If you see a crowd of people looking up at the sky, would you look up to where they’re looking, too? Social proof says you would.
This was proven in 1968 by a simple pedestrian experiment, one of the earliest studies on the subject, by psychologists Stanley Milgram, Leonard Bickman, and Lawrence Berkowitz. Other studies have found very similar results since then.
So what exactly is social proof and why is it important on YouTube? How can you, a newbie on YouTube or even an established ‘Tuber, benefit from social proof?
Image credit: The Meta Weta
Social proof is an invisible yet powerful force that, in a nutshell, makes people copy what others are doing. This behavioral phenomenon is especially strong when there are more people observed doing the action.
For example, we are more likely to face the rear of an elevator when more people are doing the same. Watch this funny elevator experiment, revived by Prudential with some clever social proof marketing.
What’s even funnier is that even when we think we’re above some particular influence, we are almost certainly not immune to it. In fact, we encounter social proof every day, get influenced in some way, and don’t even know it.
Last time you were online window shopping, did you click that item under “Customers who viewed this also liked?” It’s easy to think that people who looked at the same items as you would be looking at other stuff you might be interested in, too.
Image credit: Kmart
Or maybe you shared that one video everybody was raving about? Well, congratulations, you have just been influenced by social proof.
The good news is, you can also use social proof to grow your channel on YouTube. You can buy YouTube views and use that as social proof to encourage others to view your videos as well. This is why social proof is extremely valuable on YouTube and can help you become more popular fairly quickly.
On YouTube, one strong signal of social proof is the number of views your videos have. The more views you have, the more strongly you’ll influence new viewers to watch.
So, if the views on a video are on the low side, it will only attract very few additional views. If, however, the views are massive, it will pull in a huge amount of views, leading to a positive feedback cycle. The more people we perceive to be doing a particular action, the more likely we are to mimic that action.
The number of views influences us to watch a video on YouTube, especially when we aren’t sure whether to watch it or not or if we’re picking a video from multiple options. We depend on the decision of those others who watched it because it’s much easier and requires less thinking on our part. This is how social proof works.
Image credit: Building Up Moms
Social proof also works well when the people we’re mimicking are people we know and trust, as well as people we see as similar to us. Keep this in mind when creating videos.
Another source of social proof on YouTube is the number of your subscribers. If you have many subscribers, not only will the number attract more subscribers, you will also be seen as something of an expert, or at least a good source of information. People will perceive you as an authority in your niche, which in itself will gain you more subscribers.
Now, you might be thinking this is all well and good, but if you have zero subscribers and zero views, how can you make social proof work in your favor? We’re glad you asked. Let’s talk about that in the next section.
It is possible to build your social proof from scratch. Here are some ways you can establish social proof on your channel.
A low number of subscribers is bad news. So, until you have grown a big enough following, think about hiding your YouTube subscriber count. Do this by going to the Settings, then click the Channel tab. Next click Advanced, and if you scroll down you’ll see the option to stop your subscriber count from showing up.
Unfortunately, there is no way you can hide the number of views on your videos, but don’t fret, your zero-views videos can still bring in organic views from users.
This is the fastest and one of the most effective ways of attracting organic views on your videos.
Buy YouTube Views and let that number serve as social proof to encourage people to watch your videos. Avoid scammers and buy from reputable providers that will help you make your views look as natural as possible, coming in at a reasonable rate.
Do you have a solid following on other social media channels? Invite your viewers to head over to these other sites so you can show how you are already popular on other social media networks. Whenever possible, link your social media accounts together and encourage video viewers to connect with you on other platforms.
Image credit: My Gifs 13 via Tumblr
Run a YouTube views campaign to grow your audience and get more people watching your videos.
You can create a paid YouTube ad, promote your YouTube channel on other sites including your other social media channels, and much more.
Social proof can be a very powerful tool in marketing, which is why it’s used by many big names not just on YouTube but also on other websites and social media channels.
Now that you know what it is and how it works, you can focus on it, using it to your advantage to grow your YouTube channel.
So, go on, fire up your YouTube marketing motor and start building your social proof today!
Date: September 12, 2017 / Categories: Explainer, / Author: Chell
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