25 July, 2014 11:38

One pervasive characteristic most people share is the desire to belong. Children in school often develop close-knit groups of friends as a way to satisfy this need. Even in our professional lives, the desire to be part of the crowd continues.

A major component of this desire is the tendency to follow the decisions made by group leaders. This explains why trends in fashion, music, and business can spread so quickly.

People come to trust certain brands based on the opinions of those they respect within their peer group. As a marketer, you can tap into this phenomenon to help your own products and services succeed. Here are just a few ways to make the most of people’s desire to follow the crowd.

Reviews

Product reviews are huge. An estimated 70 percent of Americans say they look at product reviews when considering items to purchase. Many of these people trust product reviews nearly as much as they would recommendations from people they know personally. Positive product reviews can help show customers that yours is a product worth their investment.

Start by asking customers to leave reviews after a sale. Then advertise those reviews on your website and marketing materials. If your company has positive ratings from organizations like the BBB or Angie’s List, make sure you present that information prominently, too.

Along similar lines, user-generated content, such as blog posts, testimonials, and YouTube reviews, can hold considerable weight with new customers. Try to spark new content by holding user-generated content contests, where winners receive coupons or a special promotion.

Social media mentions and shares

Given the penetration of social media, it makes sense that social media mentions and shares can attract lots of attention for your company and its brand. Use monitoring tools to track the number of times your products or services are mentioned online. Encourage people to share content you publish on their social media pages. Add social media sharing options at the bottom of blog posts, newsletter articles, product pages, and other key content areas of your website. All of these can be great ways to capitalize on this phenomenon.

Statistics

Statistics are a fantastic way to get a second look from potential customers. User statistics can show you how your products or services already appeal to the crowd. Track down and leverage whatever your most positive statistics may be. These could include anything from blog readership to how long you’ve been in business to customer retention rates. Any statistics that help to establish an air of legitimacy can (and should) be used to leverage the power of the crowd.

Humans are by nature social creatures. We tend to seek out social groups that make us feel like we’re part of something larger than ourselves. We also tend to follow the lead of those around us and trust the opinions of our peers. Keeping these dynamics in mind and finding ways to leverage their power is essential to effective product marketing.

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