The one thing we know for sure about social proof is that it isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future at least. What’s more, if you aren’t already harnessing the power of social proof, you are both falling behind and missing out. Research has shown that not only do 90% of consumers now read reviews online, but almost 90% of these consumers trust online reviews the same extent they wood a personal recommendation from someone they know.
Which in turn means that no matter what it is you sell or do online, social proof can and will make an enormous difference to your overall performance.
What makes social proof so powerful is the way in which it creates a crowd/community around whatever it is you are selling. The bigger the crowd and the more satisfied members therein, the more likely others are to join. Consumers always have and always will be naturally inclined to copy the behaviour of others, when and where the example is set by a larger crowd or community.
This is precisely why when it comes to reviews, recommendations, comments and conversation in general, more is better. Of course, it’s important to ensure positive conversation dominates, but the power of the crowd in general must not be overlooked.
Interestingly, the power of the picture is something that also applies when it comes to social proof. The reason being that not only are the vast majority of consumers happier doing business with brands that publish images of who they are and what they do, but are also more likely to recommend them to others. It’s a proven fact that people in general respond so much better to imagery than textual content, making it much easier to generate conversation and a buzz about your business in general.
As already mentioned, it is now known that around nine in every 10 consumers read on average 10 reviews, before making their mind up regarding a purchase. As such, of every example of social proof and influence there is, there are no more powerful or influential than reviews. Which is precisely why it is no longer sufficient to be passive, when it comes to the collection of testimonials and feedback. If proactively procuring this kind of social proof is not already a part of your primary marketing plan, it really needs to be.
Last but not least, it is also important to be aware that low social proof has a tendency to be even worse than no social proof at all. For example, if your Facebook page currently has no more than eight fans and you haven’t published a new tweet since 2014, it might be better to simply remove these assets entirely. The reason being that if the social proof your customers have access to paints a picture of your brand, it really isn’t doing you any favours whatsoever. And when it comes to negative social proof, never underestimate how influential something that appears to be relatively insignificant can actually be.