I can’t help but notice the little ones shake their groove thing as they watch a room full of women do the same. These kids who have joined their Moms at the zumba class I attend, are tucked safely in a corner at the front of the room, facing dozens of strangers looking right at them. Yet they freely dance their little hearts out, just because the rest of us are doing so also. That’s all they need to know – if they’re doing it, it must be fun!
The power of social proof begins at a very young age and it supersedes many other common inhibitions. I mean, even adults who are past the age of fearing strangers (unlike many small children) wouldn’t dream of dancing in front of a crowd if they were the only ones doing it, right? Indeed, I don’t go to zumba class to dance by myself, I go because the knowledge that others will be pursuing an activity lends credibility for my desire to engage in it too.
What is Social Proof?
“Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation” according to Wikipedia. It goes on to say, “The effects of social influence can be seen in the tendency of large groups to conform to choices which may be either correct or mistaken, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as herd behavior. Although social proof reflects a rational motive to take into account the information possessed by others, formal analysis shows that it can cause people to converge too quickly upon a single choice, so that decisions of even large groups of individuals may be grounded in very little information” – further evidence that people naturally tend to make decisions based on emotion, rather than logic.
Examine Your Experiences for Social Proof
As business owners, social proof is an important dynamic to keep at the forefront because it’s such an influential driver of human behavior. Let’s take a closer look at how we can use social proof as content creators. There are four ways you can leverage this innate power for the benefit or your brand.
- Word of Mouth, otherwise known as relationship marketing, is something we all engage in when a product or service is simply too good not to share! Think of all the ways you have been motivated to tell your friends and colleagues about the latest thing that changed your life or business for the better. This common practice is a force to be reckoned with, which is exactly why many big box stores are now moving away from traditional print, radio, and TV advertising and moving more toward using what’s known as influencer marketing. If you have ever done a sponsored post or a sponsored social share as a blogger, then you’re familiar with influencer marketing – if not, then you can read up on it here. Word of mouth is a powerful force driving social proof that any business owner can leverage by building a launch team when releasing new products, this includes authors releasing new books! If enough influencers state they are using a certain product, that can be all it takes to drive a flurry of customers snapping up a product without one cent of money spent on advertising.
- Case Studies are a type of social proof inducing mechanism that are essentially highlight reels, showing what other people (who were similar to your target customer or reader), experienced as a result of making a decision to buy something that your audience has the option to buy too. A typical consumer starts to see the outcome as a forgone conclusion if he/she sees enough of these sorts of case studies out there. An unconscious expectation begins to play out that they too will get the same results if they make this purchase, because it has happened to so many other people after buying – social proof in action! As you can see, it really is a no brainer to gather case studies to showcase on your website whenever possible. If you’re just starting out – no worries! Just invite people in your target market to a beta testing group to receive your offering for free. Most people will be happy to take you up on this!
- Blog Comments are a bit of a catch 22. Many people assume their voice doesn’t matter because you’ll never read their comment anyway or they appreciate the value you added to their perspective through your post, but they feel too rushed to leave a comment thanking you, so they just don’t leave one. And these are just two of the most common reasons, among many others! Though they are widely nosediving for many to most website owners, blog comments can still be a powerful way to demonstrate value for any blogger. And simply because it’s just not that common anymore to see many comments on a blog post (many of us have Facebook algorithms to thank for that), is all the more reason that it can be so valuable when you do! So why not make it easy peasy for your blog readers to comment? One click comment plugins and a few words from the heart about why you appreciate comments listed right above your comment box, will go along way!
- High value freebies help build social proof for your business because they increase word of mouth talk about what you have to offer! If you have a free report that widely circulates through your target market, people start to include you in relevant conversations. This helps you build authority and increase brand awareness. If your name is dropped often enough, people naturally assume you’re a legit industry leader, even if they have never personally experienced what you do. That’s what social proof is all about – giving you status based on social reference. What kind of lead magnet freebies do you offer on your website? Do they truly demonstrate what you are capable of and compel your reader to subscribe to your site so they can hear more of what you have to say?
Those are just four ways to demonstrate social proof for your audience. Consider whether your content, products, or services are game changing enough that people can’t help but talk about them and share them. If not, what can you do to make them more shareable?
Latest posts by sybilbrun (see all)
- 9 Ways to Get Blog Traffic from Pinterest - March 2, 2017
- 3 Ways a VA Can Grow Your Social Media Presence - January 27, 2017
- 20 Game Changing Books for Bloggers & Business Owners - December 19, 2016