Golden Rule of Social Proof
In his famous book — “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, Dr Robert Cialdini talks about The Rule of Social Proof. The Rule of Social Proof states that people will do things that are not in their nature just because everybody else is doing. I’ll explain it with an example from my motherland. In India, queues for purchasing subway tickets (or local trains as we call them here) is a very interesting phenomenon.
I am relating train ticket counters to Facebook Ads below (Wow)
Broadly speaking, there are two types of people that come to a ticket counter in India — one for travel to different cities & the second for inter-city travel (the commuter class)
There are no significant signs in a sub-urban Indian railway that tells you which queue is for purchasing the two different kinds of tickets. As a result, people tend to stand in the longer queue. But why? They are all educated working class people & take important decisions everyday. But at a railway station, they didn’t think twice before joining the longer queue. Nobody told them that this is the correct queue. They just assumed it is as everybody else was standing in the same queue.
|But at a railway station, they didn’t think twice before joining the longer queue.|
Brief Introduction About The ‘Viral’ Site Phenomenon
In Internet Marketing if you see a particular method succeed, people jump onto it faster than it takes to offend somebody on the Internet nowadays.
‘Viral’ sites or content-curating websites are a product of the same success story giving hopes to thousands of entrepreneur as their ticket to Money Ville.
|A simple search for the word “Shocking” (which apparently is the go-to word for every click-bait headline) on BuzzSumo will give you at least 170,000+ results. That’s a lot of ‘shock’ for one person.|
I have tried my fair share of trying to start a couple of ‘viral’ sites. Some died in the conceptualisation stage. Some were live for a couple of months & were shutdown.
These were small side-projects that I like to experiment with from time-to-time (keeps me in the know, you know!?). I mean, this looks easy from the outside. Search for a good story, rephrase some words & push it on Facebook for the world to see.
This is what a lot of entrepreneurs are doing & I happen to help a lot of them in a small way in their journey to Internet Marketing fortunes since Facebook & Facebook Ads is their main source of traffic.( SEO is out of the question because neither can you invest in ranking for the keywords that these sites use nor does it give instant results like Facebook does)
One of my biggest success stories has been a similar viral page which I helped last year from 0 likes to 300,000 page likes in 3 months.
0- 300K+ Likes, all from US
Though it was not easy, the fact that these type of sites were few & that the market sophistication (& disdain) about such sites was low helped in building this page smoothly.
What was once a surge of ‘meme’ pages (which apparently Zuck hates) has now evolved into a tsunami of Viral Sites.
I was entrusted with promoting a Facebook page of a similar viral site with the same starting words as Buzzfeed.
As with other marketers, their goal was to start with building a huge page with US likes.
The page was brand new. It barely had 50 likes. The content was ‘ok’, nothing special or out of the ordinary. So, I had to find a crazy angle to make people ‘like’ the page. Now, I know for a fact that there are so many similar pages that people have liked (An average American has liked 19 pages as per Facebook’s Audience Insights). It is always a tough task to make anybody like a new page.
|(An average American has liked 19 pages as per Facebook’s Audience Insights).|
People that like Buzzfeed have liked 38 pages since they joined Facebook
Today, people don’t want crap content to clutter their feed ( we have tons of it already). They want to discover content that adds value to their day or helps them pass that boring lecture or that looong day at work. People who have been on Facebook for a couple of years are now more conscious about which page they like. Liking a Facebook Page feels like a commitment now. It’s getting difficult as the time passes by.
|Liking a Facebook Page feels like a commitment now.|
The only thing I asked the page owners to not do was put a lot of click-bait type of content that turns away the user before he ‘likes’ the page (people do visit the page before liking it, hence the precaution)
CAMPAIGN LAUNCH — FIRST TRY
Anyways, I did end up finding something suitable & I launched the campaign & began promoting the page. After running a couple of tests for a week, I could not get the cost per like down to something that is sustainable for the page. The cheapest we got was $0.62 per like & the average for the campaign was $1.72 per like.
|The cheapest we got was $0.62 per like & the average for the campaign was $1.72 per like.|
Not a lot of data but this wasn’t going anywhere!
The Switch In Strategy
Step 1 – Seeing that we needed to lower cost & that the page lacked authority and social proof. I suggested the page owners to build the page with likes from Tier3 countries. Not only will they be cheap & targeted, it will help in increasing the engagement on the page. And once we have a respectable number of likes on the page from these countries, we can start promoting the campaign to our money audience (US of A).
I suggested the page owners to build the page with likes from Tier3 countries.
|The goal was 10,000 likes which was achieved at an average cost per like of $0.009 per like for a total budget of just over $100|
17,000+ Likes @ less than 1-cent per like
Step 2 — Now, once this milestone was reached, I applied the second part of the strategy which was to start targeting the campaign to US audience.
|Keeping the demographic same as the original campaign, I put up the same ads as before (with slight changes in the ad copy) & hoped that the gamble will pay out.|
It has been more than a week and I am seeing likes for $0.02–0.03 per like.
$0.03 per like from the previous $0.68 per like
|This is a reduction of 95.58% in the cost per like for the same demographic that had earlier rejected the page.|
This again proves the power of social proof. And strengthens my belief that if you show people that others ‘like’ you, they will like you without any question (another Cialdini rule).
This is a very important lesson which can be implemented in our lives too.
That said, there can be an argument from people that Tier3 likes are useless & I might be ‘ruining’ my page’s reach. First, this does not ruin the page’s reach as all likes are real, targeted & high-quality.
Second, the costs saved on the cost of US likes will help in building a much larger page at a fraction of the price if he had to start with US likes from the beginning.
That’s it. Thank you for reading this. If you implement this in your campaign, do let me know how it went for you.
For any questions, post below!