Nordstrom is one of the leading chains of luxury department stores in the US and Canada. When we talk about customer support and marketing, a little story from the past about Nordstrom will certainly amaze you and bring a smile on your face.
A man walks into Nordstrom and says he wants to return a set of tires. A clerk looked at the price on the tires and gave the customer his money. The only problem is that Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires! Never in their entire 118 years of history!
You can think of what praises that person must have showered on the company’s customer support after realizing his mistake. Through social media platforms and apps, this story would have made waves had this incident occurred recently.
Now imagine the following scenario.
If you are looking for an open-air, dine-in place to enjoy the cool breeze with your friends, what you usually do? Or looking for a top-of-the-line buffet dinner, but which one to choose and why? You can get the answer easily on various social media platforms like Facebook and applications like WhatsApp as people share their favorite eateries on various forums. When you follow these suggestions or feedback without thinking twice, this can be termed as social proofing.
Types of Social Proofing
The following 5 forms of social proofing can give wings to companies to market a candy or a high-end sedan.
- Expert Social Proof
A credible expert likes a popular blogger or vlogger. We have hosts of people like Germán Alejandro Garmendia Aranis, who are influential. Germán is one of them who is a vlogger/comedian and writer with over 35 million subscribers. You will find children, teens, and senior citizens offering their expert comments on a toy, movie or gardening respectively with millions of subscribers. And the products recommended by them enjoy good sales in the subsequent months.
- Celebrity Social Proof
Celebrities also endorse products, and it’s big business. Sometimes a single celebrity endorses dozens of products to cash-in his popularity. Celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez, and Justin Bieber use their name and brand to endorse products which become a runaway hit as soon as they recommend them. Their live sessions attract hundreds of thousands of subscribers regularly.
- User Social Proof
When digital marketers present the success stories of end-users, it is also a great way to make things work for them. Users who become influential in their way can also bring in good traffic to a website or for a product. Companies invite their customers to share their experience with the products they have used and people looking at the reviews believe them, and that’s how user social proof work.
- What a Crowd Recommends
When we heard or read “trusted by millions” or “since 1950”, it is implied that the featured product is trustworthy. Small companies and businesses also use this strategy to come up with a catchphrase like “trending post” or a “viral video seen by over 100,000 people in just 24 hours” to get the traffic they need to keep their site ticking.
- Hear your Friends
We all regularly see the activity of our friends on social media. A new dish recommended by them or a book they love is on top of our priority to eat or buy. Similarly, our views are taken seriously by our friends and make a product get word of mouth, which is one of the fastest ways of making a product gets noticed.
Even the Biggest Companies Need Social Proofing
Social proofing work wonders for small businesses and startups. While big conglomerates and renowned companies don’t need social proof for all their products, it can certainly give them an edge over their rivals. Let’s take the example of how social proofing can make a product a runaway hit or go down the drain in a jiffy.
Pepsi trying its Luck in the Sugar-Free Variant
Pepsi Black, Max, and Bold all are variant of sugar-free released in various parts of the world. But these 3 and other variants too didn’t fare well in the market. It was Pepsi’s answer to Diet Coke, but the public’s response across the globe was lukewarm and made Pepsi cancel many variants. Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi were the real rivals, and even after 3 decades, the rivalry is intense.
One may argue that social proofing may not have much of a role to play in this concern. But in the end, it is the customer’s feedback and review, which make any product tick. Both companies use celebrities and athletes to attract people in hordes with millennials their prime target.
Top 5 Social Proof Strategies
Testimonials can make a product get noticed even if t is a new one in the market. For example, a new beef dish after getting lavish praise on the relevant channel on YouTube can be the perfect scenario for it. Users on Yelp or Quora can make a product get the popularity within a short period with each upvote making the prospects even brighter.
- Ratings and Reviews
If you think that ratings are a thing of the past and don’t work now, think again. On ecommerce websites and shopping portals like Amazon, we all look at the stars given to a product. A 5-star rating makes us believe that a product is good enough to try, even though we haven’t heard about it in our life. End-users can make a product a hit with constant 4-star or 5-star ratings and rave reviews.
- Influencer Endorsements
Just like expert social proof, an influencer can make a product tick with his great reach as he can inspire millions with his endorsement. Nowadays, we see influencer endorsements on everything we can think of. From candies to cars, influencers steer our mind towards the product they are endorsing.
Companies get badges from different organizations and rating agencies which make people think of them in high regard. For example, a bank displaying badges from credit rating agencies can be instrumental in making it a bank having a good track record and a great future ahead. One of the most popular ways of social proofing nowadays.
- Subscriber Counts
We all look at the number of subscribers of any company on their social media platforms, especially on Facebook and YouTube. After seeing a number in millions, we also subscribe without thinking twice as we deem it as proof that the company is reliable.
Over to you
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