Using Facebook as a Powerful Tool for Social Proof
Have you ever been to New York City? If so, you’re familiar with the non-stop herds of people crossing major intersections everywhere.
Everyone is super careful crossing the street because they know cars couldn’t care less about them. Anyone who steps out unexpectedly in the middle of the street gets pummeled by a taxi.
So most people follow the traffic signals and wait patiently for the flashing “walk” sign before crossing. (Unlike the town of sleepy State College where I’m from- where people run across streets in front of oncoming cars whenever they want to…)
Anyways, I remember being in Manhattan a couple of months ago. I had just bought a gyro from the street vendor and was happily eating it at the intersection. I was waiting for the light to change so I could cross. There were about 7 other people waiting with me.
The “do not cross” sign was on, but there were no cars coming. So I made a move. I started crossing!
And EVERYONE followed me
They were all hesitant about crossing the street. But when they saw someone else cross, they decided it was okay for them to do it too. I felt a little like Moses at that moment ;)
I can also think of another instance where I didn’t make the best decision. I started crossing the street without looking when a car FLEW by, just a few feet ahead of me! I instinctively scrambled back.
The funny thing was that this other woman who was walking besides me ALSO started crossing and almost got hit too.
She had blindly followed me.
While I would like to attribute it to some awesome hidden mind control power, the real reasons these people followed me are due to the psychological principle known as the HERD EFFECT.
You can probably already guess what this has to do with Facebook marketing.
Simply put, when people see OTHERS doing something, it makes it totally okay. If you’re trying to choose between two restaurants that are next to each other, which would you pick.
The one that’s packed with people OR the one that has two customers?
Unless you don’t care about quality and just your food as quickly as possible, you’re going to go with the full restaurant.
You can’t help it. You can’t even consciously convince yourself that the empty restaurant is better. This is an INSTINCTUAL distinction that your mind automatically makes.
This is perhaps the most important principle you can apply to any kind of business.
If you can show a potential customer that other people have used your service and have seen great results, guess what? This will give them huge PUSH towards buying from you.
Social proof creates instant trust with the customer
In marketing, you create social proof by generating buzz and having people talk about you and displaying testimonials or reviews.
The more real, the better. Video testimonials are better than audio, which are better than written ones.
In Facebook marketing, this means having a lot of “likes” and a lot of fan interaction (i.e. comments and wall posts). Our company allows users to – up to 50K of real fans!
Later, I’ll talk about how to set up a Facebook fan page to maximize your visitor to fan conversation rates.
But first, let me explain why Facebook is the perfect system to display social proof.
In today’s chaotic online marketing world, people are aware of scams. In fact, people have been exposed to SO MANY shady things on the internet (i.e. those “you are the 1000th visitor, claim your 1 zillion dollars here” ads; spyware and viruses, awesome sales copies that don’t deliver, etc.).
So many people have a hard time trusting anything that seems even the slightest bit too good to be true.
People are also aware that you can post fake testimonials, fake blog comments, fake reviews, etc.
So they have the notion that sales websites = untrustworthy.
Facebook is a different story
People use Facebook to communicate with their REAL friends. They’ve used it thousands of times. They equate Facebook with real and trustworthy.
We as online marketers know that there are tons of FAKE people or bots with Facebook profiles, but the average consumer assumes everyone is real.
So when they see a Facebook fan page with 5,000 likes, they AUTOMATICALLY ASSUME that 5,000 REAL PEOPLE like the page.
And guess what they’re most likely going to do?
Like the page! (I know this is true because when I first started using FB, I would like pages simply because people would invite me to like them- even pages I had no clue what they were about!)
A massive fan following on Facebook boosts social proof through the ROOF!
BTW- Most people say that getting the first thousand Facebook fans is the hardest. No one wants to be the very FIRST person to like a page.
But most people report that after they’ve collected 1,000 or so likes, they have a MUCH EASIER getting likes.