- By Reinaldo Calcaño
Marketing and psychology go together like bread and butter. Understanding the way that consumers think and feel, and knowing how to tap into certain emotions and inspire a particular response is all part of the game (right, Mad Men?) While this has always been the case in the Industrial western context, Social Media has made one psychological concept become arguably the most important marketing tool: Social Proof.
Social proof is also known as “informational social influence.” It refers to a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.
Bringing the “where” into the equation
The impact of Social Media Marketing — and the strength of social proof — is even more prevalent in the local sphere. Social platforms are increasingly integrating geolocation capabilities into their interfaces; this means users can now geotag their content, check into locations, and even walk into a Snapchat geofence inadvertently. Each of these location signals are part of the bigger picture, where consumers are using their whereabouts as an element to seek social proof from their peers. Before, we might see a celebrity wearing a Gucci purse in a magazine, and go and buy one for ourselves, in hopes that someone would notice our shiny new purchase.
Now, our buying journey is different: we see an influencer carrying the purse on Instagram. We search for “Gucci store near me” on Google. We find the store nearest to use — and we go buy one for ourselves. Along the way, we record the journey: on Snapchat (hello, Geofilters!) on Facebook, (just checked in: Gucci, 5th Avenue) and Instagram (“New purse, do you like?”) Not only are social networks used as a peer-to-peer marketing channel, they’re a way for users to constantly show where they’re doing what, and get validation along the way. In essence, UGC product marketing and location-based social sharing are linked inextricably.
Shoppers who interact with UGC are 96% more likely to convert with a retailer than those who do not.
Staying ahead of the social media trends is no easy feat. Here are our 5 tips to zero in on what you need to do to stay on top of it.
- Embrace new features on key platforms: It feels like there’s a new feature being added to one of the major social networks every week. It’s important that brands communicate with audiences using the language they desire — but also the language that’s warranted on each platform. On Instagram, be visual; on Snapchat, be candid. Remember that being an “advertiser” won’t pass any more — you must be as authentic as possible to really inspire authentic interaction with your consumers.
- Use UGC focused on securing ratings and reviews: have an incredible review that’s featured in a Facebook post? Has someone made a hilarious comment on your Google My Business listing? Share these with your network — or maybe go so far as to having them posted up in your store! Not only does this encourage others to leave reviews too, it perpetuates the sharing of UGC — and, well, we know how important that is.
- Use the scale of social media to your advantage: if you have customers interacting with your brand on a regular basis, make sure you respond back to them. Create a relationship with people to truly humanize your brand.
- Build trust with your community: Consumers huddle around UGC content that seems relevant to them. There’s a tacit agreement of “non-interruption.” Honour that agreement! No one wants their feed disrupted by an annoying ad that disrupts the flow. This will only damage your brand. In essence, don’t become a salesperson in social — let your customers do that for you!
- Centralize your local ecosystem using the right platform: Managing all of this might seem doable in theory. But when you consider the social media puzzle just one aspect of your overall local strategy, chances are you realize you’re going to need a little help from your friends. So find a local platform that allows you to integrate strategies for Snapchat with important local data and analytics. Centralization is vital to ensure you can see the big picture of your local campaigns and strategize more tactically.