Have you ever been to the food court in a mall, and, not knowing what you want, looked around at your options, only to find the one you want has the longest line-up?
Why does that happen? Chances are you didn’t really pick the place with the longest line-up.
The line-up chose you.
No one shops at a store, online or off, because it’s the same as its competition. Maybe it’s the low prices, free delivery or a nifty website, but you choose where to buy because you have found an appealing difference there.
And you may not be aware of the difference that forced your decision.
Social Proof is a Visible Difference
The thing that draws you to the food court restaurant with the long line, or the show you can’t get tickets for, or the smartphone that’s sold out, is social proof.
No matter how uniquely individual each of us feels ourselves to be, we all look for social proof, consciously or unconsciously, to help us make buying decisions. But relax, you don’t look for social proof because you necessarily want to go with the crowd (although becoming part of a community is a big part of the equation too).
You look for social proof because it’s the path of least resistance. It eliminates the guesswork of what to buy. If so many others find something appealing, then there must be something appealing about it.
Social proof is the visible difference that tips your buying decisions.
Social proof is a problem for ecommerce businesses
No one can see the ‘line-up’ at their door. Yes, they can have thousands of Twitter followers, Facebook Likes and social media engagement, but so does their competition, and we don’t really notice the difference between one large number and the next.
User Generated Content: Social Proof for Ecommerce
People use the social web to post and share content about what they like and buy. Intentionally or not, when your customers post and share, they become vocal advocates for your brand and products. They become the line up at your door.
When you harness user generated content (UGC), you give potential online customers the social proof they seek to confirm their purchase decisions.
And the sooner you put UGC to work for your ecommerce marketing, the more advantages you will enjoy.
- Developing a UGC program now puts you ahead of most of your competition, and catching up is not easy.
- The more UGC you have, the more social proof you have – and customers see a longer line-up.
- UGC makes you more visible to search engines and potential online customers, including on mobile devices.