There are 7 billion plus individuals in the world today. Every day more and more of them are appearing on the digital network, the ubiquitous network like the Internet. The increased penetration of smartphones, internet access and overall just shows without a doubt that yes, humans are social animals and as such we love to share our experiences with each other.
For a long time, marketers have come to realize that word of mouth is one of the best ways to get news about their products and services there. This is true of this time and age, but it is evolving to keep pace with the advancement of technology. A term you may have heard committing to quite often is "social proof" and is nothing more than an oral word in your new digital avatar.
For example, we were all "persuaded" to try a new restaurant or vacation destination after seeing our friends post photos on their eating and traveling adventures on social media. On the same note, we were also discouraged from staying at a hotel because we noticed a nasty review left by some dissatisfied customer online. This, friends, is the 21st century version of the word in action.
What is social proof?
Human beings have this deep-rooted instinct that must be swayed by other people and their activities. The internet has occasionally shown that people implicitly trust other people's reviews and reviews when it comes to brands and their services.
Social proof is everywhere. When shopping on Amazon, you tend to check product reviews. If enough people in your office recommend eating food, you should check it sooner or later. Positive reviews managed to draw crowds for the most hopeless films, while the lack of reviews caused the star-studded movie to fade into oblivion.
Simply put, if enough people like it, the product or service should be good
Social proof is already a valued dynamic used by marketers and companies around the world to influence consumers. Businesses have featured prominently reviews, reviews, ratings, approval stamps, expert reviews, "popular items" and more on their website. And why? Because we would rather go on with what others have to say about a particular business than trust the brand itself.
The hospitality industry is particularly influenced by social evidence. Most people rely on customer reviews and opinions they meet on social media. More and more people are turning to Trip Advisor and similar sites to read what other customers are saying about a particular hotel. And only if the overall perception and feedback are positive do they actually go ahead and book a room at the hotel.
Types of social evidence
Social proof, for its part, can be a pervasive phenomenon that overlaps across fields and industries, but from a marketing perspective it can be classified into 5 specific categories.
1. Expert social proof
People trust credible institutions and celebrities. Before we make any claim, we need reassurance and expert social proof offers just that. You can find the words "expert opinion" in articles that give tips and instructions as a means of legitimizing it. Ads on toothpaste and toothbrushes are "reinforced" by the opinions of leading dentists, while beauty creams usually have a skin specialist. And after a restaurant or hotel has got a thumbs up from a well-known critic, you can be pretty sure that people will flock to it from the hundreds.
2. Social proof of celebrity
The name says it all. Celebrities have a swaying effect on the population, and they come with their own stamp of legitimacy. If a celebrity approves a hotel, the chances of it becoming the first ten establishments in the city are extremely high. That said, the most authentic and real social proof of celebrity is unpaid.
3. Consumer social proof
The social proof of the user is in any kind of user-generated content that shows their experiences. This includes success stories, social media photos, reviews, and website reviews. Consumer social proof is one of the most effective ways to increase hotel confidence. One of the most obvious examples is Tripadvisor, where millions of users arrive every month to see and write reviews and recommendations.
4. The wisdom of the crowd
A million people can't go wrong is a saying that most marketers adhere to. And they use clean numbers to swing future users. It may be subtle or obvious depending on who is doing the marketing. Take leading bloggers, for example, who show hits on their site and other numbers on their blog to identify their credentials.
5. Your friend's wisdom
The user will always rely more on the personal experience of a friend than on the word of a stranger. Statistics also show that many customers rely heavily on recommendations from friends and family. This social proof has the potential to go viral.
Against this background, you might think that you have a broad set of conditions when it comes to gathering social evidence for your business. However, what works for an industry does not necessarily meet your requirements. Therefore, you need to find the perfect fabrication of different types of social proofs to find out which ones are best for your brand.
Why do you need social proof?
In the hotel business, building and emphasizing social proof is essential to attracting attention and subsequently to new customers. There is more than one reason why you should make significant efforts to spread word of mouth. Here are the main reasons why it is essential to set aside a budget and make a marketing plan around generating social proof for your hotel
With the influx of genuine reviews (most of which we hope will be positive), you will be able to build trust with your customers.
Social proof enhances your credibility as a business and can help turn an insecure customer in your favor
Online reviews, ratings and reviews are the best form of advertising for your hotel and can compete with the most fantastic and expensive marketing campaign you can think of to launch.
Strategy for collecting social evidence
As I mentioned before, there are different ways you can collect social evidence, the most common ones being to ask customers for feedback and feedback, to make an impactful talk about you by offering free stays and promoting interactions (like a check) on your social media page. They should be an integral part of your online marketing and branding campaign. But I would like to discuss some other techniques for collecting social proof for your hotel:
There is a reason for Facebook traffic to jump fast after it started supporting GIFs and videos. The visual media have the ability to influence people and can go viral with the slightest push. A video highlighting your hotel's deals, opportunities for sightseeing in the city, places of interest and culinary delights for your guests will be met with great enthusiasm. And if it's well done, with a little creativity in it, you can expect it to attract customers to your door in no time.
It is said that an image speaks a thousand words. Extensive research shows that image publications are 35% more likely to attract engagement than simple text. Research has also found that people are more likely to believe image-based claims. So the next time you want to share customer reviews and recommendations, be sure to attach an image to draw more grip.
Humans are visual creatures, and infographic is the best option when you want to present data in an interesting way without boring your audience with chunks of text and long paragraphs. Remember to include them in your marketing campaign.
Collecting social evidence is not as difficult, but any strategy is as powerful as its implementation. After using videos, images and infographics to convince travelers that your hotel is a great option, give them a clear CTA to follow. Point them to your website or landing page and tell them in uncertain words what to do.
Leave no guesswork. If you want them to review, make that clear. If you want them to book rooms and get a discount, make it clear. The moment you leave things unclear is the moment when they are likely to go astray and leave. Don't let your hard work ruin you. If you've come up with a marketing plan to collect social proof with great care, don't let a vague call to action ruin things for you.
Now go to the power of social proof and use it to your advantage. Get your past and current customers talking about you and use their reputation to attract more visitors your way!