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Chapter 3 – Social Proof

by | Aug 29, 2016

Social proof is the way that people measure the value of a product, a service, a business, or even someone’s social status. If you are looking for a place to have breakfast, and you see one place that has a line that’s going out around the corner, and you see another breakfast place right next to it that has nobody in it—it’s completely empty despite being open for business—what would you conclude about those two places? Which one do you want to choose?

The line that’s going around the corner—it shows the social proof that this is the place you want to have breakfast. We are not just naturally drawn to those places, we’re actually hard-wired in our brains, as part of our genetic makeup, to be attracted by social proof.

A little history… Social proof has its origins going all the way back to the year 1713, when a Swiss mathematician by the name of Jacob Bernoulli discovered what is now known as the Law of Large Numbers. He did an experiment where he had hundreds of people guess how many beans were in a large barrel.

It’s very difficult for any one person to guess this number of beans, but when he took the average of all of those guesses, what he found was stunning. He found that the average of the guesses was very close to the actual number of beans.

Now, this experiment has been repeated over and over again, and it still works to this day. The Law of Large Numbers is also known informally as the “herd mentality.”

From this perspective, following the crowd is usually the most efficient and best way to survive because the crowd is usually right. It turns out that our brains, human brains, are hard-wired to follow the herd, and that’s actually a good thing. Usually, the herd leads to where the most food is. Usually, the herd knows how to find water. Usually, the herd is waiting in line at the best breakfast place.

Then, we fast-forward to the 1960s, when psychologist Solomon Asch did a famous experiment where he showed that people are very likely to make the same decision as the majority. He brought seven people who were confederates (i.e., they were secretly helping the experimenter) into a room, plus an eighth person, who was the only real test subject. Everyone was shown two lines, a short line A and a long line B, and everyone was asked to state out loud which one was longer.

Line A

Line B

Well, the seven people who were in on the experiment all said that line A was longer, when it was actually much shorter. This was done to see how the test subject would react, and in almost every case, the test subject went along with the crowd and gave the wrong answer, even when he knew it was wrong. When asked why, these subjects said, “Because everyone else did.”

The point here is not just that humans are susceptible to peer pressure. It’s that because our brains know that following the large numbers, or following the crowd, is almost always the smartest, most efficient way to go, herd mentality is what makes social proof so powerful. We’re hard-wired to follow the crowd.

And the very best way to use this hard-wiring, or to encourage your customers to tag along with the pack, is to provide your business with some serious social proof.

Here’s an example. Our awesome client Jordan Meltzer has an amazing product and cleanse called Pure Start Cleanse, and we helped him grow his Facebook page to over 25,000 Likes. Let’s say you’ve recently been considering doing a detox cleanse, and you come across the following two pages on Facebook:

Detox Cleanse 567 Likes

Pure Start Cleanse 25,864 Likes

Now I’m not saying everyone goes on Facebook when they are looking for a detox cleanse. However, if your friend just finished her cleanse and got amazing results, you could easily “discover” one of these cleanses from her. Now, with regard to social proof, which one are you more likely to trust? The one with a few hundred Likes, or Pure Start Cleanse with thousands of Likes? Notice I’m not even suggesting that a page with more Likes means the product or service is better; however, the mere fact that over 25,000 people have ‘Liked’ the Pure Start Cleanse page gives them instant credibility, through social proof.

Better still, if you are actively looking for a detox cleanse and one of your friends has ‘Liked’ the Pure Start Cleanse page, you will see it in the Like box on their Facebook page, which will lend the company some level of instant trust, depending on your relationship with your friend. If your friend who ‘Liked’ the Pure Start Cleanse page is in excellent shape and health and has had a positive experience with her cleanse, you may be more likely to select the Pure Start Cleanse than that of another competitor.

That’s social proof!

Social proof isn’t the only thing that you need to have, and it doesn’t automatically mean that you have a great product or a great service. However, when we’re talking about the herd mentality, social proof is very powerful in getting new traffic, gaining instant credibility, and in some cases, instant trust.

One of my clients, Yogasana, imports the best hand-woven, fair-trade yoga mats from India. When they approached me, they only had a few hundred Likes. When we instituted my Global Ad SecretTM technique, the Yogasana page grew quickly and inexpensively to over 44,000 Likes!

Yoga Mats 810 Likes

Yogasana Mats 44,812 Likes

So let’s compare Yogasana Mats with their 44,812 Likes with another yoga mat company that has 810 Likes on their page. Which one do you think customers who are looking for a new yoga mat of very high quality will select? Which one has more credibility and social proof?

Facebook Star Ratings for Social Proof

Yogasana also added their physical address to their Facebook page, which allowed the Facebook star-rating system to appear. They asked all their happy customers to give positive reviews on their page and have accumulated 394 public ratings, with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5. This provides massive credibility and positive social proof.

Here is another great example. One of my clients and best friends in the whole world owns a company called DanceFree in Medellin, Columbia. I recommended that he add his physical address to his Facebook page and ask every single happy customer for a positive review. They have quickly and easily gotten over 500 real reviews in 90 days, just by asking. This has led to an explosion of growth through social proof and word-of-mouth marketing on Facebook.

Per Facebook’s Terms of Service, they want your business to be a brick-and-mortar physical location, an actual place where people can “check-in,” rather than a home-based consulting business. That being said, to add the star-rating system to your Facebook page, your page needs to be registered as a local business, and you need to add your address to your page.

Here is how to add the star rating to your page:

Go to your page settings, page info, and under Category, click Edit.

Select “Local Business” as the main category, and select a subcategory if you have one.

Add your address. Make sure the address appears on the map; then check the box and save your changes.

It may take up to 48 hours, but after that, you should be able to see your ratings. You can see we collected over 600 five-star ratings on my page at www.FB.com/CostaRicaViews as an example:

Social proof can give your business massive leverage to attract your tribe, draw new customers, and boost your sales.

Now, let’s start building your Facebook page so it will be a social-proof machine!