Social Proof in Social Media

As Facebook continues to be inundated with business pages of all kinds, I can’t help but notice the increased amount of people claiming to have discovered “50 NEW solutions” that will get your business page a “MILLION fans”.  (And by paying a small, one-time fee, you will gain exclusive access to this “classified” information. )  Obviously, a business page with a higher number of fans is more effective.   The fact that people can CHARGE you MONEY for methods that have NO guaranteed results proves the importance to have a lot of fans!!!

So in efforts to relieve my frustrations regarding these costly, yet, unproven techniques, I decided to explore where fans come from and why big numbers are so powerful.

Have you ever consulted on a  project that required you to “back your claims up with social proof”?  It isn’t too hard to figure out what this phrase implies, however, if you want to validate your findings with credible evidence; you must understand how social proof affects people and their opinions.

Social proof is a common phenomenon in everyday activities. Have you ever been a part of or witnessed the event that sometimes takes place when there is long line for the women’s bathroom?  Among the snaking line of foot-tapping and frustrated women, there is one brave woman who boldly steps out of line and walks nonchalantly into the men’s bathroom.  Almost immediately, followers make a beeline to the men’s room to claim the empty stalls.

The truth is, very few people want to be the guinea pig.  In the business world, being the first involves risks that not many people are willing to take.  For example, if you are the first to buy a new product or service, you run the chance of discovering it was a waste of time and money.  Ultimately, people want to engage in circumstances that have minimal risk and are safe.

This theory isn’t limited in its implications for just new products and services.  Getting back to my personal campaign to find the meaning of Facebook fan, ‘social proof’ plays a substantial role in understanding  “where Facebook fans come from”.   When your business has a substantial number of fans, more people get the impression that they should engage with page.  The higher your fan number climbs, the more incentive others have to follow suit.



Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.