Social proof has been around for a long time and relies on the principle that if a group of people do something then an individual will be more likely to do the same thing. Although this principle is as old as human behaviour it becomes even more important to harness it with regard to online business.
If a business can get a large enough group of people using their services and passing on the information that they’re doing so to others it can be very profitable. It’s not only about engaging new customers but showing them that they are part of a larger group that trusts your company.
There are a range of techniques that business owners can use to utilise this phenomenon and here are just a few of them.
User Generated Content
Getting people involved with your business or brand is paramount and encouraging them to show that they are is even more important. People trust content from another user to be more impartial than anything that may come directly from the business.
Clothing vendors encourage clients to post selfies in their new outfit which reinforces trust in their brand. The message sent by uploading these pictures is that customers will receive their order and feel confident in their new clothes.
Add Urgency into the Equation
So many sites combine social proof and a sense of urgency in their shopping experience. Sites like Groupon will tell customers that there is a limited availability of the item or deal that they are perusing. This tells customers that a larger group is taking advantage of the deal and that they should be doing the same.
Hotel booking service Booking.com does the same thing in even more ways; their pop ups tell users when the last booking was made at a property, how many other users are viewing the venue and the amount of rooms left at a hotel. All these messages impress upon users that it’s important to book now or someone else within the social group will.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Customers like to see that they’re not the first to try out your product or service, as they want the reassurance of social proof. To utilise this sites will have a reviews section that reassures the customer that the product is a good one.
Sites like Amazon use this tactic and allow customers to leave lengthy reviews on the quality and efficiency of their order. Sites like TripAdvisor do the same and also have added credibility as they are an outside source. This impartiality makes potential customers feel like they’re able to read all customer experiences and not feel like the company is covering up the bad ones.
Show that Other Customers are Purchasing
Sites that show consumers that other customers are online and buying similar items to them reinforces the social proof theory again. It shows customers that the product must be good if others are buying it and also upsells them by showing them similar items or accessories for the item they’re looking at.
So, as long as you can generate ways for your customers to interact with your product and enforce positive images about it, you should find more customers heading your way thanks to the reassurance from social proof.