Social Proof: A Viable Tool For Effective Content Marketing
Wide content reach is the validity of a job well done for any content person and this is aided by social proof.
What would you say if you saw a person shouting at the top of their voice with no one paying attention? Such a person will come across as either not making sense or having gone overboard.
I know it is a harsh way to describe the example of content without audience participation. But it is the truth, and that is sometimes bitter.
The above scenario fits over 87% of contents on the internet today. From website copy texts to blog articles and social media posts and publications, most of the contents around have very few, if any audience participation.
Unlike the scenario above, personally, I think the bulk of contents on the internet does make a whole lot of sense. However, they are mostly not seen by those who need them.
I believe that ‘crappy contents’ is not a viable reason for the lack of engagement that bedevils most published contents on the internet.
Take a survey yourself, just type any keyword into a search engine and see the tonnes of relevant links that comes up. It shows that the articles are relevant and the problem must be from somewhere else.
Without much fuss, the crux of the problem, based on my research; stems from either of two broad reasons. Either the content is shared to the wrong audience or they are not being shared at all.
This is where most content marketers get it wrong. They usually think that the articles will sell themselves. You and I already know the answer to that assumption.
Here are a few tricks to make your contents more engaging and yield result.
Leverage Inner Caucus
These are the ones that are loyal enough to read your content and drop the first few comments. You can call these ones the early settlers. They are made up of friends you can call on the first days of publishing to share and drop comments about your article.
With this first few sharing and comments, your content will be on the right part to gaining more traction. This is because the contents with comments somewhat compel others to drop their comments too.
The human psychology is wired to connect when it senses movement in a particular direction. This is called the ‘mob appeal’ in psychology or ‘social proof’ in marketing.
You will agree that one will be more apt to drop a comment on an article that already has 3 to 5 comments, than one with no comment. That is why you need your inner caucus to drop the first true and insightful comments on your article.
Talking about the sharing formula, it works like magic. The sharing algorithm on social media is designed to grow in geometric progression with the wider cycle of share.
When you share your article on social media and you have a following of maybe 500, the chances of 90+ people seeing it is high based on the relevance of the content, time of posting and competition. That is about 19% circulation among a following of 500.
Now, have 20 of your friends with 500+ followers share the same article on their social accounts. All things being equal, they may get 10% content penetration each on their followers.
In total, you have 21.9% of penetration in an audience of 10,000. That is way more than you can ever reach even if you have a 10,000 following and share only on your account.
Target Relevant Market
As much as it is good to have a wider scope of reach with sharing your article, it is also important to share within a relevant circle. As discussed in my last article, the goal of a content hacker is sharable contents and lead conversion.
To achieve that, you need your article to be targeted to the relevant people. The equation of sharing algorithm that I discussed in the last point will be almost useless if you share your content within the wrong set of audience.
Take this article for example. It will be irrelevant and a wasted effort for me to share it entirely with a social group of 50,000 nursing mothers or vegetarians.
It will mean little or nothing to them and ultimately be a failed effort for me as a content marketer. I would not have achieved sharability – why will a nursing mother share a content that is not relevant or of help to her? I will probably not gain any lead let alone conversion.
So, it is important that you direct your article to the right set of audience for content relevance. I define relevance as “offering insightful knowledge broadly and not-so-obvious information sparingly.”
This way, you will arouse the interest of your audience to crave more from you and regard you as an authority in the field.
Use Appropriate Medium
I talked about sharing your content within the right circle for relevance and yield. It will be limiting not to highlight where you can find these audiences.
Not all social networks work perfectly for every type of campaigns. Based on research, select networks have shown the attribute of doing well for some type of campaigns.
In later posts, I will discuss exclusively on specific social networks and the types of content campaign to share on them.
I will use the example of LinkedIn here as an appropriate medium for sharing content among the right circle.
LinkedIn is a potent platform for growing your network largely because it the social hub of professionals. This accounts for the reason why LinkedIn is a valued social platform among the cooperate world.
A report claims that LinkedIn members in the U.S. have an average household income of $83,000 per year and twice the purchasing power of the average U.S. consumer, which is higher than most other social platforms.
This tells you that LinkedIn users comprise of a large sector of professionals from various fields. Done well, targeting and segmentation on LinkedIn will avail you the exact set of relevant audience that you need. More so, the audiences who have the wherewithal to commit when converted.
I don’t need to say more here, I believe the idea is quite clear already. If you have some other tested strategies for sharing contents that reach far and converts, feel free to share them below for us all to benefit from.