your products and service. There have been a number of different studies that have shown just how critical online reviews are. In one study, according to SearchEngineLand 88 percent of consumers trust online feedback as much as they do personal recommendations. Moreover, the survey found that most people tend to look at two or three review sites before they make their final decision about a business.
This means that putting your eggs into one basket is something you should never do when it comes to reviews. If you receive negative reviews, this is an opportunity for you to display exceptional customer service by trying to solve the problem. Try to find a resolution. A lot of loyal customers have started from this.
Recognition and awards
People want to purchase items from brands they can trust. However, simply telling people that your business is a trustworthy one is not going to be enough. You need to show that this is the case. One of the best ways to validate your brand is by receiving an award. This is because another party has given your business a stamp of approval. The more recognizable and prestigious the source of the award, the more valuable it is going to be in terms of social proof.
Customer or user count
This is something that McDonald’s has used to good effect. Their marketing often includes the phrase “over 99 billion served” – showing just how many people ate their food. This is something you can use on your website by displaying how many people have purchased a certain product or bought from your website.
Social media following
Building your social media following is also good when it comes to social proof. Of course, relying on the number of social media followers you have in terms of ultimate success is not advisable. However, social media is important, as people like to follow the crowd. If they see a successful account on Twitter, for instance, and a lot of people are following the account and interacting with it, they are going to be more likely to do the same. This will enable you to reach more people and it makes your online presence more dominant.
Endorsements from online influencers
This is a form of marketing that has become exceptionally popular over the last year or so. Consumers trust the public opinion and earned media more than brands themselves. You may think that influencer marketing is difficult but you don’t need to go for celebrities in order for it to be successful. You simply need to choose someone who can relate to your audience, for example, it may be an industry professional or it could be someone who has appeared on reality TV or it could be someone who is simply Insta-famous.
Last but not least, customer testimonials present an effective method of social proof. After all, simply saying that your product is effective is not going to be enough to convince people to purchase it. What will compel people, however, is seeing that someone else has used your product and that it has worked. This is what customer testimonials do. The health and fitness industry is a great example of where customer testimonials work really well, as you can see weight loss images.
So there you have it: everything you need to know about using social proof to increase conversions. There is a lot that needs to be taken into account when it comes to this search engine marketing approach. There is no denying that social proof is more important than ever in the digital age, and this is something that you can work on to the benefit of your business.
By Andrew Oziemblo
Founder & CEO of Chicago SEO Geeks, the digital marketing & SEO agency helping businesses achieve long-term growth goals.
Photos courtesy of gettyimages.com