How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors

I know you’ve probably felt as though no matter how much you work on your blog, it just seem as though you’re stuck. You’re not moving from the level that you’re currently in.

I know how frustrating it must be.

You’re frustrated because it’s so darn hard to move up to that next level. I should know – I’m fighting to just get on the list.

Sure, you have people that read your blog posts all the time – but so what? They read your posts – maybe click on links that you shared to see another post or even are nice enough to leave a few decent to meaningful comments about what they just read.

And?

That doesn’t change things.

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image Proven-Ways-to-Use-Social-Proof-to-Increase-Your-Conversions-1 on https://trunk.ly

Every time you publish a post, you make sure to follow the steps to make sure it gets noticed:

  1. Promote it on all of your social media channels.
  2. Engage with influencers higher up the list than you in hopes they’ll find it useful and share it with their audience (important)
  3. Share it with bloggers that were mentioned in the post (very important)
  4. Repurpose it into various other formats to get maximum exposure to that post and your site.

Even with that, and even if the post does well, you still aren’t able to make that jump to the next level.

(IF that’s even what you want.)

But, you’re not alone.

Other bloggers that are levels below you are constantly trying to figure out how they can move up the chain.

They’re constantly wondering how they can get to your level, while you’re wondering how to move up in the Blogosphere.

You know you write great content.

Heck, your content might be better than the bloggers above you.

People enjoy, share and comment on your content just like they do for those bloggers.

But – all of that doesn’t matter as long as they have one distinct advantage that you don’t have.

Social proof.

What Is Social Proof (And What Does It Really Mean)

Before I get into this further, I want to share with you what Wikipedia gives as the definition of social proof.

The effects of social influence can be seen in the tendency of large groups to conform to choices which may be either correct or mistaken, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as herd behavior. Although social proof reflects a rational motive to take into account the information possessed by others, formal analysis shows that it can cause people to converge too quickly upon a single choice, so that decisions of even large groups of individuals may be grounded in very little information

– Wikipedia

So what does all that really mean?

Basically it means that people are often (mis)guided to make a decision about something based on how many other people have made or are currently making that decision.

Since others have decided to be a part of something, they feel as though they have to join in as well because all of those other people CAN’T be wrong.

Trust me, it happens. And not only worldwide, but in blogging especially.

4 Different Examples Of Social Proof Used Effectively By A-List Bloggers

There are many bloggers that use social proof to their advantage and that helps them in getting more subscribers to their blogs, or followers to their social network platforms.

Here are just a few examples:

Kristi Hines

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image kristi-hines on https://trunk.ly

Kristi owns the website Kikolani and one way that Kristi uses to justify social proof is by displaying her Google+ followers on her site. She has more than 30,000 followers on there alone. Along with displaying that she has more than 56,000 followers on twitter and more than 4,500 likes on Facebook.

Kristi is utilizing social proof on her site to the fullest advantage using her social media numbers. Which, I’m sure, helps to convert more visitors into subscribers of her website.

Derek Halpern

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image derek-halpern on https://trunk.lyDerek operates the blog Social Triggers and one highly effective way that he utilizes social proof is by showing people the amount of readers that his blog currently has (more than 100,000) and also how many Twitter followers he has as well.

If a regular reader (who has never been to his site before) visiting for the first time, reads and likes the content, then sees the number of subscribers that are subscribed to his newsletter, what do you think the chances are of them actually subscribing?

Pretty high I would think.

Pat Flynn

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image income-report on https://trunk.lyPat operates Smart Passive Income and he does social proof in a different way. He shares his monthly income reports right down to the penny. Now, you may be asking yourself, “How is that social proof?”

Well, because alot of people who report their income online just report their earning through percentages and pie charts. Doing it that way, readers don’t really know what the real numbers are. They don’t know what the expenses were or the difference month to month – making those numbers less attractive.

Pat capitalizes on that and always gives the exact number. This transparency is one of the things that helps him alot and gives him social proof.

Glen Allsop

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image community-stats on https://trunk.ly

Glen operates the website Viper Chill and the way that he shows his social proof is by showing all of those in his community.

Numbers like the RSS Subscibers and Facebook Fans would go a long way towards showing social proof to people that visit his blog and convincing them to be part of the community as well. It shows that he’s someone worth reading and subscribing to.

Why Social Proof Remains The Undefeated Champion At Converting

If you have the numbers, then you should do everything in your power to try to utilize social proof.

That means showing how much subscribers you have, how many followers on social media platforms, even how many people listen to your podcast episodes or have downloaded it.

You should do social proofing because not only does it works so darn well but also because it proves that people love to follow a crowd.

For example, say that you go and visit Derek’s site. You may like the simplicity of the design, the constant laser-focus on great content, but you’re still not 100% convinced to give up your email address and subscribe to his email list.

But then you check out his site some more and come to find out that more than 100,000 people subscribed to his newsletter. Something like that may actually make you justify subscribing to that site because of that number.

Your subconscious might be thinking,“Over 100,000 people can’t be wrong? Can they? They must be satisfied with the great amount of content and value that he’s providing to his readers. Let me subscribe as well and see for myself.”

When people start thinking like that – and they DO think like that – they subscribe because they want to be a part of something.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look at some of the blogs that you subscribed to. What social proof are they using?

The One & Only Time You SHOULDN’T Use Social Proof

Let’s be real.

Many of us don’t have the type of social proof that those mentioned above do. Though that doesn’t mean that we should still use social proof.

Incorrect use of social proof can cost you potential subscribers.

For instance, you have 30 subscribers and 50 twitter followers and 30 people on Facebook. Trying to show social proof in that case can really work against you because people may think that no one wants to hear what this person has to say. They’ll start thinking, “So why should I even bother giving up my email address? Or start following them on social media?”

In cases like that, social proof can work against you.

Same goes for if you have a podcast and you use Feedburner. Feedburner has an option that allows you to display how many subscribers your podcast has so you can display that on your blog.

If you have, let’s say, 10 people that are subscribed to that feed for your podcast and you display that number, do you really think that’s going to help you get more subscribers?

Social proof is a good thing, but you need to know and understand when to actually use it so it doesn’t hurt you.

A good rule of thumb is to keep any numbers hidden until you at least reach 3 figures.

Always view your blog through the eyes or a new visitor. If you were them, would you be more willing to join a email list of 50 people or 1,500? Or how about following someone with 20 Twitter followers or 200?

Don’t let your numbers work against you.

How To Fast Track & Improve Your Social Proof (Even Without The Numbers)

You may be thinking, “What social proof do I possibly have? I don’t have alot of followers on my social networks nor do I have that many readers subscribed to my email list. What could I do?”

The easiest thing to do would be to not display any of those numbers until you get it to a point where displaying it could work to your advantage.

But even if you don’t have those numbers, you can still use social proof to your advantage and ultimately convert visitors that come to your site into subscribers.

Here are some pretty good options:

Idea #1: Get More Shares Of Your Blog Post

If you write a blog post and there are 0 likes on Facebook and 0 retweets on Twitter, then that means one of two things:

  1. You wrote about a blog post nobody cares about.
  2. You didn’t attempt to promote your blog post at all.

Think of it this way.

You try to write epic content in hopes of getting a reaction. Little do you know that a lack of reaction is in fact a reaction.

If you have a posts that manages to get absolutely no shares, it’s really telling visitors this, “My content is so horrendously bad that nobody will even waste their time to click on it … and guess what, neither should you.”

You don’t want that.

Given how easy it is to share a post these days, one of the easiest ways to get social proof is to simply get shares to your posts. Create posts and get shares that shows that people are actually interested in and took time to share with their audience.

How To: When you make your blog live, the first thing that you should do is share it on ALL of your main social media platforms. This means Twitter, Facebook, Pinterst (if applicable) and Google+.

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image Ana-Hoffman-Google- on https://trunk.ly

Take a look at the amount of likes, shares and comments that Ana Hoffman received from this memorable post she published just a few days ago.

Now if you write content and happen to mention other bloggers in your content, make sure they know about it.

First, send them a quick tweet on Twitter. Doesn’t have to be anything special, just “Hey {@blogger name}, just wanted to let you know that I mentioned you in a post I wrote today. http://{your link}.com.”

Next, do the same thing in Google+ .

Using Ana again as an example, take a look at the people she mentioned in her Google+ message because she mentioned them in her blog post.

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image ana-hoffman-blogger on https://trunk.ly

She mentioned these people in her post and she made sure to mention then in Google+ and probably Twitter as well so they know they were mentioned. This works so well because they’ll know that you actually mentioned them and they’ll be more willing to share to get the content out there.

After all, who doesn’t love to be mentioned in someone else’s blog post, right?

Now, when you’re sharing your content and want them to know about it, make sure you link to them and let them know. Similar to what Ana did. That means using “@” for Twitter and “+” for Google+. Again, this will ensure that they see the mention and the share.

And my good friend Adam Connell wrote a TREMENDOUS post titled “100+ Bite-Sized Tips To Get You More Social Shares (And Traffic)” that’ll really help you out more with with sharing your content.

The Takeaway: The more shares you can get to a blog post that you write, the more people that visit will start saying to themselves “This post has to be really interesting if it’s getting this many shares. I’ll check it out to see what it’s all about.”

Then when they go on your site and read the great content you have, they may be curious and read more and eventually sign up to your email list based on your lead generator or to just be informed of future posts.

Idea #2: Get More Comments On Your Blog Posts

With blogging being more and more about building relationships and engaging with people, it’s more important now to try and get as many comments as you can on each post.

The reason for this is because the amount of comments, paired with the amount of shares you get on a post, can really determine how successful and popular a blog post is – in the mind of a reader.

Thus increasing your social proof.

Sure, you may have some people (even myself at times) say that the quality of the content is what matters and that you shouldn’t judge posts on the amount of comments they get. But I’ve been at that point where I didn’t receive comments on my blog posts and I’ll admit that it did hurt.

All the work I put into the post and NO ONE has an opinion worth sharing in the comments? That made me feel horrible – on top of that, I felt like quitting.

Reality is, 8 times out of 10, when you see a well written blog post that really gets 0 comments on it, but gets a few shares, you tend to follow suit and just share the content rather than comment.

Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty of doing that.

But the thing is, this is something that the blog owner can easily avoid in three ways:

  1. Write great content your target audience would want to read and respond to.
  2. Always put a CTA (Call-To-Action) at the end of your posts to encourage more engagement with the reader. Could be something simple like “Your turn. {Then ask them a question related to the post}”
  3. The third way is all about building relationships with other bloggers. When you take time to build relationships with other bloggers, they’ll automatically start coming to your site when you release a post, engage with you and comment.

Even though the first two ways are things that need to be done in order to get comments, the third method is something that HAS to be done in order to increase your comments total.

How To: First thing that you should do is make a list of ALL of the blogs that you visit on a regular basis and make a habit of checking for new posts that they may have, twice a week.

Here’s my list of bloggers that I visit on a regular basis:

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image bloggers on https://trunk.ly

Next, like I said, I check their blogs at least twice a week and leave comments on their blog posts that’s not only thought provoking but also entices conversation.

Over time, what you’ll find is that these bloggers will start coming over to your blog more often and start engaging back with you once they start to notice you more. They’ll leave comments on your blog posts and share it with their audience.

If you find yourself still struggling to get comments and want to learn more about how to encourage more comments on your blog, be sure to check out Jeni Elliot’s post where she shares some pretty interesting ideas.

The Takeaway: Adrienne Smith recently wrote a guest post on Carol Amato’s site and helped solidify the fact that comments are more and more becoming important in blogging and are necessary to build an active community. Even if you don’t have the necessary numbers to show social proof (i.e. email subscribers, followers, etc.) you can certainly use comments to your advantage.

If a person visits your blog and they see that you’ve written posts that consistently gets 100+ comments, they may think that you know what you’re talking about because you get people to constantly engage in conversation – no matter what the post is about.

NOTE: Before I continue, let me clarify one thing. Even though the number of comments can be used as social proof, it doesn’t justify allowing generic comments that adds nothing to the conversation just to add to your total comments number. I encourage you to check out this post for further clarification.

Idea #3: Use Trust Symbols On Your Blog

When you visit certain sites, you may or may not see that they’re displaying certain trust symbols of recognized blogs and websites that they’ve been featured on. What they’re really doing is borrowing authority directly from those leading experts.

So when visitors come to the site, sees and recognizes the names of some of the blogs, they’ll label the blogger as a trustworthy person.

The general thinking is, “If that blog featured this blogger on their site as a guest blogger and contributor, and wrote content worthy enough to be featured on that site, then they must have some sort of credibility.”

Perfect example of this is my friend Adam Connell from Blogging Wizard, who uses the following sites as trust symbols to create social proof:

How To Effectively Use Social Proof To Your Advantage To Convert More Visitors - image featured on https://trunk.ly

How To: The best possible option to utilize this as social proof is to try and guest post on sites where the blogger has more influence than yourself. The more you guest post, the more you’ll notice three things happen:

  1. You instantly get more traffic from the guest post you wrote (especially if it’s good) and potentially be able to gain some subscribers.
  2. You’ll be able to start using those blogs as trust symbols whether you use it the same way Adam did or just have a section on your blog showing all of your guest posts.
  3. You’ll start to move up the blogging list and gain more authority.

The Takeaway: If you DON’T have trust symbols on your site, then start strategizing ways in which you can get those trust symbols. Start contacting influencers in your niche and find out if you could guest post on their website. And Neil Patel wrote a fabulous post on “How to Find the Best Places to Guest Blogthat can really guide you through finding suitable sites to guest post on.

The more trust symbols you have and start to display, the more you’ll realize that it works as a very effective way to show social proof.

What Are You Waiting For?

Even without having the numbers to display on your site, you can still effectively use social proof to your advantage.

By implementing all three of those ideas (especially 1 & 2) and getting results from that, you’ll not only instantly get social proof based on those ideas, but more people will subscribe because of that as well.

And when more people start to subscribe, your numbers will start to increase – until you get to that point that you can display your subscriber total or amount of followers and it doesn’t give you negative social proof.

It’s human nature for people to want to belong to part of a community and want to be a part of something. Especially when they see everyone already going there.

Follow these simple ideas and let your blog be the place that they go.

So, how do you use social proof on your blog and in your marketing? I’d love to hear what you think on this issue. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Cyber Security Consultant and A Penetration Tester