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    Social Proof in Social Media
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Social Proof in Social Media

03 Nov 2017By Ian

The Phenomenon

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that almost every time you look at a new profile on the Internet you also glance at their social stats before making your final call on their worth.

Actually, you might even take these things into consideration before you even proceed to interact with that person! For example let’s pretend you’re looking for a new song on SoundCloud or scrolling through your Instagram feed.

You’re looking at social signals. Would an artist with 1,000 followers stick out to you? How about an artist with 100,000 followers? Would you give a person a chance if they only had 2 likes on their 3 week old Instagram photo?

Or would you be more likely to check out a photo that’s been uploaded 2 days ago and already has 50,000 likes. Sound familiar? There’s a psychological aspect behind social media. It’s a strange but sensible phenomenon called social proof. And in social media, social proof plays a huge role. As humans, we’re always looking for something with social proof to justify our actions.

Girl sitting outside showing lots of social proof


The Use of Social Proof

Social proof is not just limited to online areas. It can also occur naturally in the offline world. That sounded a bit too sciency but on that note let’s talk about the science behind social proof on the topic of social media. Social proof is an incredibly easy way to boost your marketing effectiveness on the internet. Social media is just a means to carry out this social proof and make it more accessible for consumers.

Also, social proof is not anything new. It’s a long established psychological phenomenon and marketing has used social proof as one of its core tactics for as long as marketing as been around. Last time I checked, that’s pretty much forever.

We were using social proof before we even knew what social proof was! Our ancestors did and you undoubtedly have used it as well to determine whether you will even give something, or someone, a chance. We see these big numbers on a profile and thing:

“Hey this thing is pretty popular. 100,000 people like it, it must be popular and therefore I should like it.” Like in our opening example, the person with 100,000 SoundCloud followers has a huge advantage as they automatically appear to use as a better musician. Weird, huh? Social media enhances social proof even more when friends are involved.

The effect is completely compounded in this way. You know how some social media sites show mutual relationships? Made famous by Facebook, many sites now show the commonality between you and another profile on the platform via these mutual friends or mutual likeness.

Let’s take SoundCloud again for example.

If that person with 100,000 followers is already followed by 3 of your friends, you almost feel obligated to like the person at that point.

What’s worse than not liking something that your friends do?

Nothing.

That’s pretty much social suicide in today’s world.

Negative Side Effect of Bad Social Proof

The only real negative side effect of social proof is if you do it wrong and there’s only one real “wrong” way to do it. That is, to get an unbalanced amount of social signals. This process is called drip feeding your social signals. Each social media platform has its own balance but to keep things concise I’ll use SoundCloud again. Generally, a person will have more plays on a given track than they have followers. Also, a SoundCloud track is likely to have more likes than reposts and more reposts than comments. That’s just the way it works.

That being said, how does it make sense if a track has 2.1 million plays and only 35 reposts. That either means it’s a terrible track or, more likely, the person bought plays and/or used a SoundCloud play bot. Don’t do this. It’s incredibly obvious and you’ll shoot your chances of leaving a good impression for a long time.

Girl standing in room showing high social proof


Somiibo Uses Social Proof Correctly

Now that we know what the negative side effects of poorly executed attempts at having high social proof are, let’s talk about why Somiibo is the perfect solution. Just to reiterate, social media users are smart now and can smell fake followers from miles away.

Using a social media bot to get more followers can only take you so far. If you used a SoundCloud follower bot and suddenly have 3 million followers but only 100 plays on your track, you’re doing it wrong.

Very wrong.

This will get you nowhere and if this is your goal you should probably forget using a bot all together as this will ruin your brand.

Somiibo is especially useful in this case because it evenly markets your content for you. You can read more about Somiibo’s social media bots to learn more about how exactly each bot works but, for nearly every platform, Somiibo generally works the same.

Somiibo will approach other users and content naturally and in a balanced way which will, in turn, earn you a balanced number of social signals.

This means that you won’t just all of a sudden have a ton of followers and no likes or vice-versa. This balanced approach means that you will slowly get followers and slowly get likes and slowly grow your account.

First of all, this looks natural as it happens and can actually cause a huge, organic snowball effect. Secondly, in the long run your social media profiles will look less spammy and be more evened out throughout their lifetime.

Social Proof on Other Mediums

SoundCloud is not the only site that exhibits a relationship with the phenomenon of social proof. Social proof is present in Facebook, Twitter, and even general websites. They all play off one another too. So, when you do use bots like Somiibo, you need to make sure you use them wisely and use them to increase your social proof in a balanced way, don’t let social proof (or social un-proof) play against you.

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