Social proof has demonstrated itself to be a powerful force in many areas of persuasion and your social media strategy depends on it more than you can imagine. It’s tough to imagine how one could suddenly transition from an “Average Joe” to social rock star but it is truly a part of your overall long-term strategy for developing trust and loyalty from your target market.
If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, you are probably already familiar with The Law of The Few. To reach the point where a phenomenon turns into an influential trend, it requires the “intervention of a number of influential types of people”.
- Connectors – People who are well liked by many different groups and are constantly connecting others. You probably have a couple friends like this that have introduced you to most of the people you know.
- Mavens – These people are data miners and constant info seekers. They like to level the playing field by helping people around them make informed decisions.
- Salespeople – These personalities have an infectious charisma that is extremely persuasive and helps influence buying decisions.
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Basically, your success depends on the right combination of these elements. You have to realize that not everyone will buy from you but they could help you in other ways. The Maven personality might not necessarily buy from you immediately, or at all, but it’s very likely they have a level of influence over those in their social circle based on their track record of helping people make informed decisions.
My aunt was a maven when it comes to coupons and specials. She would hunt for the best deals and go the right days with all her coupons just to save a few bucks. You might not be a maven yourself but if you can get them on your side, you’ll be greatly increasing the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
Obvious Example: Groupon & Twongo
Coupons and sales have been around for decades but with the newly added element of social, we’ve all witnessed how effective the power of social proof and scarcity work together. Groupon is one of the more popular examples of the group-buying phenomenon that’s been all the buzz lately but in my local area, Kelowna, we have a very popular competitor called Twongo.
The Twongo (now called Go Sango) and Groupon systems are great at a few things:
– Encourage high volume sharing and referrals
– Offers great credits towards future purchases for referrals that buy
– Exclusive Facebook contests drive social sharing and sales
– Increase sales through social proof and scarcity
– Shows how many people bought and timer ticks down before deal runs out
– Sales seem consistent even when deal and timer repeat for recurring deals and specials
Following The Crowd (All the cool kids are doing it)
People have an instinctive tendency to follow the crowd. Whenever we see that something is popular or well liked, we are more likely to follow along due to the comforts of social proof. Tools like testimonials, videos and reputable client endorsements are all very effective in driving social proof for your social media strategy.
People in the city walk by street musicians all the time but when you see a big crowd, the impulsive urge to want to check it out is difficult to escape. Have you ever not gone to a restaurant, bar or store because it seemed unusually dead inside?
Your prospects are more likely to have an interest in your product or service if others have clearly shown interest in it. Check Amazon.com or the iTunes Store and see the correlation between high ratings and popularity/sales if you still need convincing!
What do you struggle with when it comes to integrating social proof into your social media strategy? Leave a message in the comments below or shout out to me on Twitter: @MelonieDodaro.