Social Media Referrals Key In Buying Decisions
Word of mouth has always been key in making successful sales. Even in our high-tech world, people rely on referrals from human sources — even if they’ve never met the person. Today, they look for social media referrals. To remain sharp in business, you must learn how to attract and harness these potential leads in order to engage consumers and make conversions.
Shoppers actively solicit input by asking friends and their online community for advice. But they also search out ratings, reviews and other comments online, looking for information and special offers.
HubSpot recently reported on this new way of shopping:
- Studies overwhelmingly show that people trust reviews and recommendations by complete strangers and friends more than advertising.
- 71 percent of shoppers say they’re more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals
- Nearly two-thirds of social media users say consumer ratings and reviews are their primary source of reliable information.
- Consumers informally mention brand names 90 times a day.
- The more reviews you have, the better, especially if the total is over 50.
In other words, social media referrals are now a trusted, go-to resource. Referrals come directly from Facebook and Twitter users, but also from ratings and reviews posted on your website or other sites. They can increase your brand awareness, provide a platform to encourage discussion about your products and generate hot leads and sales.
They can also open doors to communicate with customers and receive constructive criticism so that you can fix problems and improve products. And they can give you a distinct competitive edge.
In fact, social media referrals, like testimonials, have always been an important aspect of word-of-mouth marketing. They are important at all buying stages in helping shoppers narrow their searches as well as in making a final purchasing decision.
This means that you need to use every available technique to attract and display ratings and reviews that build confidence in your brand and products.
Here are four things you can do right now to increase social media referrals:
- Focus attention to your “Like” button and ask people to click on it. Put it on every product page, not just your home page.
- Require that viewers become Fans, Friends, etc. before offering them special discounts and offers.
- Encourage customers to contribute and read reviews of your products or services by providing a prominent space on your website for that purpose. Link to it.
- Drive buying decisions in your direction by asking your customers to provide social media referrals. Track their actions, and thank them with something free when their referrals buy.