The Power of Social Proof
Social Proof Methods And Notifications
Editor's Note: This post has been updated with new links and content.
Original Publication Date: March 14, 2019
Let’s say you travel to a new place. No connections or acquaintances, just you wandering around a new city.
You need a coffee but there are a lot of unfamiliar coffee shops around you. You see a Starbucks, a 7-11 convenience store, and a coffee cart. Instead of asking Google where the best coffee is among the three, you'll likely rely on where people around you are going. You end up choosing Starbucks and enjoying a cup of their internationally-known brew. This “public assessment” is what we call SOCIAL PROOF.
Social Proof is a social influence on a psychological and social level. It is driven by the assumption that because a lot of people believe in it, then it must be correct.
In other words, a person’s brain is wired to mirror or copy the actions and beliefs of people around when placed in unfamiliar territory. In the case of a business, people will buy from a place where a lot of people are talking about it.
Social Proof Then vs. Now
Years ago, when you wanted to start a business, say a store, things were a lot different. For instance, you needed a lot of money to get started. To pay for the leasing or buying of a space, to buy and stock up on inventory, and to pay for visual aids to market your business.
The world of the internet has made starting and running a business easier than ever before. Today, you can begin your business with minimal to no capital at all. This is possible through features that big companies like Facebook and Google make available, along with other new technology such as dropshipping. With this comes the ability to build social proof in real-time.
As a business owner, you always hope that all people who visit and poke around your website or your online store will end up purchasing an item. But a lot of times, this is not the case. A lot of these people have different reasons.
But the majority would probably think one same thing – TRUST. No matter how much you build your reputation, lack of trust will always be there for a new prospect deciding whether or not to take the risk and buy from your store.
Four Ways To Show Social Proof Notifications
Although online shopping is becoming the norm, there is still a sense of hesitation when ordering from a new website or vendor.
Social proof helps build trust by allowing new customers to follow in the footsteps of existing or past customers.
Reviews and Testimonials
A review describes the product or service a customer received from a company. It usually includes a number of stars and a short written review. In contrast, a testimonial describes the customer’s personal account with the quality of service provided by the company.
Newer forms of social proof also rely on user-generated content (UGC) like self-shot videos to build customer trust. When people see positive reviews and testimonials, they are way more likely to order. In fact, displaying reviews can increase conversions by 270%.
This usually comes in the form of word of mouth from a customer who is satisfied with your product or service. They had a good experience and will talk about it with other people. Some businesses include an incentive program giving rewards to customers who bring in new potential customers.
This is going to be a video, picture, or testimonial from a famous person. A celebrity, icon or an advocate who people know and trust. In this instance, you would send your product to an influencer and pay them to post about your product.
The social proof phenomenon is huge with influencers. People will buy a product or service just because they know a celeb is using it. Before getting started with influencers, check out our article here.
Exposure to What Others are Doing
This is what we refer to as “social proof notifications”. They show visitors that this is an in-demand product. The website is flashing real-time updates of what others are doing.
For example, a message that pops up at the bottom right corner of the screen showing that “Customer X has just received his order and that he gave a 5-star rating for an excellent delivery service.”
Final Thoughts on the Power of Social Proof
Keep in mind that with social proof notifications, you’re pretty much leveraging the things that are already happening to improve your site experience.
Just be careful in displaying fake information because as easy as it may create a trustworthy reputation for you, that is how easy it is to ruin your image.
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