Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect correct behavior for a given situation. This effect is prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that surrounding people possess more knowledge about the situation.
The only social proof is in your content and testimonials.
By definition social proof numbers are shortcuts. Brand logos and other symbols are shortcuts. It isn't “good” or “bad” that we use shortcuts, in fact we use shortcuts all the time. So here's a question for you…
How much social proof do you think your business needs in order to attract more leads and customers? And what exactly is social proof in the context of a website or blog? Let's dig in.
All The Social Proof You Want, And Then Some
For a blog there's a long list of possibilities:
- Twitter followers
- Facebook Page fans
- Google+ shares (for the entire blog)
- YouTube subscribers
- RSS subscribers
- Email subscribers
- Alexa ranking
- AdAge ranking
- Junta blog ranking
- Alltop listing
- Blog Grade (from HubSpot)
- Twitter Grade (again from HubSpot)
- Social Media Examiner blog ranking
- Socialfresh rating
- Any other awards the blog has won including industry-specific blog awards
And for a single blog post? I'm thankful that we're in the digital space here as it would take a large sheet of paper. Let's start with the ones we use here:
- Google+ 1's
- LinkedIn shares
- Facebook likes
And it doesn't stop there:
- Comment count
- Blokube votes
- Blogengage votes
- Serpd votes
- Delicious bookmarks
- DZone votes
Actually it's best if I just give you a screenshot of all the options.
Frankly I think we need some more options…or not.
Frankly it's not up for debate as to whether or not having social proof numbers on your website or blog work, they do.
In the context of a blog, people see these numbers and are more inclined to share the post they're reading. For a company website it's slightly different. Before lending your “social juice” to the company you have to determine whether you really like them or not. Liking a company's page on Facebook says that you do indeed like that company, and people see that.
On the other hand a share can be more casual. You aren't suggesting you like the company itself rather you enjoyed reading the article and thought it might be of interest to your friends.
So let's not debate if numbers garner other numbers – they do. Instead let's ask an even better question…
Does A Lack Of Social Proof Hamper The Growth Of A Blog?
I want to open up the floor to you. What do you think? Do you think these social proof numbers are indeed real proof that people find what they read valuable? Why do you think people share posts? Why do you? And finally, do you think not having social proof numbers for your blog will restrict it's growth?
Let's talk about it in the comments below!
I'll see you there…