Whether you notice it or not, it’s human nature to look for some social proof in everything that you do. Maybe it’s linked to how conformity is always the best option. Just look at how the opposite of cultural norms is cultural taboos.
The more people do one thing, the more that thing becomes normal. That is how it’s always been. Also, the consequences of breaking cultural norms result tragically in being a social outcast. This norm is why social proof is crucial if you have a business.
Social Proof Signals Trust
Trust is an essential element in relationships. No matter what kind of relationship it is, a solid bond forms after trust is formed. Between couples, friends, and families, it’s necessary. Your relationship as a seller with a buyer is no different.
For example, a customer needs a waterproof travel bag. When you sell a bag with a tag that says it’s waterproof because it uses polyurethane laminate, they will buy it. Often, trust is not that difficult to gain when selling things. People typically assume they have no reason to doubt anyone.
The real challenge is doing good on your promise. Is the bag genuinely waterproof? Because if it turns out it’s not, you can say goodbye to a potential return customer. You can also say goodbye to more potential customers. This is because nothing will stop an unsatisfied customer from posting a negative review on social media to be seen by hundreds of friends.
Examples of Social Proof
The stickers and signs that hang at a restaurant’s door are not there for anything. They are a signifier of how much you can trust the food and service they offer. Usually, the stickers show how many stars they got from an online delivery platform or an online food magazine. This is the very idea behind the Michelin Guide.
There is also non-textual social proof, which you can’t hang or publish anywhere. Say, for example, there are two restaurants side by side and you are trying to decide where to eat. One has quite a long queue while the other has none. It can be proof that the other one sells excellent food. Needless to say, if you want good food, you are going to the one with a long queue, if you are not in a rush.
You might give the other restaurant a chance. Still, it’s mainly to satisfy your curiosity about why there is no one there. From the business perspective, curiosity is not something sustainable. You can capitalize on it in one go, but you need something more substantial to stay longer in the business.
Many experts still count word of mouth, and it’s one of the earliest forms of social proof. So if you take a few steps back, you will realize that giving a customer the best experience is the best way to get sound social proof.
Think About the Customer Experience
What will make a customer enjoy your restaurant’s experience so that they will come back and recommend it to others? Of course, you have to provide good food.
Apart from that, you can also make sure the ambiance is relaxing. Price your menu reasonably. Accept multiple modes of payment, including mobile wallets or even cryptocurrency, if you are up to it. Anything that will make the experience enjoyable and as far from stress as possible, do it.
Social Proof in Reviews
Social proof is also a significant factor in making online purchases. When a website’s landing page displays a review by an expert, that counts as one. The number of likes on your Facebook page will also tell customers how many people like your products or are interested. And, of course, you can’t get any further from reviews and ratings.
You can always encourage your customers to leave a review on your online pages, so you have something to show new visitors. Some businesses encourage buyers to rate them on their website in exchange for some discount on their next purchase. It’s a bit tricky because the review might not be genuine since there is a different motivation behind the act of reviewing. Especially when they ask for a screenshot of the review, the sincerity is compromised.
Imagine buying from a store because they have many 5-star ratings. Then when you receive your order, you get a message informing you that if you send a screenshot of your rating, they will give you a discount. That’s a major turn-off and will make you question if the reviews that made you buy were even genuine.
Always be careful when trying to gather social proof. The best way to get social proof is by giving customers the best product or service.