We live in a digital world in which we have to constantly prove our worth. Therefore there is a need to know how to get social proof if you want to attract any attention to what you are doing online.
Social proof has now become imperative for customer-led businesses. People are so skeptical about what they see online, they need constant reassurance that they are making the right decisions. And it seems that lots of people doing the same thing is a trigger towards trust and respectability.
However, there is the spectre of algorithms and automation. Commenting bots raise their ugly virtual heads while dominating the social proof scene. How can you be sure this social proof is real, delivered by humans and is therefore worth what it is trying to portray?
What you really need is a human activity which can be perceived as the real thing, and that is creating proper conversations. Also the ability to add value to your comments, which reveals that ever-important personal touch. This infographic provides an outline of what I mean:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Singing from the same hymn sheet
People are like sheep, they have to do what everybody else is doing. Going out on your own is nerve-wracking, and can be quite lonely. Therefore it is necessary to reveal the popularity of your blog or online status through social proof.
The best thing is to aim for a positive perception of you or your blog. Are you providing information your readers really want? Are they happy with it? Do they tell you this within the comments? Do you reply promptly to them? Are you striking up conversations as a result?
To benefit from knowing how to get social proof, you need to have a regular readership or followers which hang out and engage with you. Then you can culture them into leaving the kind of social proof you need to increase your popularity.
Is there safety in numbers?
In the olden days social sharing buttons showed you how many interactions you received from your adoring public. Now these have been removed, partly because of the rise in automated commenting bots skewing the results with paid-for activity.
But there is still a counter for the number of comments you receive. And yes, you can double these by replying to each one as well! Showing off your engaged audience gives the impression your blog posts are worth reading, which in turn will encourage and attract more readers and commenters.
Now it's these lovely commenters who will help with how to get social proof which people trust. You carefully moderate these comments so only the best are published, and if you are able to generate discussions from them, so much the better!
Ask people what they think
A good form of social proof are reviews. Commenters who provide added value within their contributions could be asked to actually review your posts, as they will be more likely to be able to write something along those lines.
Asking your readership or followers to comment can be difficult. You could provide them with suitable call to actions to encourage a good response. Or you could reach out to them personally via their emails (which are available from the moderation pages) to simply ask them for a review.
These reviews not only make good reading for others, the social proof they generate can be adapted into a myriad of presentations. And you have the added benefit of knowing if your blog posts are any good and whether you are providing content your readers want to read.
Tell other people what to do
Turn the tide and start doing other bloggers a favour by reviewing their posts. Treat this as an exercise of showing what can be done, and if you do a good enough job, they may be compelled to visit your blog and offer one in return.
Another way of knowing how to get social proof is to share a good post on social media. Within your comment, remember to tag your relevant friends and tell them to visit and comment as well. This altruism may well result in suitable paybacks on your own blog.
Often you may have to give before you can receive. You cannot rely on expecting people to do what you want or need. Play the long game by offering examples by doing it yourself, providing guidelines of what you want them to do, or gaining a reputation of being a giver before people feel obliged to respond in kind.
Take advantage of what you've got
Once you have obtained a sufficient amount of quality comments, hopefully saying positive and constructive things, adapt these into other forms of social proof, such as testimonials or recommendations.
You could always go elsewhere to get your social proof, such as having conversations on social forums with existing or prospective readers. Do a spot of social listening beforehand, to get to know the lie of the land, before branching out into constructive conversations with them.
This is a great way of forming valuable and worthy relationships with people, before you invite them onto your blog. They will have to get to know you properly first, before they will feel able to provide some social proof.
Get your readers to show you
Part of this relationship building is to gain your followers' trust. Make them feel special, wanted and respected. Once they feel comfortable with you and what you do, then you can start to encourage them to participate within your blog.
You could find out how to get social proof through contests, competitions and other inclusive activities. Get your readers to provide user generated content by providing you with videos of them using the product you talk about. Or ask them to write guest posts about their experiences.
Your blog's popularity stakes will increase massively if people can see how much you are interacting with your readers. And happy readers are much more likely to write comments which can be gleaned for suitable social proof later on.
What are others saying?
I've already mentioned social listening above, and this is a good way of finding social proof away from your blog. If people are talking about you on social media when you're not there, hopefully in a positive way, this can be gathered as evidence you are doing a good job.
Sometimes these conversations can be more authentic if they think you aren't watching. This could be quite hard hitting, but the vocabulary they use could easily resonate more with other readers than with yourself. This accuracy could be more credible than you think.
And you could take advantage of these opinions and adapt what you offer accordingly. Once people have realised you provide what they want, they will be more likely to provide comments which could be used as social proof.
Remember to dish out prizes
Learning how to get social proof means focusing on getting lots of comments, along with shares and discussions elsewhere. It may be necessary to put in place procedures which thank your loyal friends for their engaging activities.
How can you incentivise your followers to participate more? It would be lovely to set up a thriving community on your blog. Here they can benefit from each other as well as what you give them. And as a result you could gather some very interesting comments along the way.
There are some commenting plugins for blogs which offer prizes and rewards for prolific commenters. And a jolly good thing too! People need to be encouraged to keep returning, reading and commenting on your blog, especially if you are successful in learning how to get social proof from them.
Do you know the best way how to get social proof?
What do you do to get social proof from your readers, followers or customers? Are you willing to share any experiences, successes or failures when doing this? We can all benefit from your knowledge and would love to hear from you in the comments below.