What Is Social Proof, And Why’s It So Important To Twitter?
In life, we are constantly affected by external factors that influence our decision-making process. Often unknowingly, we align our actions and thoughts with what is accepted by the standards of the majority of people. This phenomenon which influences our decision-making process is called “Social Proof,” and it has more impact on our behaviour than we know. Why is this important for Twitter? You’ll soon find out.
What is social proof?
You decide to go to a coffee place, but you haven’t decided where to go yet. You choose to walk around and see which coffee place peaks your interest. You walk by two coffee places, one is crowded, and the other one is nearly empty. Your basic instincts tell you to go to the coffee place that is crowded. Why? Logically speaking, that coffee place is more likely to serve better coffee, offer better customer service, and have a better overall ambience. At least, that’s what common sense suggests.
The situation above illustrates both negative and positive social proof:
- Positive social proof: The crowded coffee place boasts positive social proof because people passing by will get the idea that the coffee must be great there, that’s why the shop is so crowded… Everyone wants their coffee!
- Negative social proof: Since the other coffee place is empty, your brain makes a snap decision and makes you think that the reason the restaurant is empty is that the coffee there is bad.
Although that might not be true, and both coffee places might serve equally good coffee and offer quality customer service, the fact that the other coffee place is empty gives off a negative aura. People walking by will more likely be attracted to the crowded coffee place.
I’m sure now you’re asking, “Okay… but what does all this have to do with Twitter?” Let me demonstrate.
Social proof on Twitter
First off, this psychological phenomenon applies to every social network, not only Twitter. Social proof is described as the tendency to see an action as more acceptable when others are doing it. The example with the coffee place is the perfect metaphor that encapsulates the entire Twitter methodology:
- The coffee place represents the Twitter profile
- The people in the coffee place represent the Twitter followers
- The coffee and customer service represent the Twitter content and user-engagement
To put it into context, if your Twitter profile (the coffee place) has a lot of followers (is crowded) and produces great content (great coffee and customer service), then other people that visit your profile will be more likely to follow you. The key factor here, as mentioned earlier, is the coffee place being crowded. Here’s a live example of my hypothesis.
Happy midweek folks! Its Wednesday and that means its NAME DAY! So if your name is David get down to our Luton cafe and claim your cooling Iced Coffee on us!! (you need to prove your name is David) #Nameday #tastesgoodtodogood #winners #summer2018 #staycool #HeatWave2018 pic.twitter.com/HFgEXw1s8e
— Coffee Ethic (@CoffeeEthic) July 25, 2018
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) July 12, 2018
Above you can see two tweets from two different coffee places. As a neutral visitor, which one seems more impressive to you? Do you find the tweet from @CoffeeEthic more appealing, or @Starbucks? I bet 99% of you will opt for Starbucks any day of the week. Over 1400 retweets versus 2 retweets is a clear distinction.
This is how things are in the age of instant gratification. When people check out a profile and they see an unimpressive number of followers and low engagement, they immediately bounce from that profile. Social proof has a real impact on sales and business!
The benefits of social proof
Everyone on Twitter has social proof. Whether that social proof is positive or negative, it is totally up to you. Positive social proof will drive more traffic and improve the growth of your Twitter account, whereas negative social proof will do the opposite. It will slow down the organic growth of your profile and drive potential visitors away. Here are the overall benefits coming from positive social proof:
- Authoritative reputation
- Strong presence
- Improved organic growth
- More effective marketing strategies
Your Twitter profile will seem more credible if it is packed with many Twitter followers and has impressive user-engagement. Once a neutral visitor lands on your profile, they will be more interested to see what you have in store once they check out the impressive numbers. This increases the organic growth. To top it off, all your marketing efforts will bring positive results once your tweets start gathering impressive engagements. Especially if your marketing campaigns are well thought out, like this one from Disney.
— Beauty and the Beast (@beourguest) February 14, 2017
Over 8000 people replied to that tweet!
How to create social proof on Twitter
By now you know that social proof is important for your Twitter profile, but do you know how to ignite social proof? Here are some of the best ways to boost your social proof on your Twitter account and change the entire trajectory of your Twitter growth:
- Quality content only: Social proof is the ultimate stamp of success. You have to earn it. This means experimenting with different marketing techniques and working on your content. Mediocrity will never reap the benefits of social proof. Only high-quality content stands a chance of boosting social proof.
.@KFC follows 11 people.
Those 11 people? 5 Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb.
11 Herbs & Spices. I need time to process this.
— 🅴🅳🅶🅴 (@edgette22) October 19, 2017
- Buy Twitter followers: Twitter accounts with thousands of Twitter followers spark confidence with their strong Twitter presence. It’s quite simple – the bigger the Twitter followers number, the stronger the reputation of the Twitter account. That is the law of the Twittersphere. Buying Twitter followers from reputable providers is one way to speedily grow your Twitter following.
- Other Twitter metrics: It’s not only the number of followers that boost social proof. It can also be found in other relevant Twitter metrics; such as likes, favorites and retweets. In this situation, it would be wise to consider purchasing automatic Twitter retweets.
Social proof cannot be achieved only by excelling in one of the above-mentioned aspects. For example, if you create quality content, but you have low engagement and a low following base, you can’t achieve social proof. The same goes for the other elements. A big number of followers will do you no good if you don’t create top-quality content and receive lots of positive engagements from your followers. What you want to achieve should look something like things:
Breaking the 2-hour marathon. Crazy? Yes. So we’re doing it. #LIVE
— Nike (@Nike) May 5, 2017
You want your tweets to be optimized and receive a lot of engagement. You want your neutral followers to feel like they made the right choice by visiting your Twitter profile. One way you can do that is by learning from pros who already made it on Twitter. They’ve figured out how to leverage their social proof, and what they do is right on Twitter in plain sight for you to learn from.
Going viral for social proof
Social proof can also be achieved by going viral. Viral tweets can be the result of impeccable planning, or an enormous stroke of luck. If you do reach the achievement of having a tweet go viral, your entire profile will grow almost instantly.
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
The tweet above is from a kid who jokingly challenged his favorite fast-food chain by asking them how many retweets it would take for him to get a year’s supply of chicken nuggets. Unexpectedly, Wendy’s replied to the tweet with a joke of requiring 18 million retweets. Even though the kid didn’t get 18 million retweets, he did break the record for most retweeted tweet of all-time, previously held by Ellen DeGeneres’s Oscar selfie tweet.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 9, 2017
Wendy’s thought that breaking the record was impressive enough, and granted the kid a one-year supply of chicken nuggets. Not only did Carter get a one year supply of nuggs, he also got his social proof. The massive attention he received with his nugget challenge got people interested, and the 3.6 million retweets resulted in over 100,000 followers on Twitter. That’s what going viral does for you.
yo @LuisFonsi how many retweets for Despacito 2?
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) June 4, 2018
Carter tried to go viral once again, by challenging Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee for a Despacito sequel, but it didn’t work. That’s what makes viral content special. It doesn’t work every time. He should still be happy with all of those nuggets though…
Twitter optimization for social proof
Social proof doesn’t have a lot to do with optimization, but Twitter does. The Twitter algorithm works in a way that it favors well-crafted tweets that have just the right keywords and hashtags. When you optimize your Twitter profile, your account will be better positioned to appear on Twitter search, thus bringing more traffic your way. To fully optimize your account for social proof benefits, you should consider the following:
- Optimize your bio
- Optimize your profile image and header image
- Include a website URL
- Include a location
- Open your Twitter to DM
- Use the “Pinned Tweets” feature
- Use branded and popular hashtags
- Cross-promote with your other social networks
When your profile is completely optimized, it will appeal Twitter users and the Twitter algorithm. This, in return, will allow your profile to grow and eventually obtain positive social proof. This is the type of optimization you should apply to your tweets.
— GoPro (@GoPro) July 18, 2018
— GoPro (@GoPro) July 12, 2018
Crafting the ideal hashtag strategy for your marketing campaign is essential. You need to balance the right usage of hashtags and emojis with the nature of your content. The tweets above are both visually stimulating and equipped with the proper hashtag power.
Collaboration for social proof
Social proof can be transferred from one source to another. That is why brands are paying celebrities to promote their products. When people see that their favorite singer, athlete, or movie star wearing a particular product, they’ll be more likely to use that product as well. This applies on Twitter.
hey @Wendys, u up?
— Frank's RedHot (@FranksRedHot) July 10, 2018
Nowadays, you can see more and more paid/sponsored partnerships, collaborations, takeovers and other forms of collaborations on social media. The example above is how two brands can collaborate on Twitter in a creative way. The limit for collaboration depends on your own creativity:
- You can create a video with another Twitter creator
- Run a contest together
- Retweet each other’s tweet
- Give a shout out on a post
These are all strategies that strengthen their social proof as they share their audiences and grow their numbers, In addition to how the smaller account gets social proof from the endorsement of the larger account.
Get social proof for your Twitter profile
It is clear that having social proof is a priority for everyone on Twitter. However, achieving social proof is easier said than done. Let’s review some of the most effective ways of achieving social proof on Twitter:
- Focus on quality content
- Buy followers, retweets, and favorites
- Aim for viral
- Optimize your profile
- Collaborate with other creators
Don’t be fooled though, social proof is not achieved in several steps. It takes a long-term commitment to start building a strong presence on Twitter. Remember, you are competing against thousands of creators that are equally craving success. You must be at the top of your tweeting game at all times if you wish to stand a chance in the Twitter jungle. Once you do achieve social proof for your Twitter profile, you will see that all the struggles were worth it.