Social Proof – What it is and Why you need it

As a entrepreneur you hear a lot of terms when it comes to online marketing. Klout, retweets, reach, and ranking are a few. All of these terms equate to one thing. It’s called social proof. In order to survive as a new business you need this thing to survive.  To define “social proof” we need to look at two things.


The first thing  boils down to what we did back when the intertubes were young: LINK EXCHANGE (after a fashion). I swear to you that’s what it is. Many “experts” will throw lots of terms like “analyzing metrics,” “maximizing impressions,” and other stuff. Trust me. It’s really exchanging links with some teeny and  important differences. Let’s set up an example.

You’ve got your brand spanking new state of the art website. You’ve got great content, engaging images and you update on a schedule.  Congrats. You’ll get some initial traffic from little programs called “bots.”  These things are made to look through linked servers,  see if anything is new, and report back. If you’re a business of any size, you know that “some” traffic won’t make sales. You need LOTS of traffic.

So you do some Internet searches about how to increase the number of people looking at your site, store or blog.  One terms you’ll find immediately is “SEO” which is “search engine optimization.”  This means that we add in keywords in a hidden file that the bots can read. These bots report back to search engines and explain the subject matter for your content. Yes, this is super important. It’s still not enough.

Why isn’t SEO enough? Sure, you can add customized keywords for your business. Add a million of them, if you want. However, if your site doesn’t link to anything else on the web? Your business doesn’t really exist to search engines.

Yes you read that right. You may show up in an Internet search with your keywords. It may be on page four or five – where few bother to even look.

You need a way to get on the first three pages. Sure, great keywords can get you there in time. Know what’s faster? Links from other pages.  The more YOUR site is referenced, the higher search engines will put your listing and all the sites your site is listed. THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT. Remember this part!*

Next step: How to get your links listed everywhere?  More internet searches bring you the big hitters: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, etc. We can’t forget the all powerful hashtag.  Some of you may want to run screaming into the night. That’s a valid response.  When you catch your breath, think of this: These social media platforms are big link exchange platforms with a twist. That twist is social proof.  (Yes, I can teach you how to work all of these. We’re on the big picture first)

The Link exchange piece: Let’s start with Twitter. With a properly filled out profile, you’ve got a great start. Now you tweet: just sending out a message with a hashtag, link to a product you’re selling, link to your website or an image. Be sure to include a request to retweet.  Now, on a different server, a link to your site exists.  If another person retweets or shares the message, that’s now two. If the “tweet” goes “viral”? You can see how this works.  From Twitter, your link can be share to emails or other social platforms.  This is what you want – and one more thing. You want the companion piece to all of social media – the grease that keeps the wheels going.

You want those sharing your link to say something NICE about your product or service: THIS is social proof.

Say  Nice Things

Does anyone remember that  Faberge Shampoo commercial?  That is the epitome of social proof: Your customers and supporters sharing your message and link. One retweet can share your link or message to as few as one person to as many as a million – and all for FREE.  And if even one extra person sees your link? You’re taking a step in the right direction.

Now getting nice things said about your site, product or message is much harder. This requires you to make high quality products at a fair price as well as having stellar customer service. Why? Because social proof can also work against you.

Anything that’s posted on-line is find-able, search-able and can be 140 characters that will ruin your business and career.

Don’t believe me? Try this on for size: Politwoops is the only comprehensive collection of deleted tweets by politicians that offers a window into what they hoped you didn’t see. Twitter keeps trying to shut it down. You can see how well that’s working. I’m sure you know of at least a few people and stories  where something silly or terrible made it to social media and everything went down in flames afterward: hacked accounts, drunk posts and tweets and the like. Here’s a painful reminder:  “10 Social Media Blunders That Cost a Millennial a Job — or Worse”

But don’t let that stop you. Should your positive message spread even on Twitter – even to ten people, you’re increasing your ranking  in search engines, establishing yourself in the world wide web and reaching your audience. I promise.  So, now that you know the real power of social media. We can get  down to real business by making it work for you.

All this way too confusing? Just want someone to do it all for you? Please see our Social Media Services page and let us know how we can help

Instagram makes it official

Those who work in social media have said it was going to happen. Any small business or entrepreneur has known about the power of pretty pictures for some time.   Now it’s official. That’s right. Instagram has given up the feel good approach and is turning its focus into doing what we’ve been using it for all the time – advertising.

“Instagram has switched on its advertising API (application programming interface.) It’s a major move for the Facebook owned photo sharing app, which is going to almost immediately help transform it into a major mobile advertising business to rival Google and Twitter.”

What does that mean for me and you? For the small business that’s looking to connect with customers? You’ll have opportunities to buy ads that will reach more people.  We all know that reach, while great for awareness, won’t make sales. What does that mean of our customers, the average every day user?  Instagram may turn into an Insta-turnoff. Why?  Jeffrery Gitomer said it best: “No one likes to be sold, but they all love to buy.”



Think of this, how many people do you know spend less and less time on Facebook due to the ads? How many people either tune out the ads or install ad blockers?  It’s just like have a PVR (DVR) or muting commercials.   Your audience has the power to turn off your advertisements before they even have the chance to see it. That was the beauty of Instagram. Potential customers could skip the ads and see only what you wanted.  Now, post Facebook buy out, we must expect that to change.  Now that doesn’t mean that the entrepreneurs can’t hang with the big businesses. The plan has to change there as well.

Just like on the rest of the social media platforms,  keep it social and light. Use your hashtags, pump up your SEO and create great products that produce raving fans (that will do most the advertising for you)!