No doubt if you subscribe to a mailing list from one of the high profile online marketers such as Yanik Silver, John Reese, or as in my case, Jason Potash, you will know about a conference call that recently occurred. Heck you might have even heard about it from one of their affiliates, referral friends or networks, or as I like to call ’em – “underlings” (I wear that badge with honour!) – this thing was probably circulated like crazy to many email lists.
Just in case you didn’t hear about it though I’ll be happy to let you in. The topic was a concept known as Social Proof and was hosted by Jeff Walker. Jeff was kind enough to gather six of his closest buddies who just happen to be six of the most successful online marketers around. You pump one of these guy’s names into a search engine and they are are all over the place, and rightly so, they are making millions online and so you would expect they have a reasonable web presence.
Jeff’s call didn’t focus on anything beyond asking the experts how they have used Social Proof in their past marketing efforts. Before listening to this call I wasn’t exactly sure what the term meant. After listening to the entire 2.5+ hours of it I now understand it a lot better. I’ve been familiar with and have used the concept for a long time, I’ve just never heard it labelled “Social Proof”. The call was very good. Hearing some of the examples triggered many ideas in my mind for new ways to utilize Social Proof for my own current and future projects.
In a nutshell here is my take on defining social proof as I understand it:
Social Proof is all about human nature and conditioning. As humans we do things based on what other humans do. We are more likely to make a decision or take an action when we have seen proof that someone else has also made the same decision. The choice becomes that much easier when we realise people “just like us” (similar demographics) have made the choice too. When it comes to marketing social proof is a powerful concept because, as a marketer, if we can demonstrate to prospects that other people, just like them, have made the decision to buy they are more likely to make a purchase. It’s as if other buyers give permission to prospects to make the choice to buy, consciously and subconsciously.
Now of course there is a lot more to it and if you want some fantastic practical examples take some time and listen to the conference call. There is no direct sales pitch in the call, which is nice, but obviously Jeff didn’t organise this thing for nothing. He has a new product teaching how to utilize Social Proof coming out soon, and it just wouldn’t be right if someone teaching social proof didn’t make use of it to help sell his product. The phone call is part of social proofing for his new product.