Every consumer likes to think that he is making objective choices. Marketers know that this is far from the truth. Though consumers are likely to compare objective differences between products and services, his final decision is frequently swayed by emotional factors.
One of the most powerful emotional factors in an online buying decision is social proof. Social proof is when consumers see others making a choice and assume it to be correct. For example, if product A looks popular and product B looks unpopular, the consumer is likely to gravitate towards product A, even if product B is objectively better. He will assume product A is better because of its strong social proof.
In 2016, a social presence is arguably the most important factor in establishing social proof. Below, we will go over the concept of social proof and how you can create a strong backbone for your products and services with social media. If you wish to market online effectively, these are concepts you need to understand.
How Social Proof Relates to Buying Decisions
To understand just how effective social proof can be for a business, let’s look at some common examples.
- Imagine it’s a Friday night and a consumer is choosing between two nightclubs. If one has a longer line, the consumer will automatically assume that nightclub is a better choice because more people want to go there. Social proof is why promoters tend to “keep lines” on busy nights.
- Imagine there are two identical products for sale on Amazon. If one has 400 reviews and one has 14 reviews, the consumer will automatically assume the 400-review product is a better choice because more people are buying and reviewing it. Social proof is why Amazon sellers push buyers to leave reviews so frequently.
You can sway buyers towards your products and services – no matter what they might be – with the help of a social presence. Social presence is the universal online version of social proof. When a consumer sees a product or service with large, active social accounts, he is more likely to gravitate towards that product, just as clubgoers are more likely to gravitate towards the club with the line and Amazon shoppers are more likely to gravitate towards the product with the reviews.
Establishing a Strong, Believable Social Presence
One way to establish social proof is with natural growth of social media accounts. But, this approach isn’t always the most effective.
- When you’re starting out, you will have very limited social proof – which can be a detriment to new businesses. Think about it – you have no social proof, and your competitors will have lots of social proof. That’s not a level playing field.
- Your social accounts will grow slowly because you have no social proof on your accounts to begin with. Users will “Like” a Facebook page with 100,000 likes quicker than they will a page with 20 likes. Your new pages will grow at a slower pace than established ones will.
A better option is combining organic growth with paid growth.
- Create a “base” on each social account you want to use. Buy real followers and fans that are interested in your product. You will immediately put yourself on par with your competitors, and your pages will grow at a faster organic rate, too.
- Populate accounts with interaction and activity. A dead page with a high follower account looks untrustworthy. Along with your follower “base”, make sure you are getting enough likes, shares, and comments, either through strong social marketing or paid options. If a consumer looks past the follower numbers and checks out the pages, his social proof expectations will be confirmed.
- Display social media whenever you have the chance. Use your social media numbers to your advantage. Establish social proof wherever you can by displaying your social presence.
Though you can establish a strong social proof with purely organic growth, working to establish one through paid options is a more effective strategy. You put yourself on the level of your competitors right away, and a strong social proof helps you, instead of non-existent social proof hurting you.
Red Social is the leading provider of real followers and interaction on every major social networking platform. Click here to browse our services and start building your social proof today.