Social Proof Marketing on Twitter: Make your 140 Characters More Important

Have you ever been walking around your city when you came across something like the image you see above: A big lineup with no explanation as to why it’s there? If you have ever stopped to ponder it, try to figure out what’s going on, or even talk to people in the line, you have been influenced by social proof.

To quickly summarize social proof marketing in general, it is when the actions of a large group, or society, influence the actions of a single person. This means that social proof applies to a very wide range of situations. To look at some real world applications of social proof that we can all easily identify with:

  • Walking past a concert hall and seeing a whole lot of people enjoying a band. Maybe you learn the band name to listen to them later, or maybe you even buy a ticket and go inside. The presence of the large audience influenced you.
  • Nearly every night club on earth uses social proof. They intentionally keep a lineup of people outside. When you see this lineup of people you think to yourself that it is a good club to go in. If all these people would wait to get in, it must be good… Right?
  • While driving you find yourself going 10 mph over the speed limit as you try to keep up with the rest of traffic. Everyone else exceeding the speed limit influences you into thinking that it is the correct action to take. Slow down!
  • You find someone’s Twitter account for the first time, and you see that they have many Twitter followers. You decide to follow them as well because that many people following someone is a sign that their account is good.

The last example is something we are going to look at in much more depth as we study the real world impact of social proof marketing on Twitter. There’re a number of ways in which the numbers of an audience will impact your Twitter marketing, and we will make sure that you understand them in order to best apply your marketing efforts towards them.

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Social proof marketing: A general concept

The concept of social proof marketing has been around for a very long time. This is because marketers have realized that humans desire acceptance, and take the appropriate actions according to groups around them to gain that acceptance.

The foremost voice in the world of psychology relating to social proof is Dr. Robert Cieldini. His most famous quote explaining social proof was that it is:

“The tendency to see an action as more acceptable when others are doing it.”

Many marketers read his book Influence and applied it to social proof marketing concepts which they developed further. You now see social proof being applied to more and more areas of marketing, both offline and online. Examples you may not even think of you include:

  • Online influencers who are given free products in order to influence their audiences. The audience of these influencers accepting these products in turn influences more people. This happens very often in the sneaker collecting world.
  • E-commerce websites which include cues as to how many people are watching the item, how many people viewed the item, or how many people have added it to some sort of list. These are all little actions which add up to greater and greater social proof for the item.
  • Social media websites which show how many of your friends have already ‘liked’ a page. This is very targeted social proof.
  • Your local store having a recommended section. This recommended section could be from staff members, or from prominent customers. Either way, they’re trying to use the social proof of someone else liking a product to get you purchase it as well.
  • Anytime you see a store bringing back some of their best hits, or best-selling items, is banking on the social proof that was earned by the many sales that are implied. There is some social proof in them saying that this item sold well, making you think that you need to purchase it as well.

The more you look at marketing in any context, the more social proof you’re going to find being used. It is an essential tool in any marketer’s handbook. As useful as it is in the real world of marketing, you can also use it to help grow your Twitter marketing just as easily.

Does social proof actually work?

Many people have run experiments to see whether or not social proof actually works. Perhaps one of the earliest, and one of funniest, was done as a candid camera prank:

There is an argument to be made that this is not 100% social proof. Who wants a bunch of people to walk into an elevator and seemed like they are staring directly at them? But an argument could be made this is indeed group actions impacting an individual, demonstrating social proof.

Another way to look at social proof is that it’s not all bad. Most people equate it with peer pressure, but social proof can have a very positive impact on you. If you see a bunch of people running away, and you join them in running away, aren’t you glad social proof urged you to run away from Godzilla?

Social proof could save you! Now to learn more about social proof marketing that could save your business…

Social proof marketing on Twitter: Influence people in 140 characters

Now that you have a greater understanding of how social proof works in general, we’ll start looking at its most basic application to Twitter marketing. First, this brief video will help us look even further into what social proof marketing is all about in general. We will then break it down into what it means to Twitter marketing:

Let’s break this video down and apply it to Twitter followers:

  • Unfamiliar situation: The unfamiliar situation in this case is coming across a new Twitter account. You have found it, you have some interest in it, but you don’t know whether or not it’s any good and worth following.
  • Many people: In the instance of a Twitter account with many people doing the same action, that action is them following the account. You can clearly see this information displayed on Twitter, and many people look at it.
  • People like us: The people who are following the Twitter account are very likely to be much like you. They too found something interesting about the account, they took a moment to see what it is is all about just like you are doing right now, and clicked the follow button. Since most Twitter accounts focus on specific genres, or are centered around online influencers, people of like-minded interests typically flock to them.

This is how social proof works in regards to Twitter followers. The difference between having very few followers, and very many followers can be pretty substantial. This is why new Twitter accounts that start out by buying a few followers have an easier time growing their accounts quicker. You can take advantage of this at any point when you need to grow your number of followers

Social proof marketing for retweets

The concept of social proof applies to many aspects of Twitter marketing. It doesn’t have to just be about the number of Twitter followers that someone has. Another very important aspect of social proof on Twitter relates to your retweet numbers.

There are a number of situations where you want to have the most retweets possible:

  • Branded hashtags: When you are promoting a branded hashtag for your business. Having a lot of social proof from the high number of retweets can help push your marketing goals further as more people see fit to retweet it.
  • Trending topics: Getting noticed in a relevant trending topic can be tricky. It is very likely that you are not the only one, the reason it’s trending is because so many people are joining in. Having a lot of retweets will give you the social proof that’ll catch people’s eyes as there looking through the trending topic. On top of that, having a lot of retweets and likes will put you near the top of the trending content stream.
  • Links: Not only can having a lot of retweets drive people to retweet the content as well, it can also push them to click on links. You derive social proof from your high number of retweets, and more people believe that the link in the tweet is worth clicking on.

Looking at a topic which was trending today, which of these two tweets are going to be more likely to catch your attention while you’re scrolling through the hashtag stream:

Are you going to pay attention to the one with 8 retweets, or the one with over 300 retweets? Unless you’re a GM nut, the answer is pretty obvious.

You have seen some basic social proof in regards to retweets above. Let’s look at much more specific examples below.

Branded hashtags

First up, let’s look at branded hashtags. As they get ready for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, you can be sure that we’re going to see a lot more of this branded hashtag:

The high number of free tweets that this got establishes the Guardians of the Galaxy Twitter account as the one to follow. It convinces people that they should follow it rather than other accounts who are tweeting out that hashtag. Social proof says that this is the most important account to follow for all things related to this hashtag. This is important as the main @Marvel, or even @MarvelStudios, accounts could be mistaken as the most important.

Trending topics

Trending topics and hashtags are a key moment for many businesses. It allows them to get in front of people who would not ordinarily look at them twice. Finding relevant topics and hashtags, and having the benefit of social proof that you get from many retweets, can push some serious marketing goals. You can bet that Pizza Hut wanted to be trending on #NationalPizzaDay:

Pizza is life. Pizza Hut wants to make sure that you find them on Twitter through this hashtag, and give them a call, and to order a life-giving pizza.

Tweets with links

Having lots retweets on your tweets that have links in them is always a good idea. Many people push to get this social proof without even realizing it. What they do is they use phrases like “please RT” to get those retweets and the social proof associated with it.

The more retweets it gets, the more social proof it gets, the more likely people are to click on it. Of all the things that social proof can do for you, this one may have the most impact on your overall online marketing goals. The end goal for many Twitter marketing campaigns is to get people on your website. This is one example of how social proof can do it.

Twitter accounts with the most social proof

There are a number of Twitter accounts out there that are absolutely nailing social proof as a marketing tool. This includes using social proof both as a tool to gain more followers, as well as in the context of retweets. Let’s look at a few businesses now.

Brand with the most followers

As of this writing, the brand with the most followers on Twitter is PlayStation. At this time, PlayStation not only has the most social proof for any brand in terms of followers, they also have most social proof for any gaming system.

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That can be huge as gamers are also big-time users of the Internet and Twitter specifically. They use all of this social proof very wisely to help gamers with tips:

And, of course, they also push their latest games with links right in the tweet to purchase:

This kind of social proof is not easy to come by. Having lots of followers is something which takes a lot of time, effort, and consistency. You can use our Twitter followers service to boost your social proof when appropriate, and you can use that social proof going forward as you gain more real followers.

Brand with consistently high retweets

Not only is Samsung Mobile one of the most popular brands in terms of total followers, but it is also one of the consistently most re-tweeted. The wide variety of content that they share continues to amuse their followers, and this amusement pushes them to push the retweet button often:

Here you saw a video with 1800 retweets, and an image with an accompanying link with over 900 retweets. These tweets did catch on and get retweeted more often than their other content, but this sort of thing does happen to them quite consistently. As they continue to get more and more retweets, their social proof builds with it.

They cash in on all this social proof thanks to how often they are directly tweeting without their own products. This is going to be a case of the retweets pushing for more retweets, while all that social proof pushes for people to be more interested in their products.

If this is is the kind of social proof that you want I would recommend using our Auto Engagement packages. They will make it so every single tweet you send out will get a minimum number retweets. The social proof that you get from these will spur your followers to retweet them even more.

Brand with great engagement

Perhaps one of the brands on Twitter with the best engagement is JetBlue Airways. Their approach to engagement on Twitter comes in two different ways. First is that their fans and followers will reply to their messages:

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Yes, and the replies are nice! Who knew that people could be nice towards an airline?

The secondary aspect of their engagement is how hard they work to answer every question that is sent to them. This is an important aspect of their Twitter marketing plan, and their overall customer satisfaction plan:

How does this relate to social proof? The relation is that the more often Twitter users see that you can interact with JetBlue Airways and get a reply, the more likely they are to come to them with problems. We all know that the worse kind of customer is one which is upset, but who does not say anything. The social proof that JetBlue Airways gains from having a highly engaged Twitter account is one which lends itself to better customer support.

Their customer support is so exceptional that their followers are more like friends. Here is one of the most ridiculous Rick Rolls of all-time:

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Now you may be wondering, what the point is of all this engagement back-and-forth. The point of all this is that they are generating goodwill, and recommendations from their followers and those who’ve use their service. This direct word-of-mouth advertising may just be the most valuable social proof of all.

Using social proof marketing on Twitter

Social proof on Twitter is quite real, and also quite useful to your marketing goals. To review what you have learned about social proof:

  • We looked at the basis for social proof, including the work of Dr. Robert Cieldini.
  • An examination of real world human reactions show the legitimacy of social proof as a sociological phenomenon. Remember the elevator prank.

Those two concepts show how social proof works in the real world. To look at how social proof works in the world of Twitter marketing we examined:

  • How social proof’s three core concepts can apply directly to Twitter, specifically to followers.
  • The impact that your retweet numbers can have on your hashtags. This includes how they can improve your branded hashtags, and your work with trending hashtags.
  • Twitter accounts with very high amounts of social proof in regards to their follower numbers. We also looked at their retweet numbers, and their engagement levels overall.

Once you learn what social proof is in a general context, it is easy to see how social proof marketing applies to Twitter. The better able you are to increase your social proof, including using our services to help you along, the better off your overall Twitter marketing will be. This success on Twitter can be extended to your entire online marketing plan as it sends more traffic to your most important platforms.