When it comes to creating a blog, you’ve probably searched every corner of the internet for ways to drive traffic to your blog.
A lack of blog traffic doesn’t mean your blog is bad. People just haven’t paid attention to what you say yet because you don’t have enough authority within your niche audience.
This is where social proof comes in.
Social Proof, as defined by Wikipedia, is a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation.
Basically, this means that people like to follow trends and are likely to do what other people around them do. It’s just like “following the crowd.”
We as people tend to assume that if the majority of people are taking some course of action, that must be the best course of action. It’s like a mental shortcut. That way, we naturally choose the safest route.
For example, when you see long lines outside nightclubs, your natural assumption is that it must be the place to be. There’s social proof, in action. You can probably now think of a ton of other examples, but how does this relate to digital marketing?
Think of testimonials and “as seen on” logos. These subtle messages, along with many other forms of this, subliminally affect your perception of a website, and therefore, a service provider’s prestige.
So, how exactly can bloggers use the power of social proof? Here are some great tips:
- Start Guest Blogging
One of the easiest ways to showcase your social proof is through trust logos. So, to start, write for other blogs.
While the first few blogs you write for might not be incredibly prestigious, and you are technically giving away free content, each site you contribute to paves way for you to write for bigger and more popular sites. Aka, increasing your prestige when you showcase these awesome trust logos on your own site.
- Be a Source for Journalists
Journalists are always on the look for a good story idea, and oftentimes, many publications even allow for freelance writer’s stories (if they are written well). Writing for a paper can put your name in front of a huge audience, like visitors of the Huffington Post and the New York Times.
Platforms like HARO (HelpAReporterOut), allow you to contribute to articles for journalists or other bloggers. All you have to do is create an account and automatically you will get sent emails about opportunities for potential media reporting. Writing for journalists showcases basically all skills of a good writer: researching, writing, copy-editing, understanding audiences, etc.
- Get Testimonials
The easiest way to get testimonials: Just ask.
Oftentimes you will be surprised, people, whether readers or bloggers you have guest blogged for, will be more than willing to write reviews of your work. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Leverage Your Social Shares Through Your Content
The type of content you put has a significant impact on how ‘shareable’ it is. For example, large list posts perform better socially than things like reviews. And, personality quizzes take things to a whole new level (thanks BuzzFeed). Some people gain thousands of followers just from using quizzes.
Not all content is the same to social viewers, so researching your content strategy can be critical for gaining, and retaining, followers.
- Use Social Media Contests
Free stuff is always on demand, and the cost of a follow is miniscule to freebie-lovers. Whether you want to gain followers or just gain mentions, social media contests are a proven way to do both.
The best part is, half the time you don’t even need to give anything away. Just joining partner giveaways in your brand’s niche and adding their social accounts as entry methods can do the trick. Overtime, you will see a ton of new followers. Just remember, these followers aren’t necessarily what you want long term, but the point is to set things in motion!
The Main Idea: You Want Credibility and Authority
To benefit from social proofing, you have to convince your authority and credibility to your audience. The reward? More traffic, email subscribers, and customers. More bloggers, writers, and journalists will mention you, and blog growth will skyrocket. And, like a virtuous cycle, you will have even more social proof.
But, don’t get carried away just yet. There’s another topic that must be discussed here and that is: negative social proof. This works, as it might sound, conversely from regular social proof. For example, if you’re showcasing 100,000 Twitter followers on your blog, that indicates people should follow you. But, if you’re boasting only 10 followers, people will be less likely to follow you. Therefore, it’s important to consider which social proof aspects are actually valuable and avoid anything that could be negative.
On that note, your content deserves the traffic it’s worth. Building your social proof is the road there.