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The Power of Social Influence

The concept that people copy others' actions in certain situations is important in leveraging the power of social proof in your marketing.

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Imagine you are in a small town, away on business and are starting to get hungry. You notice there are two restaurants in the town square: One has two cars in the parking lot — you are guessing a server and the cook’s car — and the other has 20. Which one are you going with?

Your brain will most likely pick the safer option, and no matter what they’ve got on special this evening, you are going with the one that has the cars in the lot.

Why do we do this?



Social behaviorist Robert Cialdini calls this human behavior "informational social influence." It's the concept that people copy the actions of others in certain situations out of a desire for safety. It’s why we’ll buy something online that has more reviews than something else. It’s why we ask, “What are you wearing?” to our friends before going to a new event. It's also why most wait for others to rise before they stand in church to sing.

We protect ourselves by choosing something others have done before us, but it’s more than an awakening of why you very well may cheer for the team you do. It is about how to leverage growth inside your company using this phenomenon.

Related: Attracting Affluent Clients on Social Media

Here are four ways to leverage informational social influence.

1. Tell stories of your customers in your marketing copy

When you are showcasing what you do/sell/offer, share stories of your own customers as examples of how what you sell delivers on what you promise. Get as specific as possible because each time you add actual numbers and specific details, it provides social proof.

2. Interview clients in your content

Feature your past and current customers in your content regularly. We run an interview each month with one of our coaching clients, giving them the spotlight and showcasing the type of people who work with us. This creates interest in what we do and helps our prospects see themselves working with us.

3. Awards

Showcase your best success stories and give your prospects something to shoot for and new customers a clear path to success. We have utilized awards successfully in our coaching program, featuring students once they hit five figures in sales, and then again at six and seven, all from an online program they created with us. It is incredibly powerful in not only giving recognition to the program, but inspiring students to take the next step on their own.

4. Grow your social following

If you go to a person’s social media page and they only have 43 followers, it doesn’t give a whole lot of confidence that they are the ultimate authority on what you're hiring them for. The same is true for your business. People want to work with the “in-demand” choice for their niche. Having a large following and social proof increases persuasion for a prospect to take the next step with you. More followers propel post engagement that creates instant trust for new people who see your post in your newsfeed. We’ve been teaching how to quickly get followers for a long time, and it is amazing to see the quick change in online success with our students who make the change.

Related: How to Turn Your Small List Into a Big Launch

Whether you leverage multiple social influence strategies or just start with one, there is incredible power in highlighting those who have chosen to do business with you before others do. Try social influence as the ultimate leverage point in increased leads and sales.

Kim Walsh Phillips

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Kim Walsh Phillips went from 32 clients to over 11,000 in less than a year and founded Powerful Professionals, a business coaching company that has been scaling consulting and coaching businesses. Phillips is the best-selling author of The No BS Guide To Direct Response Social Media Marketing.