Hereford Times digital marketing expert Grant Thomas writes about social proof, and why it is important to your business

What is social proof?

We all like to check for reviews before choosing a restaurant to visit. Many of us scour feedback about Amazon items before placing an order.

As consumers, we want to know about peoples’ experiences with specific businesses, experiences, or products before spending our money on them. And that’s where the whole concept of social proof comes in.

How does social proof relate to my business?

Personally, I don’t go to a new restaurant before looking at two or three different review sources, or before hearing from a friend that it’s good. I’ll also look on their social media pages to see what people are saying about them. So, if there are no reviews or evidence that people like them, I’m probably not going to go there.

Ninety per cent of people look at reviews before visiting a business, and 84 per cent of people trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from someone they know. That’s why businesses can’t ignore social proof or the places where they can get that social proof for their business.

Why should I care about social proof?

Since social proof is so important, you can no longer ignore it. And that means you can’t ignore the places people are talking about your business. Those places typically include review sites and social media. You might be thinking, ‘I’ve never set up my business on a review site, and I don’t have social media, so I’m good.’ Unfortunately, that’s not how it works anymore. Just because you’ve never personally set up one of these sites for your business doesn’t mean there’s nothing out there. Consumers can add businesses to Google My Business and more to leave their feedback. And if that feedback’s going unnoticed, that might not be a great look for your business.

How can I improve my online reputation?

Manage your online reputation: Make sure you control these sites by keeping all your business information accurate, responding to new reviews, and encouraging your customers to provide feedback on Google, Facebook etc.

Make it part of your business process: 70 per cent of consumers say they’ll leave a review if asked. So, this boils down to making feedback a part of your business. Consumers want to let you know what they think!

Don’t get down if you get a bad review: It happens to the best of businesses! When you get a negative review, take it as constructive criticism and look for ways to improve as you go.

Reward your customers: You can reward loyal customers with programs, discounts, and more to encourage repeat business and that word-of-mouth that helps with social proof.

With the right business processes and strategy, you can make sure you monitor what people are saying about your business and use it to attract more customers.

Learn how the Hereford Times and LOCALiQ can help you with attracting more business online by emailing