People follow the crowds. One of the foundational principles of marketing is how to influence the crowds, so people are just inclined to become your customers. The phenomenon where the majority influences purchasing decisions is known as social proof. Think of it as word-of-mouth on a greater scale.
Social proof is necessary to build a reliable and sustainable reader base for your blog. It’s not good enough for a hundred people to like your blog. You need to show off to those hundred people to gain thousands of additional readers. You may already be aware of some social proof strategies that drive traffic. For example, celebrity social proof, or getting a famous person or a notable blogger to mention yours, is quite well known. Some get their friends to provide reviews to attract followers. Here are several more social proof strategies that bloggers can take advantage of:
Publish Expert Testimonials
Expert testimonials are a bit different from customer or reader testimonials. The advantage of using an expert is that customers value their unbiased opinion. People assume that experts know what they are talking about.
So, if your blog is mentioned by an “expert,” you can generate a credible social proof for your blog. The expert you choose will depend on your blog. If you blog about the stock market, a professor of finance will be the right expert to use. If you blog about travel, you can use a veteran travel writer or a celebrity, for example.
Show Reader Reviews
Many e-commerce companies use customer reviews to push products and create credibility. Your blog can also use reader reviews to create a sense of popularity for your posts. If there are several user reviews sprinkled throughout your blog, a new or unsure reader will be more likely to stay and keep reading. After all, how can one dislike something dozens of other people have liked? Plus, reader reviews keep the conversation going and the users engaged.
Evaluation or test results can be a powerful form of social proof for blogs. Evaluation here means getting the services or products your blog advocates professionally tested. Post the results on your blog for the whole world to see. For example, there are shopping services that show trusted certificates to gain legitimacy and boost social proof. If your blog has been tested for anything by a professional source, and if the results were good, seriously consider showing it on your blog. The results can be a valuable tool that convinces users that your blog is proven to be superior.
Buy Social Shares
Does your blog attract 1,000 unique visitors each month? Then you should show off this number on your blog. You can include a banner or a badge saying this many people read, follow or like the blog. Showing off a like or share counter on your blog can generate more shares and likes.
If you are just starting out and do not get many likes or shares, you can pay for a “buy likes” web service. Artificially boosting visitor or traffic numbers, in the beginning, is a very effective social proof strategy. Soon, your organic numbers will naturally increase as your blog seems more credible and liked.
Site ratings often go alongside customer reviews and testimonials mentioned above. However, a scoring system can provide its unique form of social proof. Showing positive ratings for your site can influence the impression visitors have regarding your site. For example, if a visitor initially disliked your site, high ratings can soften the harsh opinion.
Visitors are attracted to good product scores, and they rely on them as a form of credibility and legitimacy. All blogs may not be able to show off good ratings, but if it is possible, don’t hesitate to go with a scoring system. If it’s not feasible to show ratings for the whole blog, you can show ratings for individual blog posts, like product scores on Amazon.
This is the proverbial celebrity endorsement. Influencers are not always Hollywood A-listers. An “influencer” is technically someone who is famous, highly influential or well regarded in a certain field.
Not many people know who Dr. Duke Samson is, but if you are a surgeon, you will immediately recognize the name of one of the most well-known neurosurgeons in the world. If your blog is about medicine, having an endorsement from a luminary like that would be like winning a blog-version of an Oscar. Influencers have to be relevant as well. The more important the influencer is for his or her work, the more compelling the social proof would be.
Show Subscriber Numbers
Humans are social creatures. We are attracted to the crowds. If your blog has 10,000 subscribers, show off the numbers as you would do with the visitor numbers explained above. That short of social proof makes potential followers more comfortable with following. Think about it; would you rather subscribe to a blog you can see is followed by thousands of other people or one that is not? When you show the subscriber numbers, design a CTA button nearby to get people to subscribe. The number will likely be able to compel visitors to join up.
Media Coverage Logos
Has CNN mentioned your blog? Then, instead of writing a post about it, publish a prominent logo of CNN on your blog. If your blog has won any accolades, do not hesitate to show off the badge either. When visitors click on it, allow the link to take them to the article or segment mentioning your blog. Media coverage logos are a very powerful form of social proof that shows potential readers that your blog gets recognition from relevant sources. It can elevate your blog to a higher status of legitimacy than others without. Of course, you should only publish logos of established and well-known media outlets. If an obscure radio station mentions your blog, don’t add a logo on your site. No one will recognize it. If you say little-known outlets have covered your site, it can result in the opposite of what you are hoping. Your blog could end up endorsing the outlets rather than the other way around.
Master the above strategies, and sooner rather than later your blog’s unique visitor numbers will dramatically increase.