Social proof is like a nudge that pushes people into doing what other people are doing. Sometimes, it works because people aren't sure what they should do. Sometimes, it works because people think that what others are doing must be really great.
If you're doing business online, social proof is the most effective way to promote and influence your audience. Simply defined, social proof is when one person's public actions influence the actions of others. Social media and content marketing rely on social proof to influence actions and increase conversions:
- are you more likely to Follow an 'expert' on Twitter who has 230 followers, or 2300?
- if your Facebook friend Likes a new restaurant in town you're more likely to click on the link
- when a blog post you read has been Shared on social media 57 times you're more likely to share it also
- online stores showcase customer reviews, testimonials and referrals: testimonials and word-of-mouth are a factor in 50% of all purchasing decisions: McKinsey
Tools help measure social proof and attract followers and customers:
Just how influential are you - or your competitor - on social media? Klout is a tool that measures your impact on and helps you build your digital influence and relationships. Businesses, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) all want to raise their Klout Score, meaning their circle of influence.
Visitors to your site are more likely to convert to customers when they see how popular your website is. UserStats "taps into the power of social proof by allowing websites to display the current activity happening in real time on their website; think downloads, visitors, purchases and more" - Search Engine Watch. Shopping online is a solitary experience: you can't see who else is shopping. Real-time user statistics - views, purchases, shares, downloads - lets you see how popular a business is, and influences you to become a customer.
PlugIns and Social Buttons
Many social platforms offer plugins and buttons that encourage and display social proof of your popularity.
- WordPress has social plugins you can add to your blog to encourage Likes, Follows or Shares
- Facebook social plugins let visitors Like your Facebook page from your blog and other social networks
- Twitter allows you to ReTweet or Favorite tweets you like
Using social proof to build your influence and reputation requires a solid content marketing strategy and constant monitoring of changes in your influence. Look at your social metrics:
- if your Klout score is 35, you may not want to promote it on your website
- if you only get 3 views on your blog posts, don't share the number of views
- if your customer reviews are all complaints, don't display them on your home page
Understanding what social proof is, and how to increase and optimize your circle of influence and convert visitors to customers, is vital to a strong ROI on your social media and digital marketing investment. Leveraging social proof is a critical part of your public relations strategy and must include knowing and understanding your social proof metrics.
For More Information on Social Proof Crazy Egg: Examples of Social Proof on the Web Business 2 Community: 9 Apps That Help You Harness the Power of Social Proof