As consumers, we base many of our decisions and opinions on the behaviors of others around us. If people are lining up at a coffee shop or retail store, we might feel more inclined to join the crowd in fear of missing out on something.
This phenomenon is known as social proof, and it can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses.
Social proof can come in many forms. Sometimes we rely on crowds to inform our purchasing decisions, as in the example given above. On other occasions, consumers go with what an expert or other authoritative figure has to say about a business. But these days, the most common and powerful type of social proof revolves around online user reviews and ratings.
Consumers now have Google and other healthcare review sites at their fingertips, and they want to know what real customers like them think about their product or services before deciding to take the next step. In fact, 85% of consumers will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, according to a 2017 BrightLocal consumer survey.
With all of this access to customer sentiment, it should come as no surprise that prospective customers expect more from businesses than ever before.
Customer reviews and ratings help online users quickly determine how well a business stacks up in these and other areas. And when a user conducts a search including the words “best” or “top,” Google only shows businesses with a 4.0 star rating or above.
So, as a marketer, focusing on social proof and reputation management is vital for attracting new customers.
How to Incorporate Social Proof
Above all else, your business must earn its social proof by providing a great patient experience. But the true power of social proof comes from spreading the message of your strong reputation so others can see it.
Here are three ways to incorporate social proof in your online brand promotion efforts.
- Maintaining Your Google My Business (GMB) Listings
Keeping your Google My Business listings up to date for every location your manage is essential for acquiring new leads and maintaining consumer trust. If even one element of a GMB listing is inaccurate, broken, or outdated, you may lose a potential customer and damage your reputation by providing incorrect information. Make sure your name, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) for each location are accurate, and that all links to your website, social media pages, landing pages, etc. work properly.
To learn more about developing a local listing management strategy, click here.
- Get More Reviews and Respond to Each One
Your online reviews will often serve as the initial gateway for a potential new patient. The more positive online reviews you have, the stronger your business’ social proof.
Not every review is bound to be completely positive, though. Still, the more reviews your business acquires, the better, as Google and other review sites will rank your business higher in search results for having more customer engagement.
And as it turns out, even negative reviews can enhance your social standing if you manage and respond to them properly. After all, online users do not only read patient reviews but also your responses.
If your response seems genuine, helpful, and self-aware, many users will think more highly of your business. So, while your aim should be to increase positive online reviews, increasing your number of reviews overall can enhance your social proof.
- Incorporate Star Ratings into Your Web Pages
Reviews and rankings are helpful in establishing social proof in their own right. But the quality of these reviews matters, too. As mentioned earlier, consumers will often rely on authoritative voices when making a decision.
With Binary Fountain’s Star Ratings feature, you can publish trusted and verified ratings and reviews from surveys to your web pages. These Star Ratings can help boost your website’s Google rankings and increase customer engagement and acquisition.
Use a Reputation Management Solution to Make it Easy
When it comes down to it, your brand’s online reputation is now its strongest form of social proof. Utilizing a reputation management solution like Binary Fountain allows you to manage all aspects of your online presence from a single dashboard, including your GMB listings, reviews and responses, Star Ratings and Surveys, and more.
About the Author
Content Marketing Specialist