How To Create Social Proof In 3 Simple Steps

3 Ways To Create Social Proof From Social Poop

Ahh… Social proof. It’s all the rage these days.

Actually, it’s always been the rage. We just didn’t use that term as much as we do now. Whether you’re sick of hearing those words or not, they’re kind of a big deal.

I’m sure I probably don’t have to tell you too much about the importance of social media. After all, you’re here at Laura’s blog so you’ve probably already come to the realization that social proof is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can ever have for your brand or business.

And you probably already know that the best way gain this coveted social proof is by either…

  • Planning a trip around the world to knock on everyone’s front doors, meet them face to face, and hopefully be able to instantly strike up a conversation that proves valuable, interesting, and relevant to them.
  • Plan out a social media campaign and put that puppy into action.

I think I’ll go with the second one(Although traveling the globe does sound nice).

Ooo… I Smell Poop

I bet you want to know what social poop is don’t you?

Have you ever been cruising around your Tweetisphere and stumbled across a picture of some logo and all the tweets are promos and deals. They’re following 10,000 people and only have like 500 people following them back, and of those 500 followers maybe 50 of them have actually chosen to follow the talking logo without using an auto follow system.

If you click on the link in their Twitter profile, it takes you to a blog that’s spitting out the same information. Or better yet, it’s a blog that’s loaded with ads for just about anything you can imagine. Or maybe it’s actually a decent looking blog but every post is about you buying a product from them.

What do you do when you get to one of those? If you’re like me, you say “What is this sh… poop?” and click the back button.

Is this you? Maybe not that extreme, but are you doing some of this and calling it your social media campaign?

I hate to break to ya, but that’s not creating any social proof. It’s creating a big ol’ pile of social poop.

It Happened So Fast

Unfortunately in my world (the ecommerce marketing world), these types of social media campaigns are the norm. These are also the same people that say social media doesn’t work. That’s like filling your coffee maker with tea leaves and saying “This coffee tastes terrible”. Of course it does. You didn’t put in the right ingredients.

It’s easy to fall into the trap too. We all realize the importance of social media and how it plays a vital role in gaining social proof. The problem is when we start mapping out our plan and something snaps. We start to over-think and over-complicate things. Before we know it, we’re lost.

Remember we NEED that social proof, so we can’t just give up. We start to look around and see what everyone else is doing. With so many ecommerce sites doing the same thing, it has to work, right? Why would they all be doing it if it didn’t?

And SNAP! You’re in the trap.

You see how easy it looks to broadcast the same thing over several social media channels. The thinking here is usually “If I can get my messages in front of 10,000 people a day and just 1% buy something, that’s a good day”. That’s very true. That would be a good day …if that ever happened.

It’s Too Hard To Be Me

What is it about our brains that makes us think that being ourselves is so much harder than trying to come up with phony online business personas? Why are we afraid to show our personalities in our business?

Think about your favorite online shops and sites. Why do you like them so much? Is it because they blast you with so-called limited time promotions that will still be around next week? Or, is it because they provide you with valuable, relevant, interesting information? I’m guessing it’s the later.

I’m willing to bet that’s why you keep coming back to Laura’s blog, and I think we can all agree the she has plenty of social proof to back her up.

And POOF… From Poop To Proof In 3 Steps

The good news is if you’ve fallen into this stinky trap, it’s not hard to get out and start creating a loyal audience. If you’re just starting out you’ll know how to avoid the poo.

I’m an ecommerce guy, so I’m usually teaching this to folks who run or want to start an online store, but these 3 things are crucial for any type of online business presence.

  1. Be Yourself – Seriously people. What could possibly be easier than being yourself? If you don’t want to show every part of your personality, that’s fine; but pick a part that you like and run with it. You can only fake it for so long until you burn out and quit. I know you’ve heard this before because Laura teaches this so well in every course she offers.
  2. Stop trying to get a sale with every piece of content you put out. This is hard for lot of people. I’m not saying to give out everything for free. Be strategic in the content that you create. Make it informative, engaging, and relevant with no strings attached. And yes this goes for you ecommerce sites. If you sell roller skates, create or find some great articles about the health benefits or styles of roller skating. You can literally find information to talk about forever once you start thinking like that. You can still add links to your stores product (when relevant) in the blog posts. If the thought of writing new blog posts makes you sick, there are plenty of ways around that too. Just ask Laura. (I see a lot of videos around here. Hint Hint)
  3. Keep That Conversation Going. By conversation I mean email. WAY too many ecommerce owners think that there’s nothing left to do after the sale. This is oh so wrong. This is where the real profitable relationship begins. It’s vital to stay in contact with your customers if you ever want them to come back again. Let’s face it. There are 1,000,001 stores online. No matter how awesome your service is, you’re forgettable unless you become a part of your customers life. This isn’t hard at all. It could simply be by letting them know about a new blog post or even a new blog you found that’s relevant to your industry. Simple informative things. NOT crazy sales emails with pictures all over the place. You know what I’m talking about. Sales and promotion are fine, but in extreme moderation.

If you follow these three steps I promise you will see a difference in your audience. Yes it is more work than creating poop, but it’s business. You have to put forth the effort if you want to see real results.

The great thing is that all these things are doable for those who only have 4-5 hours a week to work on their business.

So what’s your take?

Are you a pooper or a proofer? Tell us in the comments how you’re creating social proof for your business/ecommerce, or how you haven’t.

 

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Andy FogartyAndy Fogarty is somewhat of a mad scientist when it comes to ecommerce sites. Not really, but he does know what works and what doesn't and he uses that knowledge to help others create simple, effective, and profitable online shopping carts that won't eat up all their time. He's a freedom fighter and also the author of The Entrepreneurial Daddy where he gives tips and guidance on being a husband, father, and business owner.

Comments

  1. “Stop trying to get a sale out of every piece of content you create.” – To be honest, with most serious bloggers and business people I don’t see too much of this, but it is great advice. This may happen more in the world of someone who isn’t sure what they’re doing and like you stated, they think “this just doesn’t work.”

    I loved this: “No matter how awesome your service is, you’re forgettable unless you become a part of your customers life.” If you can become a part of their life you build a fan forever. I have customers from 10 years ago who are following my current stuff, even though it’s in a completely different niche. And it’s simply because I took the time to build a relationship.

    Thanks Andy!
    Karol

  2. Andy Fogarty says:

    Hey Karol,

    I probably should have worded that a little differently. Everything should point to the eventual sale. The problem is a lot of people are afraid to give away great content without including the big sales pitch. By strategically giving out the free content with no strings, it’s much easier to make the sale in the future. We see this a lot in the big guru IM world, but it also very powerful in smaller markets and in ecommerce.

    Your fan following is a perfect example of how powerful staying in front of your audience is. I’ve seen this so many times. You can actually start a whole new business in another market and have a strong group of followers and customers right from start.

    Good stuff. Thanks for the comment :-)

  3. I love this stuff! All three points are not only excellent, but this whole way of looking at it really takes the pressure off and makes it more fun!

    When you look at it from the opposite side, of trying to sell all of the time and constantly promoting your own stuff in everything, it’s not fun, and it doesn’t feel good.

    Just being yourself, providing actual value (without ALWAYS trying to sell) and actually developing a conversation with your customers is just a hell of a lot more fun! :)

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      Hey Jess!

      You’re so right about it being a hell of lot more fun, and if I’m going to spend as much time as I do working on my businesses, you know I’m gonna be making it fun.

      If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, what the point?

      Thanks!

  4. Great post.

    Ive always wondered about those certain marketers. The ones who keep blasting a sales pitch across twitter and only do stuff to try and move more product, without thinking of actually adding value.

    When I think about it thought, I often ask myself, why are they doing this? and I can only arrive at one answer. Its working to some extent. I would hope not, but why else would then continue to do it. Maybe if they have 20k twitter followers and they keep trying to sell sell sell, eventually someone will buy.

    If they weren’t getting results I think most would have common sense enough to stop. Maybe I’m giving them to much credit. Thoughts?

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      Hey Jason,

      That’s a good thought. Your right, it does work to some extent. In the beginning, I was guilty of this too. We created a twitter account for our store and followed as many people as possible and in return most followed us back. We blasted the living crap out of that stream with promotion after promotion 24 hours a day.

      Sure we got some sales, but there was no relationship being built at all. And once we started looking at the type of customers that we were getting from there, we realized it was actually hurting us. 63% of all of our problem orders (returns, possible card fraud, rude customers, etc.) came from these campaigns. As soon as we changed our strategy (thank you Laura for teaching us the right way) those numbers dropped to 8% and the amount of time we have to spend on problem orders is almost non-existent.

      I guess it all boils down to if you care about building a relationship or not.

      Thanks for the input. Great stuff!

  5. Great article Andy! I’m a proofer, but feel like a pooper some times. Any verbiage you can share that has worked for you about asking for the business from past clients?

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      Hi Kim,

      First off, I really liked your “The Half-Assed Realtor” post on http://kimandkristine.tv/

      Now back to your question. Honestly, I would say to just send out a “Hey, how ya doing? Remember me?” email. I also have a welding business so I know what it’s like to have clients that you don’t normally see again. At least not for a while.

      I’m not sure if your asking for your realtor business or your DIY site, but I think a reminder email would be that best way to soften them up a bit. Don’t push anything or try to direct them to anything. Just a simple “what’s up”. Then I would send another email 2-3 days later reminding them who you are again and this time add something about a recent blog post you wrote with a link to the post.

      Send them another one 2-3 days later, by now they should now who you are and you can give them a little more meat and maybe give them a hint about your upcoming free e-course and then link to a blog post that talks about the course (if your ready for that). Then just try your best to keep constant scheduled contact with them. Once a week, every other week, it really depends on your market. Whatever is enough to keep you top of mind but not annoying.

      You’ll probably get some people complaining. That’s natural if you haven’t had any contact with them. Just unsubscribe them and move on.

      That’s my take. I hope that helps.

      Great question! Thanks

  6. Thanks Andy :) I’m glad you liked it.

    That’s cool you have a welding business. Joe Gold, of Gold’s Gym in Venice, was a welder & built all his own gym equipment. Guys like Arnold & the Hulk helped made him famous.

    Thank you, this is very helpful for both my Realtor biz & DIY site. I’m beginning to reach out more & will use your advise for sure. Some people have begun complaining. One called & ask to be taken off my emails, but wouldn’t give their email…hmmm, i suppose this is where the all powerful intuition kicks in and leads me to the email I need to remove.

    p.s. i just posted a blog using your e-zine article tip

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      That’s awesome Kim! I love it when people get right to it and start implementing things they’ve learned.

      As for the complaints, yea there’s no way around it. From here on out though, you’ll be be building an engaged list.

      Have Fun! :-p

  7. Yes, yes! You number 3 point is so important. I see too many bloggers who are not keeping in touch with the audience. All they do is put out free content with a sporadic post about some e-book and then wonder why they don’t make any money. Touch marketing, baby!

  8. “They’re following 10,000 people and only have like 500 people following them back”

    It’s worth noting that this isn’t possible with new accounts on Twitter. Once you follow 2000 people, you can’t follow anyone else until you have 2000 people following you back. See Twitter’s official note of this here:

    http://help.twitter.com/entries/68916-following-rules-and-best-practices

    It’s something to be aware of, especially if you’re writing blog posts about social media.

    -Erica

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      Erica,

      Thanks for the fact checking. Perhaps I should hire you as my researcher :-)

      Your right about numbers. I just pulled those numbers off the top of my head to get my point across. I think it worked, eh?

      Thanks

  9. Great analogy between poop and spam! I’m totally with you on that.

    I’ve only been active in social media for 8 months and watching the landscape as a newbie is interesting. Forging my path in social media is equally interesting. My initial motivation was to promote my e-commerce site, but I’ve gotten the ‘bug’ and now social media has its own place high up on my list of priorities.

    The biggest challenge for me initially was engaging the conversation with my readers. I created an ‘Ask Dr. Bailey’ section to my blog which really got things going both for me and my readers. Readers can submit skin care questions and I’ll create content from them. Topics can also come from comments people send. It’s interesting to see which posts stimulate conversation, they aren’t always the ones I expected people would find the most interesting or that took me the longest to create.

    Cynthia Bailey MD
    http://www.otbskincare.com/blog/

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      Cynthia,

      I know exactly what you mean about the posts. I can literally spend 2 days writing thinking about and writing a post and get nothing but the sound of crickets in the comments. Then I can knock a post out in 20 minutes and get instant conversation.

      It’s funny how that works.

  10. This was a great read. I love the way you approached the topic. I am a newbie to the whole “social media” world and I certainly agree that there is a lot of poop out there! I especially loved your comment about being yourself. I read a lot of design/craft/art blogs and the part I like best is feeling like I am getting to know someone with similar interests. Great advice… so glad I found this website!

    Chrissy Poitras
    Executive Director
    Spark Box Studio
    http://www.sparkboxstudio.com

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      Hi Chrissy,

      Thanks for the kind words. You’ve definitely come to right place for learning how to use social media. Laura is a great teacher and get you going the right way.

  11. Andy, you’ve used great writing skill to take something that I knew at some level already but you presented it with clarity — and an attitude — that brought it into focus. When you let go of the need to sell with every post, it’s easier to be yourself and channel some of that energy into connecting with your reader. Thank you!

    • Andy Fogarty says:

      Hi there Elizabeth,

      You’re spot on! “When you let go of the need to sell with every post, it’s easier to be yourself and channel some of that energy into connecting with your reader.”

      Couldn’t of said it better myself :-)

      Thanks for making my head a little bigger.

  12. I love the term “social poop”. Too many people see Twitter and other social media tools as an easy way to get the word out about their business. But they don’t realize that while it’s easy to follow a ton of people online, it still takes work to build relationships.

    Great post!

  13. Hey Andy,

    Great post. And so true! I had real difficulty being myself when
    I first came online last year, but now I have learned the basics
    I am more relaxed and can let my personality come through more!

    When I first came online, I wouldnt have even left a blog comment
    in case I said something wrong!! lol

    And so many people on Twitter think it is just about tweeting links –
    no conversation at all; their loss I suppose!

    Thanks Andy for a great article!

    Sue

  14. Brilliant post. I don’t know about pooping, but it does seem like it with what people do when it comes to this. It always pays to put more into Social Media than just a tool to throw out messages and promotions, it’s also great for starting relationships and building trust with people.