Long ago, marketers found that word of mouth marketing was among the best methods for getting news of the goods and services out there. It holds true in this time and age as well, however it has evolved to take care of advancements in technology. A term that you might have heard bandied around quite frequently is ‘social proof’, and it’s nothing more than word of mouth in its new, digital avatar.
For example, we’ve all been ‘persuaded’ to test out a whole new restaurant or perhaps a holiday destination after we’ve seen our friends posting pictures with their dining and travel adventures on social networking. On the same note, we’ve been dissuaded from being at Bloomberg because we spotted nasty review that was left by some disgruntled customer online. That, my friends, will be the 21st century version of recommendations actually in operation.
What is Social Proof? People have this deep rooted instinct to get swayed by other humans and their activities. Consumer internet indicates, time and again, that folks implicitly trust other people’s reviews and feedback when it comes to 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 individuals your business recommend an eating joint, you’re certain to take a look eventually. Positive reviews have were able to attract crowds for the most hopeless of movies, while lack of reviews have caused stellar cinema to fade into oblivion.
You will find 7 billion plus individuals in today’s world. Each day, a lot more of those appear on the digital grid, the omnipresent network that the Internet happens to be. 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 share our experiences with each other.
Simply put, if enough people enjoy it, the services or products must be good. Social proof is currently a valued dynamic used by marketers and companies the world over to be able to influence consumers. Companies have taken to prominently displaying reviews, testimonials, ratings, approval seals, expert opinions, ‘popular items’ and what not on their website. And why? Because we’d all rather go by what others have to say in regards to a particular business than trust the company itself.
The hospitality sector is particularly influenced by social proof. Most people count on customer reviews and opinions they are available across on social networking. More and more people consider Trip Advisor and other sites to read through how many other customers have to say regarding a specific hotel. And, as long as the overall perception and feedback is positive do they really actually go ahead and book an area inside 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 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 most likely possess a skin specialist backing them. And once a restaurant or hotel gets a thumbs up from the renowned critic, you could be fairly sure that people are going to flock with it by the hundreds.
The name says it all. Celebrities possess a swaying effect on the population, and they have their own seal of legitimacy. In case a celebrity endorses a hotel, the chances of it making it to the top ten establishments inside the city are incredibly high. That said, probably the most authentic and genuine celebrity social proof is the unpaid one.
User social proof is located in any sort 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 boost the credibility of any hotel. One of the most obvious examples is Tripadvisor, where millions of users arrive every knxkot to view and write reviews and recommendations.
“Millions of people can’t be wrong” is definitely the saying most marketers adhere to. And they also use sheer numbers to sway prospective consumers. It may be subtle, or obvious according to who’s doing the marketing. Take leading bloggers, as an example, who display their site hits along with other numbers on their blog to determine their credentials.
A consumer will always rely more on the personal experience of a pal compared to word of any stranger. Also, the stats show that many customers rely heavily on recommendations from family and friends. This social proof provides the possibility 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 the business. However, what works for just one industry might 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 suitable for your brand.