Using the Power of Conformity on Your Website to Increase Sales!
The challenge of the battle for consumer attention isn't new but certain techniques are ... and one of the most usable is harnessing Social Proof. This is a cost effective way to attract valuable users, based in showing popularity on your website, and a relatively untapped gold mine in the age of the social web.
Using "What Everyone Else is Doing" to Your Advantage
Social proof is simply the positive influence created when someone finds out that others are doing something - it’s also referred to as informational social influence. Wikipedia has described "social proof" as “a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect the correct behavior for a given situation… driven by the assumption that the surrounding people possess more information about the situation.” Kind of reminds you of the spoof of coming across a person looking up at the sky, then a crowd forming doing the same thing, and finally someone asking what is everybody looking at!
People are conditioned to follow the actions of others, and when incorporated into your online digital strategy and onto your website can be a huge driver of consumer behavior. Practical applications include having a Facebook and Twitter content feed on your site. Facebook widgets that can be easily added to your website can take the concept of social proof even further - showing how many "Likes" your related Facebook Page has, pictures of those people that are following the Page and a stream of their comments. Remember that a fundamental tenet of social behaviour is that people want to be and feel comfortable with people that are popular and that look and/or act like them!
Using Perceived Conformity to Drive Additional Sales
Social proof is in essence a kind of conformity. When a person is in a situation where they are unsure of the correct way to behave, they will often look to others for cues concerning the correct behavior. Social proof therefore often leads not just to public compliance (conforming to the behavior of others publicly without necessarily believing it is correct) but private acceptance (conforming out of a genuine belief that others are correct). Social proof is more powerful when being accurate is more important and when others are perceived as especially knowledgeable. By having this element of Social Proof on your website you are in effect saying that so many others are interested in your product and so should all your visitors.