“Studies dating back at least three decades clearly show the power of social norms. We tend to ascribe our actions to more high-minded motives, or to practical concerns about money. But at its core, our behavior often boils down to that old mantra: Monkey see, monkey do.”
In fact, social proof is so persuasive that a study done in San Marcos, California found that people were more likely to change their energy usage habits when told that their neighbors were already conserving energy than when they were told that they could save significant money on their monthly utility bill.
Reviews are a great way to incorporate social proof on your website! KISSmetrics indicates that more than 70% of consumers look at reviews online before making a purchase and 63% are more likely to buy from a site that has product ratings and reviews. Encouraging satisfied customers to rate products adds validity to the products and encourages other shoppers to purchase them as well.
Reviews not only encourage purchases, but they can also help to create more satisfied customers as well. Reviews that reveal information about products that is not widely known (like sizing information, compatibility, etc.) can help shoppers to pick the right product(s) to fit their wants and needs. This is why Amazon invests so much time and effort in not only getting customers to leave feedback, but also to answer each other’s product questions.
Using social media icons on products gives shoppers and easy way to share them with friends and family, which is beneficial from an engagement standpoint. Tying social media into your regular web efforts is also a way to increase brand awareness.
Choosing the social icons that display the number of social interactions (likes, tweets, +1s, and pins) is even better because it clues people in to the social proof element. Simply having a Pinterest icon is not nearly as convincing as a Pinterest icon that shows that it has been pinned 250 times.
Customer testimonials are an effective way to persuade people to buy products that have a more involved buying process – things like software, tech products, business solutions, etc. Customer testimonials are most effective when they include faces, names and accessible language. KISSmetrics explains, “We already know from previous research that people like looking at human faces on the web, but now it’s been made clear that testimonials are more likely to be believed when they are accompanied by a corresponding picture.” Taking the time to present the testimonials in a way that consumers will appreciate and respond to can really pay off.
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!