SPI 027: How to Harness the Power of Social Proof Online

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In this session of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, I talk about social proof, what it is, why it’s extremely important and what we can do online to really take advantage of this incredibly powerful marketing idea.

You’ll hear me talk about all different types of social proof and some exact strategies that you can implement right now.

In this session you’ll hear me talk about:

  • When and where you’ve seen social proof before and probably didn’t even know it.
  • How social proof is just a dangerous as it is powerful.
  • Specific strategies to increase stickiness and awareness to your brand and business.
  • What you can do if you’re a beginner and you want to use social proof.
  • Why what I say doesn’t matter.
  • Breakdancing.
  • And more…

Right click here to download the MP3

Items mentioned in this podcast include:

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Thank you so much for your support. If you enjoyed this show, please consider voting for the SPI podcast for the Podcast Awards! I’m nominated in two categories: People’s Choice and Business, so please head on over to PodcastAwards.com to place your vote.

Thank you, and please let me know what you think. Or, at least answer this one question: where else have you seen social proof used before?



Click Here to Download the Transcript (PDF)

  • hailee

    Awesome podcast thanks for your hard work

  • http://www.3StepColdSoreRemedy.com David DuBose

    Great show Pat!


    • Pat

      Thanks much David!

      • http://www.sparringmind.com Gregory Ciotti

        Hey Pat, I would also add one thing about social proof:

        It can be incredibly power (as you touched on) when it comes to customer/reader action.

        Because of this, I’ve seen a lot of smart bloggers/marketers use social proof near really critical spots on their sites, such as near opt-in forms.

        For instance, Derek (SocialTriggers) and Glen (ViperChill) both have testimonials near their opt-in forms, which I think is a really strong tactic to converting people who know nothing about them!

  • http://www.colon-liver-cleanse.com/ Sean

    Love the podcasts, great with morning coffee. Thanks Pat!

    • Pat

      Thanks Sean! :)

  • http://www.sportmanagement.cc Remco

    nice examples of social proof….. Recruitment of youngsters in Sports is also done a lot through social proof.

  • http://myonlinesuccessdiary.com Phil Jensen


    Will the podcast be available on iTunes today? Would like to download it for the drive home tonight.



    • Pat

      Hi Phil, the podcast should definitely be available in iTunes later today. It’s up to iTunes and how often they search my feed – so hopefully that happens soon! Thanks Phil!

      • http://myonlinesuccessdiary.com Phil Jensen

        Great, thanks. Looking forward to listening.


        • Pat

          Just checked iTunes – it’s there! :)

      • http://myonlinesuccessdiary.com Phil Jensen

        Downloading right now…thanks

    • Chris Yates


      I got the SPI app for the iPhone and I use this when I’m at work or driving and don’t have access to iTunes. That way I don’t have to wait and I get my fix of the incredible Mr. Flynn! Give it a try.


      P.S. – Pat also said there is an unofficial android version, but I don’t know how good that one is.

      • Pat

        Yeah that’s true, I forget the SPI app doesn’t go through iTunes, it goes through my blog so you could get the podcast before it shows up on iTunes. A nice feature I didn’t even know about, lol. Woot!

        I think the android one goes through my blog’s feed as well, not iTunes.

  • http://successonmymind.com Sean Davis

    I just listened to it on iTunes. Great podcast, Pat.

    “More social proof. More bang. Booyah.” Haha… I chuckled at that part.

    You are 100% right about social proof influencing people to act or decide. It’s human nature. One of the first things I do when I come across a post on a blog I have never visited before is look at how many comments it has. I also look at the number of subscribers and readers the blog has.

    I don’t post my numbers yet because they are low. However, I was thinking about using the phrase “social connections” and combining the totals of Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, Google+ friends (whatever they are called), my email subscribers, etc.

    Is this cheesy? Just a thought…

    Anyway, thanks for another great podcast!

    • Pat

      Hi Sean, thanks for the compliments.

      Social connections – not cheesy, and it makes sense to me since I know what you’re talking about, but for others I’m not exactly sure how that would translate for them. Of course, like I said in the podcast any sort of high looking number will do some good, but if it’s not clear what that number is it might be a little confusing. You’d have to make sure it’s clearly presented and understood. I think you’re on the right track though. Test it out, see what happens maybe?

      • http://successonmymind.com Sean Davis

        You’re right. They would probably be confused. I think I have an idea, though.

        In a designated area, I can pitch a line like “2,000 + social connections and counting. Join the network (conversation, group, fun)!” immediately followed by a line of 16×16 icons for the different options.

        If I group it all together, and throw out a number, I think it will still have the same affect on people. Because immediately after seeing the number, they’ll start taking their pick on which way(s) they want to connect… not worrying about the count breakdown.

        Hmmm… I’m going to do this.


        • http://www.moneycrush.com Jackie

          Awesome idea Sean :)

        • http://successonmymind.com Sean Davis

          Thanks, Jackie! I have it up and running already. It’s not much but I like the idea.

  • Chris Yates

    This is timely info as always Pat. Social Proof is everywhere. During a recent webinar it was used by the author as people signed up for the course, there was someone personally thanking them by name. This gave extra credence because since alot of people were signing up, therefore it must be a good program, and I’m sure it got fence-sitters to jump in the game.

    • Pat

      Nice Chris – that’s a good example and one that I’ll definitely keep in mind for the future 😉

      Cheers dude!

  • http://parttimeearner.net Thomas

    Wow, great talk. Your podcasts REALLY help me out a lot in my business. I will definitely put the info to good use.

  • http://zanypost.com Sam

    Awesome podcasts Pat…. Surprise I was the first to click Like your Digg Digg

  • http://www.smartbrandidentity.com Andrew Richardson

    Sweet. I will be checking this out when I get home. Thanks Pat!

  • http://www.profitworks.ca Chris R. Keller From Profitworks.ca

    Hi Pat,

    I think what you do with your comments, twitter count feed and RSS count feed is a great example of social proof.

    It is kind of like referral marketing for offline businesses.

    P.S. What I have found great for offline businesses is including a line like “Referrals are important to my business. If you find my services beneficial, please keep me and my clients in mind for referrals if an opportunity arises.”

    You might be able to benefit from something siimilar in your emails like “P.S. Referrals to my website very are important to my business. If you find my blog interesting or beneficial, please forward it to people you know who might enjoy reading it or be able to benefit from it.”

    The wording needs to be played with but something like that might be worth a testing to see if you get more new visitors to your website.

  • http://winwithkelvinaugusta.com Kelvin Augusta

    Great content Pat…. I love the idea of giving away the value with the free product.

  • Paul

    Hi Pat. Has any of your sites been impacted by panda 2.6? Would to hear your thoughts about the same.

    • Pat

      Haven’t been effected at all. All of my sites have remained where they are for the last couple of weeks, with the except of 1 that hit the #1 spot in Google for a while then dropped back down to #2.

  • Maxime

    Hi Pat, thanks for the podcast.

    It seems to me that no matter the content you’re trying to get an audience for, social media and online following have become the most important points these days…

    Thanks to your blog I’ve started a niche site two months ago, but it’s just disappeared of its #6 Google position, I guess because of Panda 2.6 (thanks Paul for talking about it)… The hard work was just starting to pay!!

    I think I want to start something I’m really passionate about if my site doesn’t recover from it in the coming weeks. But my question is: how do you actually start an online community? How do you avoid that “0 friends” starting point?

    • http://www.gaurano.com Jonathan Gaurano

      Hi Maxime,

      I know my site does not get enough traffic / nor does it have a mass of online fans. However, what I did to get my initial *30* people to like my FB group page… is I e-mailed a few key fb friends about my project. My favor. And see if they could help. As for twitter – same thing – and started following others and commenting. But, as I’ve stated before – Pat should have a better answer than me – as my social proof isn’t at the top (yet?)

    • http://www.accordersaguitare.com Maxime

      Actually, the site came back on Google and is doing fine now. So Panda didn’t do anything to me, in case I frightened anybody with this!

  • http://www.gaurano.com Jonathan Gaurano

    Hi Pat,

    Just listened to your Podcast. You say that if you have 150 Tweeters/Rss – it’s okay to show your numbers. What about the Facebook Group? How many people should like my page – before I show to the masses?


  • http://www.extramoneyblog.com Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    great topic that doesn’t get adequate coverage these days. on my blog, i have a section called “income proof” on the top where visitors can view images of checks received from various affiliate programs such as Google Adsense, Clickbank etc. this is my third most visited page with the lowest bounce rate. social proof works, especially when used strategically with a set objective in mind.

  • http://47f.net Wrestling Streams

    Nice post man thanks for the information.

  • http://www.paininarchoffoot.net Jason

    Just started setting up my Facebook page for one of my sites. Why does something new seem so challenging at first when it is really simple? I can tell that social media is the future ( well, it is already here). Thanks for the great info.

  • http://www.iwouldcoach.com Dan @ I Would Coach

    Listened to the first 15 minutes of this – then ran into an issue on my Android, anyone know of a good podcast player for Android?

    Nice bit on Triberr – by you “socially” endorsing it I think it is going to help out a lot of Bloggers who follow SPI start to build their community. I just joined it about a month ago – very cool concept.

    Have you released any information/topics about your first paid SPI product yet?

  • http://www.startyoungfinishfirst.com Tram Tran

    Pat, your content is soo awesome that I have to listen TWICE. wow, I ll be sure to apply some of the awesome points to my blog. Will keep you posted;) wow, I’m so excited 😉 Thanks Pat

  • http://diyblogger.net Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan)

    Pat…thnx so much for mentioning Triberr… saw someone tweet you about that which prompted me to come over and give it a listen (Im still buffering, but cant wait to hear what you said).

    Im a huge fan and have left a comment or two over the years on this site. I love what you do. I will shamelessly offer myself up for a convo on your podcast…about Triberr, marketing, social media, blogging, or any other malarkey you want to discuss :-)

    • http://diyblogger.net Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan)

      oh…I guess I should add that Im the founder of triberr :-)

    • Pat

      Dino! It’s a pleasure to have you in the comment stream, and thanks for taking the time. That means a lot, and you obviously know about engagement, which is definitely reflected within your service.

      Don’t worry, I didn’t say anything negative about Triberr, I’ve just heard really really great things about it and was encouraging others to give it a shot. Already a lot of people have emailed me saying thanks for the referral, which is a good sign. :)

      I’ll definitely keep your offer in mind, and until we talk again thank you for what you do, thanks for stopping by and I wish you all the best. Cheers!

      • http://diyblogger.net Dino Dogan (@dino_dogan)

        This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyways.

        I have an awesome tribe and I would love for you to join us. Nuf said.

  • http://www.businessonlinestart.com Juan

    You have my vote.
    I am sure you are going to win both awards.
    Thanks for all the information

  • http://www.hothitmedia.com Ralph

    I love that you are going to have Lewis on the show.
    Not too long ago I met him here in Sydney and have been a fan of him (and his sidekick Sean Malarkey) and his products.

    I love the way he interacts with his affiliates, that is such a personal way of interacting and has been more than great compared to other programs I have been an affiliate of.

    In relation to Triberr, you have to protect your tweets too. With that I mean, you have to make sure you join the right tribe and also if people start tweeting about other stuff (not related to the tribe) you address that or kick them out. It will ruin your credibility very very quickly.

    Great Podcast!

  • http://maketheinternet.com/ Ramy Khuffash

    “it has been downloaded over 25,000 times” I thought exact numbers were better Pat! Hahahahahahah Great podcast again. :-)

    • Pat

      Haha – good catch. Thing is, I can’t dynamically update that (or at least not easily), so I have to keep it evergreen by saying above a certain number. Exact numbers when possible, but hey at least I’m providing social proof of some kind there! 😉

  • http://www.PeteZafra.com Pj Zafra

    Hey Pat, great training you have here! Awesome post! Just heard the first parts of it but will definitely finish this up later on today. Thanks for sharing this and keep it up! 😀

  • http://100percentchampions.com John Sherry

    Smart training here Pat. Stickiness is a major factor in life – from love to business, the proverbial ‘hook’ that stays with us. In the work zone it actually helps develop a brand awareness long before a brand has achieved that in the market. So must say your session has stuck with me!

  • http://www.moneycrush.com Jackie

    Can I just say that I love the backpack idea at Blogworld. Hilarious and awesome at the same time :)

  • http://www.marylandstinkbugs.com Steve

    I agree with most of the folks on this thread…One of your best shows..! I really agree with you point. Having the “tribe” validate your effectiveness or ability to solve a problem is growth. Something you can build around.


  • http://www.mymultipleincomes.com Robert

    Just downloaded it. Looking forward to tips for beginners on getting social proof!

  • http://newcustomerworkshop.com Joe C

    Alright Pat you convinced me, I threw some social proof your way and gave you 5 starts in iTunes.

    I help local business owners market their brick and mortar businesses online. While what I teach isn’t exactly in the same space I am using some of the things here in order to better market my marketing business!

    Your ratings are well earned.

  • http://www.oddsonbetting.net Frank Benjamin

    So my question is when do you have enough to use social proof?

    I have a new list and it is small, a little over 100 subscribers. I combining my list and rss susbcribers and was thinking of using code to have that number on my opti-in form. But is 110 or so enough social proof?

    Maybe I should test it out and see if it has any affect – negative or positive.

  • http://www.workonlinelegit.com/facebook-share-button/ Work From Home

    Social media is for sure one of the most powerful modes of online marketing. This can also be demonstrated by the way FB is going to great lengths to update their site to ensure better user experience.

    Your podcast has for sure shade more light on the importance of social media in marketing on the internet. Thank you

  • Thomas Yates

    Loved this Podcast, can’t wait for the next one.

    I am learning lots from the blogs and podcasts and intend on implementing what I am learning very soon.

    Great work Pat, keep it up

  • Karen

    Thanks for sharing. Your podcasts are chock full of juicy tips. I’m a little addicted to listening, Pat.

  • http://www.the-webdesign.net/ Tobias Gebauer

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. Really like the episode about social proof.

  • David John

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. Really like the episode about social proof.