Social proof is more important than ever. The competition is fierce, no matter what business you are in. You probably already know that social proof makes you do crazy things, but most importantly, social proof makes you buy. It’s part of the psychology of influence
A few minutes ago, I bought a book from Amazon. It’s called Thinking, Fast and Slow and the author is Daniel Kahneman. The only reason I bought it, is because a friend of mine recommended it.
Every single time I’m going to watch a movie, I look for social proof. I either ask one of my friends, to get some feedback on the movie, before I go see it. Or, I look online, either on Facebook or websites with movie reviews. I don’t think that I have watched a movie the past year without looking for social proof first.
Most of the time, if I’m going to buy new things, things that I haven’t experienced before, I look for social proof first. The same goes for blogging. If I visit a new blog, and I don’t see any comments, or any sharing (retweets and likes), I get skeptical of the quality of the blog.
The reason I’m skeptical might be because I have a lot higher expectations than I used to. A few years ago, I would spend a lot of time, just browsing the web, looking for interesting content. I would spend hours reading low quality articles, looking for something good. Now, with the use of social media, I don’t go looking for content anymore. I get the content I want to read from people I trust. I believe most people are doing this. We have higher expectations, and we are looking for social proof before we do “anything”.
This is why, gathering evidence for why people should buy from you, is more important than ever. When it comes to digital social proof, there are at least five ways to get social proof and show it to your potential buyers:
- Star ratings
The more positive comments, tweets/likes, reviews, testimonials and star ratings, the better. If you are selling, you need to focus on people providing you with social proof. It’s not just about attention anymore. I might not buy from you, if you have just one star less than your competition. I might not buy from you, if you have one more negative review than your competition. It doesn’t matter if your book is perfect for me. I’m looking for what other people are doing and what other people are saying, before I decide if I’m going to buy or not. Think about it; there are 12 reasons why you should comment on blogs – if you’re going to get customers and advertisers, you need social proof first.
3 Ways to Get Social Proof
You shouldn’t wait for social proof. Waiting is not a solution. Start engaging with other like-minded people. Offer people a bribe to get them to provide you with social proof. I’m not saying that they should give you a false social proof. Not at all. Your customers and your readers should always tell the truth. But, many times, people won’t do what’s necessary unless they get something in return. Or you can do reciprocity. If you provide social proof for one product, they’ll provide social proof for your product. The first sign of social proof is always the hardest. It’s like transforming a lone nut into a leader. Most of the time, you are looking for that one person to stand up and help you out. And, once that happens, the rest is history.
Do what you can, to get your first social proof. You might not have to offer a bribe. Many times, it might be enough to do any of the following:
Ask your customers for social proof
If you need social proof, sometimes, all you have to do is ask. Many times when I write a blog post, I end my post with a question, in order to get people to start commenting. Or, I’ll send an email to the people who have subscribed to my newsletter and I ask them to comment. The same goes for testimonials. Just ask.
Give them a sample
I love to test new things. I test software, I read the first chapters of books, and I am eager to taste new food or candy. That was what I was thinking about when I wrote about the potato chips marketing story. If I get a free sample of potato chips in the grocery store, I will most likely end up buying it. But, even more important, if I get a free sample of anything in order to provide social proof, I will most likely do it.
Make it available
Sometimes, you won’t need to ask to get the social proof. All you need to do is to make it easy to do and you need to make it available. For instance, I have installed Share Juice Pro, to get people like you to help me share my content. I don’t ask you to do it. I don’t bribe you. I just make the share buttons available at the bottom of my posts. If you enjoy what I am writing, most likely, you’ll share my content.
If I was selling anything on my blog, I would have added testimonials, and I have would have added a system to rate what I was selling. This way, more people would get the evidence that what I was selling was worth buying. But, since I’m not selling anything, I just keep writing and I rely on the numbers of shares as my social proof.
How do you get your social proof?
I have written a few testimonials. I have written several book reviews. And, every time someone asks me of my opinion, I tell them the truth. Do you give social proof, without anyone asking for it (for instance by adding stars on Amazon, or writing reviews)?
Do you get social proof from your readers and from your buyers?