Ever look up while standing in a crowded area? If not give it a try…a strange thing happens. You’ll often see another person will stand by you and look up in the same direction you are…then another person…then another…if you do this long enough you’ll eventually gain traction and notice a whole group of people are now looking up to see what everyone is checking out.
Here is how Wikipedia explains Social proof:
Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon that occurs in ambiguous social situations when people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior. Making the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation, they will deem the behavior of others as appropriate or better informed. Since observation of others usually provides only inconclusive information about what behavior is most profitable, the term ‘informational social influence’ is superior. Social influence in general can lead to conformity of large groups of individuals in either correct or mistaken choices, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as herd behavior.
Social proof is an inherent social principle that can be leveraged in social media to increase traffic and visibility to your venture. The way I would recommend to best utilize social proof is the following:
- First have a clear idea of the offer you’re trying to promote
- Make sure the website of your offer has a strong call to action (or is a buzz worthy product). Social proof is much more effective principle if the thing you’re looking at is actually worth while….If your product or service is worthwhile it will gain significantly more traction.
- Plant the social proof seeds…This could be through well written or enticing content (articles, blog posts, press releases, etc) or through a genuine recommendation.Recommendations are a great way to facilitate the social proof process. This can be done through sponsored conversations, which can be done by reaching out to online influencers with talking points and asking them to review or plug your product. This kind of activity can be done by sponsoring blog posts, tweets, check-ins, or having a creator of a relevant social network send a message out to their group members.Now many people disagree with sponsored conversations, but lets face it….If you have a good product/service and can help facilitate the propensity for the site to go viral and reach the masses…why not? (In the art/good practice of disclosure I did work for IZEA until May of last year, but I am not getting paid for this post.) Another way to plant social seeds are through social bookmarking. If you have a good product,service offering or content share it with others by utilizing services like Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon or sharing the post via Facebook/Twitter.
Social proof is in my eyes a natural catalyst for word of mouth marketing. The good part is many times you don’t even have to say anything….simply revealing your actions to your social circle of influence or helping facilitate the process/enabling others to share your offer or content with their social circle of influence can do wonders.
Word of Mouth marketing…or in the case of social proof….(Traction by Action Marketing <–I coined that! ) is a very powerful asset to incorporate into your marketing campaign.
Now it’s your turn…Do you agree with my comments?
What role do you feel social proof plays in marketing?