As noted in the previous post, social media optimization is a key part to blog marketing… Rather, let me say a key part to effective blog marketing. And, even though SMO has been around for quite some time (at least 3 years), there seems to be some limitation in the minds of bloggers as to the role it plays in marketing their blogs. As noted before, social media optimization serves many purposes and should be an integral part of any blog marketing plan. Today, we are going to cover the benefits of social media optimization in developing your social proof as an expert — in whatever area of knowledge or industry you are covering on your blog.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof is the idea that people follow the crowd… When people follow the crowd they are making an assumption about your credibility based on the connections you have, the amount of followers you have, subscribers, etc. (Wikipedia) Social media optimization greatly increases your ability to rapidly develop social proof, which in turn (given other factors being good), will greatly increase your subscribers and influence over our target audience. As a blogger, this is an important part of your blog marketing plan.
Examples of Social Proof
Social proof comes in many forms… many of them you can see on this blog itself.
- Subscriber counts: In the top-right corner of this blog, you’ll see an aggregate number of email and RSS subscribers – this is my social proof to you.
- Comment counts: The Liz Strauss comment counter plugin is a great way to provide social proof on your blog. With other forms of social proof (subscriber counts, etc), you can highlight the social activity taking place on your blog.
- Follower counts: Like the other head counts, this just lets people know that your not only active, but others potentially within your industry follow you — lending to your credibility.
- Viral marketing opportunities: Throughout this blog, you’ll see viral marketing opportunities everywhere. These include places where people can share my content and places where people can syndicate my content. On the blog, this may not mean much, but within the social media arena, everytime my content is shared with others through peers and connections – they are doing the social proof work for me.
- Social Bookmarking buttons: Like the above, social bookmarking allows others to build social proof for you. The easier you make it, the more they will do it.
- Buzz marketing and word of mouth marketing: Both are great examples of social proof. You can create buzz and word of mouth power in many different ways. From the content you post (example would be a controversial post) to creating link bait posts. Testimonials and comments are an effective form of social proof, as well.
The key to remember about social proof is that it’s all about getting your readers to follow the crowd, assuming or believing in your credibility, then becoming a part of that crowd, or loyal readers. It’s not about convincing them completely, it’s about influencing their perception of you, your expertise, and your credibility.