03-12-2018 01:32 PM CET - IT, New Media & Software

Do You Social Proof Your Social Media By Expert, Celebrity, User, Wisdom of Crowd and Friends?

Press release from: MarTechAdvisor

Social proof. It's actually a thing. Let MarTechAdvisor tell you why. You’ll probably agree to some or all of the following.
• You (often if not always) feel that anything experts use (or say) is great because they are probably more knowledgeable in their area of specialization.
• You prefer buying products endorsed by celebrities (because you trust them or want to be more like them.
• You rely on user reviews when shopping for products online

Source: www.martechadvisor.com/articles/social-media-marketing-2/...

Now here’s the seed. All of the above relate to the concept of social proof (see definition below).
Social proof (also known as the informational social influence) is a psychological and social phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior in a given situation.
Source: Wikipedia

According to a popular blog by Bufferapp, there are five types of social proof:
Wisdom of the crowd
Wisdom of the friends

Let’s find out a little about each:
1- Expert social proof
A typical example of expert social proof is when an industry thought leader (or influencer!) approves of your product on social channels. In modern-day marketing, this could take the form of a blog post, posts by them on social media, etc.

It is common now for brands to have industry experts host Live QnA’s or chats on channels like Twitter for example.

What is the best part? Such collaborations can often be viewed as win-win situations because the industry experts involved also benefit by getting to reach your brand’s audience.

Ways in which it can be done:
• Collaborate with experts for a social media event - this qualifies for a great engagement activity as well!
• A mention from a big brand, or an expert in your industry of something your brand does, (Remember: without a formal collaboration, it’s priceless)
• Photographing them as product/service users (Great for Instagram, Twitter where visual appeal is always the draw)) – again preferably without a formal collaboration – happy users are always the best advertisement! Even better if they happen to be an expert in the field!
The best thing about expert social proof is that it doesn’t have to be restricted to any particular industry. When used smartly as part of an overall social media strategy, it can boost brand awareness and credibility across segments.

A few differences between thought leaders and influencers; because they are not necessarily the same thing!
• Thought leaders are usually found on more professional networks like LinkedIn – but being a ‘thought leader’ is not their job – they have been acknowledged as thought leaders because of the cutting-edge work they do in their chosen field
• Thought leaders will often write blogs on reputed sites, contribute to forums, have columns on news sites
• A thought leader’s audience will usually be in decision-making
• Social influencers strive for more visual and attention seeking opportunity, they are more often found on platforms like Instagram / Snapchat, and could in fact, in many cases be ‘professional social influencers’
• A social influencer’s job is to get audiences to spend money!
• Social influencers get paid (in cash or kind) to be present at an event to cover it socially or retweet/post on specific matters – they are usually sent tons of free product samples to test and review on their social handles and can be paid to make it a more positive one

Thinking of using social influencers? Then watch out for the FTC!

Here’s a quick alert from Robert Glazer, Founder & Managing Director, Acceleration Partners (a performance marketing agency).

“2018 will see a flood of FTC warnings and crackdowns to make influencers and brands more accountable for stealthily manipulating consumer buying habits. Last month, the FTC sent about 90 letters to Instagram personalities prompting them to disclose their paid relationships with brands like Puma, Dunkin Donuts, and others – there’s no guarantee that all 90 will comply, leading to new precedents in the space.”

2- Celebrity social proof
Now let’s get this straight. An influencer is not a celebrity. Celebrity social proof is a form where typically the celebrity uses a product, talks about and promotes it on social media (or in public). This form of social proof is a lot more meaningful if the endorsement is unpaid.

While celebrity endorsements have actually been around for years, modern innovations like social media have made it more apparent. While the positives include capitalizing on the said celebrity’s reputation and fan following, there are a few cons to watch out for.

Some being,
• Celebrity mistakes are always public: when made, fan base can be impacted by negative publicity and this can trickle down to your brand
• It’s expensive!
• Users want more honest, meaningful and engaging messaging today

3 - User social proof
This consists of neutral feedback from real users, most commonly taking the form of customer reviews and testimonials.

How can you use this to your advantage?
• Share milestones to get users to Like, Comment, Share, Tweet!
• Create or curate user-generated content: Bufferapp once mentioned on their blog that user-generated content on Instagram helped them grow their following (and engagement) from 4,500 to 21,000 within six months! This user-generated content could include an array of elements. For instance, you can post an interesting question on your social accounts to which users respond by tagging you (then, of course, you can repurpose their responses to use in other kinds of social promotions!)
• Share customers’ love for your product: Here’s a cool example. You probably use Slack at work. We do. Slack receives tons of love for their product on social channels like Twitter. To share this love and use it to influence online audiences, Slack has a Twitter account, @SlackLoveTweets, which retweets shout-outs from their users

Studies show that 63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews

Source: econsultancy

4 - ‘Wisdom of the crowds’ social proof
When lots of people – whether you know them or not - are using or buying a product, others usually want to follow suit. When thousands, millions have taken the action to purchase a product or service (subscribing) it’s probably good, right?

Social media is all about sharing what’s going on in everyday life, a place where users compare status too. This is why you’ll most often find companies sharing an approximate customer base value, subscription numbers, and now most recently, the number of shares, likes and comments near blog posts, articles, and social posts too!

From the familiar presence of social buttons on most web pages, readers now see...

Number of likes, shares, or comments too!

5 - “Wisdom of your friends” social proof
This is a powerful marketing tactic. And most social platforms already draw from this psychology. This is why Facebook widgets show a list of Facebook friends that “like” a brand, Twitter displays a list of people you follow who follow others

Did you know?

Popular networks like Facebook use the wisdom of friends social proof psychology. And you can too! Simply choose to target your Facebook ads to the friends of the people who already ‘like’ your page when placing an ad the next time. This is assuming the audience (friends of existing page ‘likes’) are similar to your target base. In most cases for business, pages let’s mainly assume it will be.

Social proof can come in many shapes and sizes. And marketers have already been drawing from this psychology. So how about energizing your social media campaigns with the power of social proof today? Just make sure it’s the most relevant one for your industry.

Read more on Social Media Marketing at www.martechadvisor.com/category/social-media-marketing-2/

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