People put their faith in social proof over product descriptions and professional reviews. So what exactly is social proof? It is essentially the opinions, recommendations and behavior of friends and other consumers that help people make shopping decisions. People like to know that they will receive value for their buck. They also like to conform to what is considered acceptable in society. And so, they like to ask around when they are buying a product or a service.
So essentially people put their faith in word-of-mouth recommendations so they have a good understanding of what they may be buying. Also they want to know if it is considered to be the ‘in’ thing too. In fact the Nielsen Trust in Advertising Report states that 84% consumers trust the opinions and recommendations made by friends and family. They take their word as social proof and the strongest reason for making a choice while buying a product.
Shoppers take online social proof as seriously as they would if a person shared it face to face. This is why when a Facebook page or store is recommended by a friend, Facebook users are likely to visit it soon. Facebook seems to be the unanimous choice when it comes to social referrals.
Social Proof on Social Media
Businesses can boost their social referrals by reaching out to customers on social media sites. The social networks that a brand chooses would depend on the kind of connections it hopes to establish. If a company is selling to customers then Facebook is an excellent platform to consider. On the other hand if a business is interested in a B2B connection then Linkedin is a better choice.
Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report summarizes that 92% of businesses were able to increase exposure through social media. Also, 80% admitted that their social media efforts improved traffic to the brand. People are likely to click on a brand link that is shared by a friend, or even by a friend of a friend. Think of it this way if a friend recommends a store and raves about the products on display, wouldn’t you be tempted to at least pay it a little visit?
Asking for Social Referrals
When a business decides to ask its customers for social referrals it is important that it is well prepared before it actually asks them. Businesses need to consider certain key issues such as what would motivate customers to share a referral. One could consider offering an incentive. If this is the case, one would have to ensure that you select an incentive that will get you the best results.
Pampers offers its customers and visitors extra Pampers Points for reading articles that would interest them, or for sharing their opinions with the brand. Interestingly these posts initiate many shares on the Facebook page. Domino’s UK ran its Pizza Legend campaign to generate interest in the brand and also to understand what kind of pizza its customers would look forward to in the future. Customers were required to create their customized Domino’s pizza, name it and they could win it for free for an entire year.
Converse has a unique way of getting social referrals. It allows its customers to customize their shoes. Once they have created their very own design, folks love to post pictures of their design on their Facebook page and share it with the brand and with their friends and family.
Making it Easier to Share
It is important that a brand make it easy for a Facebook user to share a business’ offer or message. And hence the message should be customized so that all a customer needs to do is just click on ‘share’. The message should be direct, informative and polite. The call to action should be clear. Add the relevant link and hashtag to ensure that traffic is directed to the right location. Businesses could also create an ‘Invite Your Friends’ tab that makes it easy for customers to share their favorite brand,
Make things more special by creating an offer exclusively for your customers. Nine West customers can register with theNine Loves rewards programs which gives them access to exclusive offers. The brand uses its Reviews section as a great space for customers to refer to when they are choosing a product and wish to research it. The brand also has a Referral tab that customers can visit to check on social referral offers by Nine West.