What is Social Proof?

Ever happen upon a blog post that immediately inspires you to click through to learn more?

Sometimes you even go a step further and pull out your credit card to make a purchase! No, the blog post doesn’t have some crazy control over you. What it did was deliver Social Proof.

What is Social Proof?

What is Social Proof?

Over time, you have grown to trust an influencer, so when you see something on the influencer’s channel that feels like a fit, you go with your gut and decide it might be right for you as well. Maybe you were thinking about changing brands or finding something with the features or service that the blog post described. The blog post was written and the pictures were taken in a way that you identified with.

Seeing the information in black and white was the impetus for you to go ahead and take action.

While Social Proof is not a new concept, you will not find a definition from Merriam Webster. You have to look towards psychology or marketing textbooks to find your answers. Social Proof is a hot topic now because social media brought it into our everyday lives–whether we realize it or not. It boils down to people taking on the actions and thoughts of others. It’s an attempt to feel like we’re reacting correctly in a given scenario, like buying a specific litter the cat blogger you admire recommends.

With so much direct access to information from people we trust, it should come as no surprise that it has become so easy to follow a direct and specific call to action.

Social Proof Starts with Trust

And trust starts with being authentic and genuine in the content we share with our readers, followers, and fans. If you are all over the place with the products you are endorsing–one day you ascribe to one school of thought and the next week you are sharing something completely opposite–you are not going to build trust from your audience. If, however, you usually only share things around a certain topic, but once in a blue moon you talk about something that is contrary to that topic to not lose the interest of your readers and the trust you have built up, you need to share your reasons why this other thing works for you.

Trust starts before you even agree to work with a company or check out a product. Before saying yes to a brand or network, you should be saying yes to the product for you and your lifestyle. If I were to say yes to giving an indestructible chew toy a run for its money, that would be completely inauthentic; not only would my dogs look at it and walk away, but they never destroyed a nylon toy. Chew marks as a puppy, yes. Open “heart” surgery on plush dolls? Not since Indiana was two.  If the product in question was a puppy chew toy to help with teething, and the brand was looking to create awareness of the product, that would be another story. Even though my dogs are seniors now, Cavalier puppies have sharp teeth (shark week sharp!) and I do have stories to tell that would make for compelling reading.

Being true to yourself and your brand builds trust among your readers, followers, and fans, and encourages them to take action and engage in the conversation.

Make a promise to yourself to focus on being the most trustworthy source of information YOU can be. Drop us a comment below about what you plan on working on today to gain trust with your readers, followers, and fans.

Felissa Elfenbein is the Director of Influencer Marketing for BlogPaws. During the day Felissa can be found creating proposals for new campaigns, on the phone with brands, working on VIP events for the conference, and Skyping with the Pet360 Media Sales Team. Felissa lives in the Northeast Georgia Mountains and has two senior Cavalier King Charles Spaniels better known as the Two Little Cavaliers.

Image: BONNINSTUDIO/Shutterstock.com

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