Social proof is where the actions of your current site visitors impart the decision making of your future visitors.
This tells you that how your visitors respond to your content or products determine whether the effect of social proof will be negative or positive.
Let us pick a scenario where you are seeking to attract comments to your posts. If new readers land on your site and discover that other people are not submitting any comments, this will have a negative impact on them.
Chances are that they will not be so willing to even read your articles leave alone navigate through your blog to discover what you have to offer.
The same is the case when you have social buttons and no one is sharing your content. New visitors will assume that your content is not good enough for sharing.
Most people like to be associated with what seems to be kicking. This goes to show how we are all victims of peer pressure.
There are people who will close your site immediately just because your site appears to have little activity. This is in form of backlinks, sharing or comments made to your post.
It was just the other day when I was creating a blog for a friend when I realized the power of social proof. A week after posting some content he received a comment asking how come no one seems to be visiting their site.
My friend was thinking of ignoring this comment but I advised him to respond right away. I told him to tell the person that his blog was launched a week ago and he is trying to promote the blog in order to increase activity.
He also thanked him for his observation and appreciated the fact that he would go a step further to submit his views. Just responding to this comment already moved his blog to another level and that is becoming alive.
Human psychology is funny; we like doing things that have been tested and proven to work. No one wants to be the first one to buy or try something new.
In a scenario where you want to attract sponsored advertisers to buy ad space you need to be tactful. Sponsors will purchase ad space if only they see other sponsors advertising on your site.
The thing is that people generally do not want to spend their hard earned cash on buying something they are not sure about. They would rather acquire a product or service that someone else has bought and got his return on investment.
All the above examples go to show how social poof is critical to selling online.
How to create a positive social proof effect:
Commercial advertisements that run on television truly demonstrate the power of social proofing. You will see ad advert on TV with someone talking of how a certain detergent has made his or her life more bearable.
The secret is to make the viewer assume that someone else has used the detergent and it worked for them. Believe or not, the next time you go to the store you will unconsciously pick the product you saw been advertised on TV.
When you come to internet advertising, from the advent of the internet, marketers have harnessed the power of testimonials to promote their products and services. Other strategies that are used online to create a positive social proof include product reviews and case studies.
Richard Bradson in his book: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way talked of how he got big companies to advertise on his music magazine while he was still at school. He would call a company like Vodaphone (this is just an example) and tell them that Airtel (just an example) had paid to appear on his magazine on the back page.
Then he would go ahead and ask Vodaphone to buy ad space on the front page. The moment Vodaphone bought the ad space he would approach Airtel and tell them that Vodaphone had bought ad apace on his magazine’s front page, would they like to buy the back page.
Though this was deceitful on his part, it goes to show that social proof theory actually exists and it really works. It is all about playing with the human psyche.
For you to increase your sales conversion rate on your business website or blog you need to understand how the human mind works.
As a blogger, you can opt to deactivate your comments when you are starting out and only activate once the volume of site visitors goes up.
The other approach which is much better is to request your close friends and colleagues to comment and share your blog posts. This will bring life to your blog thus people will spend more time on your site reading, sharing and commenting on your articles.
Furthermore, all these activities will boost the chances of converting prospects into customers.
As for those seeking to sell advertisement space, you can begin with placing affiliate products and leave one ad space blank. This is a clever way of attracting advertisers because apart from monetizing your site, it creates an impression that you have other sponsors advertising on your site.
How scarcity marketing can also improve your online advertising:
The reason I want to talk about scarcity marketing is to illustrate how it is related with social proofing.
Sometimes you need to create an artificial lack to increase online sales. This is like telling people that a certain product has been moving very fast thus there are few remaining.
Marketers that have discovered the art of scarcity marketing, some of the terms advertisers use include “while stocks last”, “sold out” or “only 50 slot remaining”. This is a way of creating positive social proof in that it tells potential customers that others have already grabbed the opportunity therefore they too need to act fast.
The same applies to advertising on your site, the less adverts you have the higher the chances that people will react to your products.
For example, if you have 10 advertising slots on your site and you reduced them to 5. You will definitely notice an increase in clicks in the remaining adverts.
Scarcity creates an impression that if I do not buy now another person will hence I will end up the loser. By giving people less option you increase the demand. People start thinking that if others are buying the product, it must be worth it.
Now you can see how Scarcity Marketing is related to social proofing. Both strategies place potential customers in a dilemma thus influencing their buying decision process.
The two strategies help in driving online sales in that they create demand.
Bonus point: It is always advisable to test and see if your online advertising strategies are working for you. Pick several strategies and monitor to see which tactics combine well.
For you to gather the right statistics, you need to give each strategy time before making conclusions. Do not rush to say a certain advertising strategy doesn’t work after testing for just one week unless you have a high traffic volume.
Test to see if your blog works better when you place text ads or banner ads. You may be surprised to see that your target audiences are more drawn to text than to banners or the other way round.
Allow me to end this article by giving you some homework. Go and tell you friends and colleagues to visit your site and give you their views.
Ask them to tell you what they think of your advert placement and the products you have to offer. You can even go another step and request them to put it in writing or share a review of your site on their own sites.
If some of their comments are negative make sure you make the necessary amendments. Because if you don’t you will fall victim of negative social proof.
It is now or never. Get down to work and start making money on your blog by placing advertisement. Get the approval of others and the rest of the people will just follow suit.
Advice: Start slow and make your way up. As for those that think you are nobody today, soon they will be looking for someone else to introduce you to them.
All the best, let us meet at the top.
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Author: Stephen Kavita