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How To Use Social Proof To Grow Your Business

According to Wikipedia "Social Proof" is the concept of people using the actions and the behaviours of large numbers of people to guide their own actions and behaviours.
Portrait of confident businesswoman with business people in background
Portrait of confident businesswoman with business people in background

What do you think of when you hear the words social proof?

For business owners using social media to build and grow their business, they are trying to find new customers and reach new clients. Social proof provides you a strong foundation to help you acquire new customers and clients.

Social proof is the thing that makes a difference between them just flying past your post on Facebook or stopping, reading, clicking and buying.

According to Wikipedia "Social proof" is the concept of people using the actions and the behaviours of large numbers of people to guide their own actions and behaviours.

Let's paint a clearer picture of a real-life application. Imagine you are looking for a place to eat. Your stomach is starting to growl and you know you have a limited time before your body begins anarchy. However, you are in unfamiliar territory, worn down and thirsty too. Desperately looking around for any semblance of a cafe, restaurant, or even a sandwich shop, you are lucky enough to see two options that seem to fit the bill.

One is a restaurant with a line out the door. People are laughing and having fun, you can hear the music, the waiters are bustling around, the food is flowing, the atmosphere is high-energy and everyone's having a great time. When you look at the restaurant from outside, you get a real, positive feeling about buying your lunch there. You think to yourself, that is where I want to be. You feel inspired to be in this popular, busy restaurant because so many other people are already there. You look at the restaurant as a whole and you assume a certain level of quality: of food, of service, of entertainment value. This assumption is based on the entire picture as well as the number of people already eating and those still waiting to get in and seated.

Now, you glance over at your second option across the street, also a restaurant. The difference is astounding as you peer into the virtually empty seating area. There is no one waiting in line, the waiters are standing around talking to each other, no food is flowing, the few seated customers look a bit bored, there's no music playing, no excitement flowing into the street. Now, you look back across the street to the hoppin' restaurant and then refocus on the boring restaurant in front of you. Most likely, you feel yourself slump your shoulders and are left with a less than fantastic feeling about eating there. At this point, maybe you are feeling a little less hungry. You don't feel excited to go in there and you certainly wonder if the food is any good because the locals aren't eating there and you've already made your decision between these two restaurants based on social proof.

That's it! Simple as that. We have just defined social proof, the proof that other people help you make decisions and choices based off of the actions of the masses. According to Hupspot from Jan 2012, 71 per cent of people are more likely to make purchasing decisions based on social media referrals. What is a social media referral? It can be overt, like asking for a restaurant suggestion, but it can also be less overt and just be evaluating a company's success by the number of people that like their Facebook page, how engaged the page is and how frequently the business engages with its fans.

So how do we translate this to Facebook? Again, it's simple. When you are browsing around you see an advertisement, or you see a suggestion for a page or one of your friends has liked a page, you may feel compelled to click to the page as well. However, once you land on the page, you take a look at it and see that it has less than 100 likes, subconsciously, without any process; we make a decision about the quality and the value of that page. Whether it's right or wrong, we've already made up our mind about that business.

Now, let's imagine a different scenario. You see an ad, or a suggestion, or your friends have liked it so you feel compelled to click to the page. However, this time, is different. This page has 5,000 or 10,000 people or more already liking it. We immediately position that page, and consequently that business, in a different light. We look at it differently; we tend to give it more credibility and may even add our own "like" to the page.

We consider the page with thousands of likes to have a better product or a better service, much more so than the page with 100 likes. We want to be part of the fun environment, we want to answer their questions and comment on their posts AND we are more inclined to share their posts as well.

So now look at your own page, how is its social proof doing? Need some help in that regard?

Claim my free 10 Tips to Increase Your Engagement Report RIGHT HERE!

And check back soon when we talk about how to get highly targeted yet inexpensive likes on your page, to grow your social proof!

Here's to your Facebook Success!

Sherri-Lee Woycik

Social Media Minder

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