Social proof & why you should care
You may or may not of heard of the term “social proof” and if you have heard of it, you may not know why it’s so important. So I thought I’d write a quick 101 on what it means and why you should care.
So let’s start with the term itself. What is social proof?
To illustrate things, let me start with an example.
You have 2 companies that both sell golf clubs online. They are not well-known global brands and rely entirely on their online presence to sell their stock. Company A sells the latest Cobra driver for £169, company B sells it for £159. They both have well-designed, credible websites and you can’t find any negative reviews about them online.
But, there’s one small difference. Company A has a well-established social setup. This is something they advertise across their site, telling all visitors that they have 10,000 Twitter followers & 5,000 Facebook fans. Their social feeds are integrated with their website, showing the latest and they have a well maintained, active community of followers. Company B, conversely, has no Twitter presence and just 78 followers on Facebook, where their last post was published several months ago. The lack of social activity may set off alarm bells for some people.
Now, ask yourself this question. Do you trust Company B enough to save £10 or would you rather just pay the extra £10 for peace of mind, knowing the company is active and has an active fanbase? In a nutshell, that feeling of trust that you get from seeing an established social presence is social proof.
Now that’s social proof explained, why should you care about it.
Back in the ‘good old days’, brands used to be able to control what was said about them. They were able to control the stream of content through advertising, PR and their owned website(s).
93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media because 90% trust peer recommendations. – #Socialnomics
The advent of social media changed all of this. All of a sudden, people were talking about brands and commenting on their content and the brands couldn’t control it. This changed the dynamic and social peer recommendation becomes a key part of the decision making process. Customers need evidence from their peers that the brand is one they can trust. In fact, customers trust recommendations from complete strangers more than brand communications. By managing your brand’s social community, you can build a trusted audience network.
In the example above, Company B probably lost out on a sale, Company A has gained one and probably made an additional £10 of profit margin on that sale. Multiply this up and you’ll soon be able to justify an investment in social media.
If you’ve read this and see yourself as Company B, it’s probably worth us having a chat.