The question, how to influence others positively? It is a huge factor, when determining how to be presented socially. What is social proof and why does it have a massive impact on how our message is received and therefore what influence we have when we deliver our message?
How To Influence Others Positively
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Social proof is what others see when our message comes out. For example, on Facebook, if we release a video and someone likes it, that like is social proof. It’s most powerful if there’s a combination of quantity, let’s say, thousands of likes on a post, with quality, our exact two friends liked this specific post. Social proof has been extremely powerful for me in increasing the influence of my message online, especially anywhere where there are sales, for example, reviews, are a very powerful form of social proof.
Of course, social proof can be manipulated in terms of paying for fake reviews, in terms of trying to make systems to get lots of reviews in, and I’ve manipulated a lot of social proof as well. I’ve benefited from the rewards of manipulating a social proof. I’m here today to say it’s better to do it honestly. If we find out some fraudulent means was used behind social proof, that can often produce the exact opposite result where we convert people into working to constantly deflate our influence. We essentially can make enemies by messing around with our social proof. Therefore, the best social proof is the most honest social proof. We simply put a post, a video, a book, a course, we put it our there to the world and we allow everyone to say whatever is desired. If we put a course out, we allow the reviews to just come in. We take no action to try and intentionally raise the review score or lower the review score because we have faith that if we do a great job on something, the results will reflect that. In some places, we can help raise the opinion by asking specifically for a like. For example, on YouTube, in many of my videos, I often ask, “If you’d like me to do more videos like this, would you please leave a like” to help motivate those enjoying the message to actively participate or engage,” as we call it.
At the same time, this often promotes a lot of the opposite engagement, which can be negative. For example, in many of my courses, I often would ask, “Will you please leave a review on the course.” That was effective in both getting more positive reviews and negative reviews. While some buyers might not have realized that they had the chance to leave a negative review, upon hearing me asking for a review, especially if I asked at the very beginning of the course, before anyone had time to make a fully-formed opinion or a fully-formed positive opinion, more like, often the earlier I had asked for a review in the course, the more negative reviews I would get.
“Oh my God, I just went through the first lecture and this course sucks.” A lot of reviews like that except much longer. “Here’s eight reasons why this course is the worst. Here’s why Jerry is a dishonest, disgusting person. He’s not even sober. He doesn’t even believe in God.” Words from one actual review. The power of social proof is clear when we see something new, especially. If we see a video we’ve never seen before and we see that our friends like it on Facebook, that motivates us to watch it, whereas if that video would have come up with almost no likes on it and none of our friends having liked it, the odds of us scrolling past it, according to the data, are very high.
The problem this presents for most of us is that if we’re trying to just get started with our influence, it tends to be almost impossible because social proof is one of those logarithmic type of mathematical equations. In layman’s terms, the more social proof you have, the easier it is to get even more. When you’re starting out with zero, it can be very difficult to just get to one if we’re trying to do it all on our own. If we’re not asking our friends and family to watch our videos, if we’re not sharing what we’re creating with everyone, it can be very difficult to get anyone who doesn’t already know us and love us to do anything worth what we created. A lot of creators and artists, as I did when I first started my business, were extremely frustrated with all the work and effort I put in to create something and then the zero response it would get because I often didn’t even share things with my friends and family. I often was ashamed of the work I was doing, the services I was offering in my business. The very hardest thing to do is to get someone who has no idea who we are, what we doing, to do anything with us, and especially to trust us, because there’s our internet full of opportunities to get scammed, to give away your information, to get taken advantage of.
Why would we want to trust anyone new when there are so many people who already have established social proof? Who already clearly demonstrate all the good that we are doing, all the people we’re helping? When we already have YouTube after YouTube after YouTube with millions of subscribers, proven quality videos, why would we bother watching someone with one subscriber who has just done their first two videos? Social proof makes it extremely difficult to get started for a lot of us, and therefore it makes it very tempting to try and cheat social proof. As I’ve cheated social proof a lot. The problem is, the cheating often backfires. We would have been better off just slowly working our way up instead of trying to cheat ahead faster, often only to get dragged away back to where we were before with a sudden shock. I spent a whole bunch of money when I first built my Facebook page just buying fake likes on my pages from bad profiles I got on Fiverr.
I dumped a lot of time and energy and precious little startup capital I had from my own bank account into this. Only then to have people easily see through it. Only to then realize I had crushed a lot of the matrix for my Facebook page. Only to realize I wish I wouldn’t have even done that at all. I even went so far as to build a business out of doing that, which faded away quickly and prevented me from learning more valuable skills for making a bigger contribution.
Social proof is so powerful that this is one of the biggest barriers a lot of us face in terms of continuing to go forward. We put out a video that gets 1 or 2 or 50 or 100 views, some number we think is just way too low. In our fantasies, we thought this video would go viral, millions of people would watch it, this would make a huge difference in the world. Our reality then is incredibly painful as we watch 10 people look at it and get three dislikes on the video and a couple of likes from our mom and our friends. We say, “Screw it, I’m not even going to try anymore. This world sucks. They don’t deserve my help. I’m done.” Meanwhile, we keep wishing and fantasizing that we could accomplish our original goal and all of a sudden now, we’re torn. We want to keep trying and working, but it’s just too painful. We often then just give up at that point, say, “Forget it. I’ll just let everyone else with more popular channels, just keep going. I’ll let other bloggers who are already doing a good job, they can do it. They don’t need me. My gift isn’t important to the world. I’ll just keep going to a job I don’t like. I’ll keep doing work I don’t find any joy in. I’ll keep paying my bills and maybe I can die feeling like I did a good enough job.”
Is that the kind of life we’re trying to live today? That’s not the kind of life I’m trying to live today. What I can tell you is that a lot of failure, in terms of those fantasies, comes in with social proof. I’ve made a bunch of things I was sure this was just what the world needed and the world did not agree, at least right away. One of the biggest things that helps our social proof is if we’re patient, especially if we are just starting out or trying to build. Why do we get the idea that everything we do should immediately go viral and go to the top and that’s even better? What if we just make a big difference in the lives of 5 or 10 people every day? Isn’t that enough?
There’s an author, I love the story even though you might call it tragic. He wrote a book and he went over and over to publishers to publishers, and they said no. He killed himself because he was so dismayed with the world. He couldn’t get his book out there. His mother then tried to publish it after his death. She got it published and it became a bestseller. How many times do we essentially do the same things with our own creative work? We make a video, a post, a book, a course we’re so excited about. We work really hard to share it for the first day or a couple of days. Then we essentially kill ourselves, we say, “Screw it. I don’t even want to look at that project anymore. No one likes. I’m done with it.” We don’t even give our hard work a chance to succeed. Lots of times we may not even realize a month or six months later that what originally had no social proof has gotten massive social proof. I wrote a post on Steam that was originally a video called Crypto Currency price predictions for July, 2017. I didn’t even realize out of the hundreds of posts I’d published on Steam that that one had got more views than any of the next 20 to 50 posts combined. One post got 20 plus thousand people to read it within two months, and I didn’t even know it until Larry, with amazing stats, went through and analyzed all of the data for my entire time on Steam and then presented an infographic.
Then I noticed, “Oh, this one post got 20 plus thousand views,” and the next best post had got a couple of thousand. If we just focus on what we’re giving and contributing in our work each day, lots of times our social proof will pile up on what we’ve done and we may not even notice it. Therefore, my suggestion is to realize the empower of social proof, but at the same time understand that when we do good for others, when we give to others, when we keep trying, we will get the social proof we need and that over time it will continue to pile up more and more, and that after all the misadventures I’ve had with social proof, I find today that combining just doing a good job every day with a bit of advertising makes social proof fairly easy. The more I do, the easier it is to just get social proof automatically, especially in the first 24 hours. I hope this has been helpful for you because I’ve been through a very difficult journey with social proof from not thinking it mattered, to trying to cheat it, to suffering penalties from cheating it, to finally just being comfortable with the social proof I receive each day, and grateful that it consistently expands the influence I have and the reach my work has every single day. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed it.
Thank you very much for being here with me! If you’d like to see content similar to this post, you will find it on the Jerry Banfield Vlog. If you subscribe to my YouTube channel, youtube.com/Jerry Banfield you and check that Jerry Banfield Vlog playlist, you’ll be able to see a ton more talking head videos like this. I’ve also got screen capture video tutorials you might enjoy on the video tutorials channel. Specifically, the video above that you may have watched was a part of an online course I filmed with Thomas George named 42 secrets of influence.
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