The opinion of others is an important driver in the buying decision of people. It has always been so. While there are differences between the ways we buy consumer products and business solutions there are many similarities as well: we inform ourselves by taking into account the opinions and advice of peers.
Only the circles of trust and influence differ. What we often call social proof also has impacts that are more emotional (social pressure, how we perceive others etc.) in steering our buying decisions that are determined by several elements.
Today, people buy and we decreasingly sell. That's also why it's more important to focus on the reasons they use social media and other platforms and understand the mechanisms, rather than focusing on how we can better sell.
Social recommendations influence purchase decisions, regardless of channels
Social proof is not a matter of social media alone. It's a multi-channel phenomenon. Using recommendations and social proof in general is increasingly being used in email marketing, on websites, on landing pages and even in physical stores.
There are several ways to tap into the power of the social buying decisions mechanisms and recommendations, for instance, by including social sharing, peer reviews and recommendations in your email campaigns. The better your channels, platforms and marketing efforts are integrated, the further you can go.
Performics conducted a survey that social network users who are liking or following brands or products, respond more to offers by the brand that are shared by friends. 33% of respondents are very likely to respond to such an 'endorsed' brand offer and 42% somewhat likely to respond.
Reposted brand offers are signs of social proof as well. If a friend likes it, then chance is that it's good. The same is seen on blogs: posts that get shared often are more likely to get shared. It's not only a consequence of the ripple effect caused by social sharing; it's also a consequence of the psychological aspects of endorsement and social proof.
Using social proof and social sharing buttons and mechanisms across multiple channels can have a very positive effect so you might want to test it.
The impact of liking
There is some discussion about the impact of following or liking a brand on a social network has on the potential buying behavior of the peers of the people that follow or like it. A survey by Ipsos (PDF opens), showed differences on a regional level. However, overall 22% of consumers across 24 countries said they had bought a brand due a friend following it. In the under 35 group this was twice as likely as the 50-64-year old.
Regardless of the exact numbers, integrating social mechanisms is easy to do with Selligent: so test it, try to improve it and you might be surprised, depending on your industry, target groups and other parameters.
You find an example of how recommendation and review mechanisms can be leveraged, using Selligent, in the Bookit customer case.
Have questions? Let us know!
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