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Social Proof – Getting Others to Generate More Business for You

September 4, 2011 · 5 comments

in Social Media


Did you know there’s a phenomenon in business marketing that when applied correctly will actually work for you to get more business? It’s called social proof.  Social proof is a valuable asset that can increase your credibility, popularity, virality and profitability on the internet. Let me show you the best ways to generate social proof and use it to your advantage with your online business or blog.

What is Social Proof?

Social proof is a term referring to a psychological phenomenon that occurs when we as humans see many people doing business at a particular place. Think about this: You’re a tourist in a foreign town. You don’t know much about where you are but you’re getting hungry. Restaurants line both sides of the street. You spent a lot of money to get here and you want to try the best food around because you’ll probably not be coming back any time soon. With such limited knowledge, how do you decide where to get your meal? The easiest way to find the best meal would be to look inside each store and determine which restaurant is the busiest! If so many people are dying to eat there, it must be good food and it must be a popular place to eat.
The above scenario happens all the time. Did we research the restaurant before eating there? Did we ask around and get opinions of others? Did we make a list of pros and cons? No. We based our decision on the fact that if many people are doing business there already, they much be having a good experience and we want to make sure we have a good experience too. So we copy them. That restaurant used social proof – the concept that the actions of the masses reflect the proper choice for us as well – to gain your business.

How Does That Apply to Me Online?

Unlike our experiences offline, on the internet you can’t actually see the number of people doing business on a particular website. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of social proof in the same ways. There are many strategies for showing how popular your business is.
One way is to display the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers you have. As others visit your website, they’ll be able to see that you must be popular because others obviously like what you do. You can also display the number of RSS feed subscribers you have and it will work the same way. Another form of social proof is the number of comments you have on your blog articles. Seeing a number of comments will subconsciously alert visitors to the popularity of your site.
A fourth way to show social proof is to gather and display reviews from past customers. Seeing the positive experiences that they’ve had with you can inspire future customers to do business with you too.

A Word of Caution

When displaying your social proof, be aware that it can have the opposite affect and hurt your business if you’re not careful. Displaying that you have zero fans or zero positive reviews will alert future site visitors that you aren’t popular and can’t be trusted as a positive place to do business. If you don’t have any social proof to display, it’s better to wait until you do. Don’t display a big zero.

Getting Social Proof When You Have None

So how do you get social proof if you don’t have any? The best thing you can do is ask for it! Start by asking your offline network of friends and family to visit your site and follow your social media profiles. Have them make some comments on your blog. Then move onto inviting your online networks to do the same. Create invitations on your site for visitors to keep up the process. You can even add an incentive like a free download, sample or trial of your product or service for subscribing to your content. If you keep up with quality posts and irresistible invitations, you can build your own social proof to build your business with.

Conclusion

The best part about social proof is that once you build a little bit of it, it grows faster and faster. That’s the benefit of social media marketing. Eventually your social proof will start to skyrocket. Potential customers will see this and feel they too can have a similar positive experience by doing business with you. The proof generated by past customers and fans will literally grow your business for you. As they continue to spread the word, you will continue to reap the benefits.
So don’t delay! Start building your social proof right away.

 

Written by Brandon Freund

Brandon is the owner of Big Dogs Internet Marketing. He enjoys helping small businesses succeed online and writes business building tips for success on the Big Dogs Internet Marketing Blog.
 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sewing Machine Expert September 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

Social proof is a good way to make more business and attract more customers. It might take time for you to build one, but it’ll be all worth it.

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Suresh Khanal@SEOMMOTips September 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Hi Brandon,

Pretty convincing arguments and they are true. Whether in offline world or the online business, people like to follow the crowd. I have seen many sites flooding comments though the post was something Okay and there are log of sites with best content, still very hard to get comments.

Once you have a better number to show, the social proof starts to grow rapidly.
Suresh Khanal@SEOMMOTips recently posted..3 SEO Tasks You MUST Do Right NowMy Profile

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Brandon Freund September 7, 2011 at 9:10 am

Thanks for the comments! I like to think of it as similar to interest earned on your money in the bank. It starts out small but then it compounds and increases rather quickly.

With social proof all you need is just enough so other’s aren’t turned off by your “unpopularity”. It doesn’t take much. I think it just stems from their fear of getting scammed.
Brandon Freund recently posted..Relationship Secrets for Online ProfitsMy Profile

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parasmani October 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

Nice post Brandon. I guess with google pandalizing websites frequently it is must to go for social media marketing.
parasmani recently posted..Where to buy Google PlusOnes VotesMy Profile

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