Is Social Proof Worth Anything These Days?

One idea that is constantly pitched as a way to make sure that your site will stand out from the crowd is the so called “social proof.” What this means is that you get thousands of Facebook “likes” or Twitter followers and show that off on your site. The idea is to show off that lots of people are interested in what you have to say and offer and that therefore other people should consider what you have to say and offer as well.

The thing is, because buying likes and YouTube views and Twitter followers is so widespread, some people have started to claim that so called social proof is overrated and that it’s not worth anything anymore. I both agree and disagree with this assessment. Here’s what you need to know:

It Depends on Your Industry

First and foremost, the question of whether or not social proof is going to be worth anything to you will depend to a great extent on your industry. If you are in something like the make money online industry then people are likely to be much more jaded and believe that your social proof is all faked, even if it is real. This is just a reality of the times – people in this industry tend to abuse such things much more often than people in say the retirement planning world. That’s not to say other industries don’t engage in abuse as well. It’s just that other industries are less prone to such abuse.

It Depends On Engagement

If you find a Facebook page which is basically deserted but which has 100,000 likes then you know with almost complete certainty that those 100,000 likes have been purchased by someone trying to game the system. A page that popular with at least some real users would of necessity have some activity. That’s why I don’t believe in buying your way into the stratosphere. It’s one thing to buy say 500 or 1,000 likes so that the first few “real” people who show up to like your page are not wondering why they’re the only ones doing it. However, you also need to keep things looking realistic, with actual comments on your Facebook page (we have a separate blog post which will be published soon on how to do this).

Just Starting or Already Going?

Finally, you need to consider whether you are just starting out or you have been going for a while. As I noted above, if you have 5 likes, it’s going to be much harder to get to the first 500. If you have those first few hundred though, getting that to a few thousand isn’t going to too difficult by using other techniques. Nobody wants to be the first one to like a page but at the same time, paying for a ridiculous number of fake “likes” is going to be an equal waste.

A Word on Buying Social Proof

One final comment on buying likes (or YouTube views or Twitter followers, etc.): all of these services are cracking down hard on those who use automated services to game the system. There are places that do marketing campaigns in order to get you legitimate Facebook likes, real Twitter followers and real YouTube views. They cost a lot more than the automated services but these are much more likely to be worth something to you in the long run.

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