Genevieve Verdier
April 27, 2015 | eCommerce , Social Media | Genevieve Verdier

The power of social proof

There are many ways marketing impacts consumer behavior. Product reviews have a powerful influence as social proof, and can greatly influence whether customers will buy online and which wines they purchase.

Power to the people
There is extensive evidence that social proof, or the presence of other people talking about products in any channel, can be fiercely influential in a person's behavior as well as their decision-making. Marketing analytics firm KISSmetrics cites two studies that describe the power of social proof, either in the form of comments or reviews, on ecommerce sites. The first study, provided by Power Reviews, said 70 percent of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchasing decision.

The second, done by iPerceptions and CompUSA, noted 63 percent of consumers would purchase from sites that have product reviews and ratings. There are likely good reasons for that: By having a place to provide feedback, people are allowed to talk about your products and help others make a decision on what they wish to purchase.

Consequently, there are ways that social proof can change the way your consumers think about your wine. For example, the Wall Street Journal noted a study where four comments were posted citing the benefits of a certain green product. Two comments cited monetary and environmental benefits; a third cited a moral responsibility, while the last one stated that a majority of a person's neighbors already had it. It turns out that the last comment, that invoked positive social proof, had the most impact on changing behavior. The use of peer pressure through reviews and other testimony can help persuade your audience to make a purchase.

Pressuring their peers
There are several ways of invoking social proof in your online wine store. As noted before, the most effective method is through reviews of your wine. This may seem risky if an unfavorable review is received. However, by having any reviews out there, people will feel more comfortable making a purchasing decision of your wine. By giving people the option to provide feedback, there is a greater incentive for them to do so and influence others to make the same decision they did if the feedback is positive.

Of course, reviews are but one part of the equation in the era of social media, as software developer Opt In Monster notes. Just having social media mentions can serve as social proof as well. For example, you can create a feed on your website that posts every time someone mentions your winery on Twitter. Posting tweets on your Facebook page will provide brand reinforcement to those who visit.   

There is the option of leveraging social media to spread word of your own content. For example, if you regularly write blogs posts, add the social sharing options to all of your posts. These posts are made to raise awareness of your winery, and what better people to spread the word that your customers through a share on Facebook or Twitter?


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