Today’s topic is about social proof; one of the most important persuasion factors in today’s marketing schemes. It is something you use or observe consciously or unconsciously every single day.
Here’s a short definition to get us started:
According to Wikipedia – “Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
When you delve into the psychology of social proof, it can be pretty scary. Frightening because of how much we rely on something that many times is inaccurate or has no valid basis.
How many times have you passed a restaurant with few or no cars and told yourself to make sure you don’t go there? Or gone to the Cheesecake Factory where the wait for a table is over an hour, and felt assured of having a good meal. That many people couldn’t be wrong.
Another example of social proof influence happens when a number of people change lanes on a congested highway. The immediate thought is that they must know that there’s a problem up ahead, so you better follow suit. There is no basis for this reaction except for the action of others, which you assume are smarter than you are about this particular situation.
There are many other kinds of social proof influences that you may not even think of as social proof. Laugh tracks are a very obnoxious one. Yet, it’s been proven that, even though you know it’s fake, you laugh more. How about testimonials from the doctor who is an obvious actor, telling you to take a certain medication? Pretty scary, isn’t it?. Listening to the testimonial of a known actor who probably knows nothing about the product, and believing or being swayed towards buying a medication that may or may not cause adverse effects.
More than likely you already use some of these methods already, yet they bear mentioning.
- Most businesses use testimonials. Testimonials are powerful influencers, because your clients have already experienced your product and services, and they are happy with the outcome. If written testimonials are worth their weight in gold, then video testimonials are platinum. Making a video of your client, proudly displaying your product, is an excellent marketing strategy. It is a well-known fact that people will watch a video before reading some text. And seeing your client and product live is going to have a very positive effect on your prospective client.
- If you are lucky enough to get your client to hold an open house after you finish a remodeling job, you are sure to get some new projects. It is also a chance for you to show your sophistication as you cater the event, serving excellent food and drinks. Guess what the topic of conversation will be.
- A picture is worth a thousand words, or maybe several thousand dollars. Pictures are one of the few ways you can show your prospective client what they have to look forward to. The thought pattern here is, “If you did this many jobs, and all these clients are happy, I will be too.”
- Home shows always have a positive ROI. Once again, if you have an attractive booth, with many attendees looking at your photos and videos, former clients dropping by, you are demonstrating social proof that you are a bona fide business, and people love what you do.
- You probably belong to several associations, right? Did you know that besides the camaraderie and sharing, associations are also social proof? Belonging to the BBB, Chamber, or local Home Builders shows that you are a respected member of the community, and have a sterling reputation.
- Referral sites are rampant these days. Angie’s List is a primary one for your industry. Did you know that in 2013, 85% of consumers buying from local businesses read reviews before making a buying decision? That’s a staggering number. And it’s up 9% from the previous year. I expect it will continue to rise too. Make sure you are on the right sites, and that you have positive reviews. If lots of people are writing good reviews about your services, others will follow their examples.
- Then last but hardly least, there are social sites. Do you have a lot of followers on Twitter? Over 500 connections on Linkedin? Hundreds of Likes on Facebook? Scores of stunning images on Pinterest? These followers, connections, and fans “prove” that you are a trusted expert in your field. They influence people to trust you and buy from you. I know that social sites can be difficult to manage, but they can also be very influential. Don’t neglect them. It used to be that if you didn’t have a website, people would turn away and look elsewhere. Now, if you don’t have a substantial social presence, you won’t be a serious contender.
That’s just a few examples of social proof and how you can use this influential weapon in your marketing strategies. A single item in this list won’t suffice to make you the contractor of choice. But combined, they are guaranteed to give you an established presence in your community. As you develop your marketing strategy for next year, determine how you will use each one of these influencers to make your next year more stable and highly profitable.
This article was written by Randall S. Soules, writer, business adviser, and educator in the remodeling industry. You are free to reprint or copy this article to your blog, newsletter, staff, etc. as long as the article is shown in its entirety and has a live link to ScientificRemodelingSystem.com (https://scientificremodelingsystem.com).
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